Dear *insert agent name here*,
One more infraction. That’s all Auden Lyons’ stupid, uptight high school needed to throw him back into the Jargon Monkeys Club—its pet project to treat “antisocial behaviour.” He wished someone had told him that before he cursed on stage during the club’s final concert. The truth is, they were afraid of his history of violence, afraid because he beat up some people who thought they could sexually harass his best friend Lucy and get away with it.
This is a great hook, and a great voice! Love the opening sentence, the "Jargon Monkeys Club", etc. My only critique -- and it's tiny -- is why would the high school be mad at him, and not the harassers? Maybe because his history of violence gives him no credibility against the school's real offenders? Maybe a tiny twist in that last sentence could clarify.
Lucy Arai tries to look at the bright side. She has a best friend and a family that love her. Most think it’s weird she and Auden aren’t going out, but maybe it’s not weird at all. At the club’s first summer meeting, Lucy develops a crush on the new girl, Ella Rigby. Entranced by Ella’s beauty and sense of humour, Lucy is blinded to the harsh reality: Ella is straight, and the small conservative town they live in isn’t exactly a bastion of gay rights.
Also nice. "best friend and family that loves her" is a LITTLE vague. Do you have an interesting detail about the family, instead?
Lucy gets a wake-up call when Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something she’s been running from her whole life. There’s a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. Lucy wanted Ella to take that away, but it only got worse. After avoiding everyone for a few days, Lucy arranges a meeting with Auden at the burnt ruins of their old day care, the site of the most traumatic experience of their lives. Auden sees the warning signs. He’s seen them too many times to miss them. Auden pushes Lucy to reveal the fresh wounds on her arms, confirming his suspicions. Her depression has returned.
Hm, this loses me a tiny bit. Auden vanished for too long, after being the hero upfront. And the first sentence -- "Ella gets a boyfriend, reviving something she's been running from her whole life" -- is confusing. Whose shirts have long sleeves? I thought it was Ella, but is it Lucy? What role does Ella play? If not much of one, maybe don't even use her name. Is it just that Lucy gets a crush on a straight girl, and the rejection sends her spiraling again? Is the core story Lucy/Auden or Lucy/Ella, or all three? If it's Lucy/Auden, maybe keep Ella a little bit more as a plot device (the straight girl who triggers the spiral). Cutting Ella also might help shorten the query, e.g., Lucy falls for a straight girl, the rejection sends her spiraling again. There's a reason all her shirts have long sleeves. etc.
Every dumb feud in Auden’s life now seems petty, but when he can’t figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems. Those ruins awakened long-buried memories of the past. If they resurface, he won’t be able to help himself, much less Lucy.
This gets a bit vague and fuzzy. I'm struggling with this in my own query. You have a great story, a compelling setup, but the punchline here isn't as interesting as what came before. "When he can't figure out how to help Lucy, he finds comfort in blocking out his problems." ---- kind of vague and why do those two things connect? Also, how does the Jargon Monkeys Club play in? You introduce it up front, it's an awesome idea, and given the title of your book it seems like it's probably pretty central, but it's never heard from again. Is there a way to loop it back in at the end somehow, to give the punchline more urgency and connect back to the opener?
THE JARGON MONKEYS CLUB is a young adult novel, complete at 84,000 words, that is told from the perspectives of Auden and Lucy. The manuscript is available upon request.
My short stories have been published in ____ and ____. Thanks for your time and consideration.
One real strength of this query is its voice. It's compelling and sharp, and I would be happy to read a book in this voice. The query opener is great too, it maybe gets a little soft half way through. I think you have a great hook and a strong story; hopefully my suggestions will help sharpen the query. If you have a chance, I'd love your opinions on mine: