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ENOUGH (contemporary/historical YA fiction - 7/21 revision #5)

Fiction Family Saga Historical Fiction Young Adult

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#21 fernet

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 12:10 PM

Well, now I've got multiple query drafts going -- from Ben's POV, from Claudia's POV, starting with the historical parts and then getting to Claudia and then eventually to Ben -- so your feedback has certainly helped me, um, expand my options! ("Thanks"???)

 

I have a strong suspicion that if I post the one with the historical parts at the beginning it will be ruled Too Much Information and too many POV. So I'm shuffling other ideas back and forth.

 

TBH the stakes of the book are not big or world-ending. There is no horrible thing that will happen one way or another -- not horrible in the sense of big action-driven drama, anyway. It would be pretty horrible for Ben to give up and keep letting his mother steamroll and belittle him, keep letting his father ignore him, keep letting his friend take advantage of him. It would be pretty horrible for Claudia to distance herself from her mother--and from the rest of her family, and her new friends--because she's afraid of feelings and other messy things she can't control. But I admit this isn't a big deal to anyone but them.

 

It's a pretty quiet narrative about the choices you make as part of growing up -- learning to stand up for yourself, learning to accept uncertainty and mess and complication, learning to take control of your life or relinquish some control (depending on whether you're a Ben or a Claudia...). I guess the challenge is making that sound sufficiently... zippy? for a query. I'll give it another try and post a revision soon... thanks to all for the help.



#22 fernet

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 05:30 PM

Just commenting to bump the thread up since I updated with a new revision in the first post.

 

Blehhhh, queries.



#23 Iconian

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 09:07 PM

Ben Tweed is a fifteen-year-old screwup with a dad he hardly sees, a mom who can’t stand him, and a dog that looks and smells like an old mop. [Wow.] His one comfort was his plan to kill himself before the end of high school, but when a girl from his class does just that, he has to face facts: suicide was nothing but a fantasy.  [Are you going to expound on why he sees it as "fantasy?"]

 

Claudia Peterson is a no-nonsense overachiever with a snappy comeback for nearly every situation. Not much fazes her, but her grandfather is dying, and it turns out the messiness of grief and her family’s complicated past are way outside her comfort zone.

 

When Ben and Claudia meet at the hospice where his mother works, it isn’t exactly friendship at first sight. But as their paths cross and cross again, they begin to tell each other the things they can’t seem to say to anyone else.

 

[Here's how I would combine the two paragraphs above]:

 

When Ben meets Claudia Peterson at the hospice where his mother works, it isn’t exactly friendship at first sight.  She's a no-nonsense overachiever with a snappy comeback for nearly every situation. Not much fazes her, but her grandfather is dying, and it turns out the messiness of grief and her family’s complicated past are way outside her comfort zone.  [You might put something here like, "At first Claudia wants nothing to do with Ben, and the feeling is mutual."  Then]:  But as their paths cross and cross again, they begin to tell each other the things they can’t seem to say to anyone else.

 

For Ben, Claudia [becomes] a window into another world: sure, she has problems of her own, but she also has an enviable surplus of self-assurance, and—what Ben envies most of all—a family that’s truly there for her.

 

[And] for Claudia, hanging out with Ben is just an excuse not to visit her grandfather—at first, anyway. But when Ben ends up in trouble with the law after a prank gone wrong, Claudia realizes she does care about him. And caring means dropping her too-cool-for-school act and doing whatever she can to help.  

 

Ben has to stand up to his parents and learn to stop being sorry for who he is. Claudia has to stop pushing people away and find the courage to make her own place in [her] family's story. It’s the sort of thing that no one else can do for them—but at least they won’t have to do it alone.

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel about fractured families and reluctant friendships. The main story is set in the 1990s and follows Ben and Claudia, switching between their points of view. Interleaved with it are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother.

 

 

 

It sounds like an interesting story--not necessarily riveting, but interesting.  A lot of people complain about high word counts--are you sure that 100,000 words is warranted?

 

To me, it sounds like the kind of story that might merit 80,000 or 65,000 words.  So what makes this story different?  Is it the witty banter?  Foolish situations the characters repeatedly get themselves into?  The repeated and colorful characterizations of the family that Ben doesn't much like?  Or the historical anecdotes?

 

If I were you, I would try to figure out what it is about your book that justifies the 100,000 words--some emotional draw, something captivating or exceptional about it--and focus on making that aspect or element or feature shine through in your query, to set it apart from other manuscripts that might tell a very similar story, but in less words.

 

 

And other than that, please leave a critique for my own query, when you get a chance :)


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#24 fernet

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 07:28 AM

Re: word count -- yeah, the historical parts (according to my literal back-of-envelope calculations, ha) add up to 48K words. So fully half the book. Earlier drafts were even longer and have been cut down by at least 25K.

 

But maybe that means I have to fit the historical stuff in the query? It's a big part of the story. When I don't have it, folks say I should fit it in the query, but when I try to put it in the query, they say it's too much information? Dilemma! Maybe I'll post the one I was attempting that goes grandfather --> mother --> Claudia/Ben... but I'm afraid four different people in a query will be ruled too many.

 

Thanks for all comments; I'll try and sit down with other people's queries for a while later this afternoon!



#25 BCVail

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 01:20 PM

7/19/2017 UPDATE: revised version right here (I noticed other people doing that, seemed easier than scrolling through all the posts!)

 

Ben Tweed is a fifteen-year-old screwup with a dad he hardly sees, a mom who can’t stand him, and a dog that looks and smells like an old mop (I like this bit). His one comfort was (I'd keep this present tense) his plan to kill himself before the end of high school (I can see why based on his parents, but there is something conflicting in my mimd with the dog. An old dog that looks and smells like a mop can be very lovable.. and it feels like your adding that to the reasons why he plans to kill himself. And getting a reader to connect with a character who doesn't like a dog is difficult. But I could be overthinking this.) , but when a girl from his class does just that, he has to face facts: suicide was nothing but a fantasy.

 

Claudia Peterson is a no-nonsense overachiever with a snappy comeback for nearly every situation. Not much fazes her, but her grandfather is dying, and it turns out the messiness of grief and her family’s complicated past are way outside her comfort zone (I'd try breaking this sentence up into two just so it reads a little cleaner.).

 

When Ben and Claudia meet at the hospice where his mother works, it isn’t exactly friendship at first sight (This seems vague, I'd either cut it or elaborate). But as their paths cross and cross again, they begin to tell each other the things they can’t seem to say to anyone else (What things? Try to be specific here and you can really relate your characters to your reader).

 

For Ben, Claudia is a window into another world: sure, she has problems of her own, but she also has an enviable surplus of self-assurance, and—what Ben envies most of all—a family that’s truly there for her. (After reading the rest of the query, I'm not sure how necessary this part is)

 

For Claudia, hanging out with Ben is just an excuse not to visit her grandfather—at first, anyway. But when Ben ends up in trouble with the law after a prank gone wrong, Claudia realizes she does care about him. And caring means dropping her too-cool-for-school act and doing whatever she can to help.  

 

Ben has to stand up to his parents and learn to stop being sorry for who he is (Why and how does he have to stand up to his parents? His dad ignores him and mom doesn't like him... but are they pressing him somehow?). Claudia has to stop pushing people away and find the courage to make her own place in the family story. It’s the sort of thing that no one else can do for them—but at least they won’t have to do it alone.

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel about fractured families and reluctant friendships. The main story is set in the 1990s and follows Ben and Claudia, switching between their points of view. Interleaved with it are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother.

 

I see what you mean with the big stakes problem. Right now it seems you have interesting characters and the beginning of a plot, but it doesn't seem to be building up to anything... for the stakes and outcomes maybe you can focus on how the two characters begin to change each other and how that will affect their lives, both positively and negatively and if there is anything their character growth puts at risk. Also, with the minimal plot, this may be considered more on the literary side... but I honestly don't know enough about literary to say one way or another.

 

-----------

This time I just decided to embrace the dual POV thing and alternate and give more context in the final paragraph. I kept getting responses that said I should switch to one or the other, but the story is really evenly divided between them, and none of my attempts felt right.

 

I haven't really solved the What Are The Big Stakes question (see my comments in post #21, haha) -- trying to figure out if there's a way to build a query that more honestly echoes the feel of the book. Like, instead of "I want to read it to see what happens!" something that makes you go "because I'm interested in the characters, I want to read it to see how it all unfolds!"

 

On the other hand, I did add a bit about Ben getting into trouble with the law, which is more... plotty, but actually doesn't happen until maybe 4/5 of the way through the book. So that may be misleading.

 

 

 



#26 Iconian

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 02:51 PM

Re: word count -- yeah, the historical parts (according to my literal back-of-envelope calculations, ha) add up to 48K words. So fully half the book. Earlier drafts were even longer and have been cut down by at least 25K.

 

But maybe that means I have to fit the historical stuff in the query? It's a big part of the story. When I don't have it, folks say I should fit it in the query, but when I try to put it in the query, they say it's too much information? Dilemma! Maybe I'll post the one I was attempting that goes grandfather --> mother --> Claudia/Ben... but I'm afraid four different people in a query will be ruled too many.

 

Thanks for all comments; I'll try and sit down with other people's queries for a while later this afternoon!

 

 

fernet, one thing you might try is counting off the actual number of historical stories that you give in your book, and then tell in the query the exact number--"I've also included some 25 separate historical anecdotes from the Spanish Civil War, etc--especially if they're true historical anecdotes.  This could be a good selling point for the book, as part historical memoir.


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/


#27 fernet

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Posted Yesterday, 10:08 AM

Just posted a revised query at the beginning of the thread.

 

Basically I scrapped most of what I was Frankenstein-ing together from previous versions and decided to just embrace the things that make the book hard to query. Maybe a mistake? But seems more honest than trying to fit it into a setting-protagonist-twist-stakes query mold, which was not really working out.

 

I thought I'd try a query that echoed the feel of the book more, with the historical framing and also acknowledging that all the two teenage protagonists are doing is making small choices about how to respond to their difficult situations, moving toward adulthood, choosing what kind of people they are going to be. I don't know if it works, but it seems more accurate to me than my previous attempts.

 

Thanks for all your thoughts!

 

P.S. It doesn't matter now since I removed it from the latest version, but since it has been a topic of some concern, let me say for the record: Ben does not dislike his dog! 



#28 Springfield

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Posted Yesterday, 02:37 PM

7/21/2017 UPDATE: revised version below. I have gone Completely Off The Rails. Check it out!

 

 

 

In the bullring a whole life hangs on a single moment—the great black head following the red cape to one side as the sword comes down from the other—but when the bull looks away from the cape and toward the man holding it, everything comes crashing down.

 

The echoes can last for generations.

 

Claudia Peterson—sixteen, sarcastic, and self-assured—doesn’t know much about her family history, but she still feels its weight on her shoulders. And it’s heavier every day now that her grandfather, a one-time famous bullfighter, is dying. His illness is dredging up a whole lifetime of pain for her mother, and Claudia doesn’t know what to do. There's a bunch of repetition in here too, it makes me wonder about the wc.

 

If Claudia were looking for someone to share her problems with—which she’s not—she would never choose Ben Tweed, the awkward boy whose mother works at the hospice where Claudia’s grandfather is a patient.This is clunky, and the backstory here feels so drawn out.

 

Ben’s life is decidedly less than spectacular. He’s a disappointment to his mother, an inconvenience to his father, and an embarrassment to himself. He always swore he’d kill himself before the end of high school, but after a classmate actually does it, he realizes suicide was only a fantasy. Again, backstory. I keep waiting for something to happen that's plot related.

 

As Ben and Claudia keep crossing paths, they gradually discover that sometimes a total stranger is the best person to tell the truth to—and to show you the truths, both good and bad, about yourself.

 

When their paths converge one last time at Claudia’s grandfather’s bedside, it lacks the drama of the bullring—no bloodied sand, no cheering crowd, no life balanced on the tip of a sword.

 

Sorry, I'm still reading because I'm reading the query, but were I an agent, I'd have given up -- nothing at all is happening, and it's just kind of repeating stuff. I am curious about wc.

 

All that hangs on the moment is a choice:

For Claudia, to lower her defenses and reach out.

For Ben, to stand up for himself, and live without apology.

 

But those choices have their echoes, too. 

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel So yeah on the wc and I don't get anything historical here.  about fractured families, reluctant friendships, and just how fragile happiness can be. Ben and Claudia’s story is set in the 1990s why? in an American suburb, and switches between their points of view. Interleaved with it are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother. I'd definitely put that in the query, as it sounds much more interesting than 'teens meet,' which is really all that's here/

 

This is the only version I've seen and... there's no plot in this query. I dunno if it was in the others, but this one I would agree, is off the rails. heh. There's no story at all. The bullfighting stuff is mentioned and then doesn't go anyplace. It's just teens meet and then I don't know -- no one seems compelling to me either. I don't like Ben, and she's a non-entity. Everyone in the query is passive. 

 

I'd suggest trying an entirely different version with problem, stakes. etc.

 

------------------------------------

 

Ben Tweed is a fifteen-year-old screwup with a dad he hardly sees, a mom who can’t stand him, and a dog that looks and smells like an old mop. His one comfort was his plan to kill himself before the end of high school, but when a girl from his class does just that, he has to face facts: suicide was nothing but a fantasy.

 

Claudia Peterson is a no-nonsense overachiever with a snappy comeback for nearly every situation. Not much fazes her, but her grandfather is dying, and it turns out the messiness of grief and her family’s complicated past are way outside her comfort zone.

 

When Ben and Claudia meet at the hospice where his mother works, it isn’t exactly friendship at first sight. But as their paths cross and cross again, they begin to tell each other the things they can’t seem to say to anyone else.

 

For Ben, Claudia is a window into another world: sure, she has problems of her own, but she also has an enviable surplus of self-assurance, and—what Ben envies most of all—a family that’s truly there for her.

 

For Claudia, hanging out with Ben is just an excuse not to visit her grandfather—at first, anyway. But when Ben ends up in trouble with the law after a prank gone wrong, Claudia realizes she does care about him. And caring means dropping her too-cool-for-school act and doing whatever she can to help.  

 

Ben has to stand up to his parents and learn to stop being sorry for who he is. Claudia has to stop pushing people away and find the courage to make her own place in the family story. It’s the sort of thing that no one else can do for them—but at least they won’t have to do it alone.

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel about fractured families and reluctant friendships. The main story is set in the 1990s and follows Ben and Claudia, switching between their points of view. Interleaved with it are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother.

 

 

-----------

This time I just decided to embrace the dual POV thing and alternate and give more context in the final paragraph. I kept getting responses that said I should switch to one or the other, but the story is really evenly divided between them, and none of my attempts felt right.

 

I haven't really solved the What Are The Big Stakes question (see my comments in post #21, haha) -- trying to figure out if there's a way to build a query that more honestly echoes the feel of the book. Like, instead of "I want to read it to see what happens!" something that makes you go "because I'm interested in the characters, I want to read it to see how it all unfolds!"

 

On the other hand, I did add a bit about Ben getting into trouble with the law, which is more... plotty, but actually doesn't happen until maybe 4/5 of the way through the book. So that may be misleading.

 

 

 

Here's my current query draft. I'd appreciate any feedback.

 

My main concerns are:

- it's kinda long

- tricky to introduce two protagonists quickly and not have it all feel like background

- the mention of historical stuff at the end feels a bit shoehorned in, but leaving it out entirely would be pretty misleading

 

* * *

 

Ben Tweed just had a life-changing revelation: he isn’t really going to kill himself. The trouble is, it doesn’t actually change a thing—he’s still a fifteen-year-old screwup with exactly one friend, a dad he doesn’t see much, a mom who can’t stand him, and a dog that looks and smells like an old mop. The only difference is now there’s no way out.

 

When his loyalty to his best friend Robert gets him into trouble—the serious kind, with the right to remain silent—Ben has to face the fact that his parents are never going to be on his side. If he’s stuck being alive, there’s got to be a better way to do it than this.

 

Claudia Peterson is an overachieving smartass who doesn’t suffer fools gladly—or at all. She’s unimpressed with her new town, her new school, and her new classmates. She can usually tolerate her parents, but her grandfather—who she barely knows—is dying, and it’s turning her mother into someone Claudia doesn't recognize.

 

After Claudia’s extended family arrives from Spain to visit her grandfather her home starts to feel like hostile territory, crowded with old hurts and grudges from a past she doesn’t understand. She knows she should try and be there for her mother, but all she really wants is for things to go back to the way they were.

 

When Ben and Claudia meet at the hospice where his mother is working and her grandfather is dying, it’s not exactly friendship at first sight. But as their paths cross and cross again, they begin to tell one another the things they can’t seem to say to anyone else.

 

Every story has another story tangled in its roots. This one starts with the Spanish Civil War, fights its way through the bullring, crosses the Atlantic, and lands in the American suburbs in 1998, where two teenagers try on selves until they find the ones that fit—for now.

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word novel. It is my first.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#29 lyncfs

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Posted Yesterday, 05:45 PM

7/21/2017 UPDATE: revised version below. I have gone Completely Off The Rails. Check it out!

 

 

 

In the bullring a whole life hangs on a single moment—the great black head following the red cape to one side as the sword comes down from the other—but when the bull looks away from the cape and toward the man holding it, everything comes crashing down.

 

The echoes can last for generations. ​ (I would start with your MC. These first few lines threw me off. I had no idea how this related to your story. It's more of an opening line in a book)

 

Claudia Peterson—sixteen, sarcastic, and self-assured—doesn’t know much about her family history, but she still feels its weight on her shoulders. ​(I like how you give us a picture of who Claudia is and great descriptors) And it’s heavier every day now that her grandfather, a one-time famous bullfighter, is dying. His illness is dredging up a whole lifetime of pain for her mother, and Claudia doesn’t know what to do. ​(The voice is great. Very much like a sixteen year old with "Doesn't know what to do")

 

If Claudia were looking for someone to share her problems with—which she’s not—she would never choose Ben Tweed, the awkward boy whose mother works at the hospice where Claudia’s grandfather is a patient.  ​(again, great voice)

 

Ben’s life is decidedly less than spectacular. He’s a disappointment to his mother, an inconvenience to his father, and an embarrassment to himself. He always swore he’d kill himself before the end of high school, but after a classmate actually does it, he realizes suicide was only a fantasy. ​(Not sure fantasy is the right word here. Maybe delusion? cowardly act?)

 

As Ben and Claudia ​cross paths keep crossing paths, they gradually discover that sometimes a total stranger is the best person to tell the truth to—and to show you the truths, both good and bad, about yourself.  ​(this last line is a little wordy)

 

When their paths converge one last time at Claudia’s grandfather’s bedside, it lacks the drama of the bullring—no bloodied sand, no cheering crowd, no life balanced on the tip of a sword.

 

All that hangs on the moment is a choice:

For Claudia, to lower her defenses and reach out.

For Ben, to stand up for himself, and live without apology. ​(I love this choice. It's very balanced and beautiful)

 

But those choices have their echoes, too. ​(echoes do you mean repercussions?)

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel about fractured families, reluctant friendships, and just how fragile happiness can be. Ben and Claudia’s story is set in the 1990s in an American suburb, and switches between their points of view. Interleaved with it​, are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

​Wow. I really like this query. I get a good sense of the characters, the setting, and what's at stake! Just clean up some of your sentences and It'll be ready! Thank you for your comments on my query. 


THE IMMORTAL GUARD. Link to my query. Please critique, if I have reviewed yours.

#30 fernet

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Posted Yesterday, 07:25 PM

Ok, so that's one 'hell no' and one 'definitely yes'... you guys are killing me!

 

I'm considering moving some of the explanatory bit at the end to the beginning, since I've seen other queries done that way. I know everyone is very into starting right off with your awesome hook, but from the feedback I've gotten it seems like having a brief explanation of the structure (multiple POV, contemporary intertwined with historical) at the start might be wiser. I could do that and just cut the bullfight framing entirely.

 

I think the main things I'm struggling with are:

 

- it's not a plot-driven book. Ben and Claudia do their regular high schooler stuff, which has small arcs of its own but nothing earth-shattering. If I frame it so it sounds like Claudia's driving test and tensions with her new friends are critical, or even that Ben's getting caught up in his idiot friend's fake school bombing prank is critical, that will not be borne out in the manuscript.

 

- the historical parts make up fully half of it -- no Ben and Claudia at all. It's structured so the historical sections, coupled with what you know from the Ben/Claudia sections, gradually reveal the tensions and schisms in Claudia's family. (the grandfather's story would actually be really easy to write a query for--but that would also be misleading!)

 

So I guess the challenge to put together a query that works for a character-driven story. You don't keep reading because you're desperate to know what happens next; you keep reading because you're invested in the characters, want to see what they become, and want to know how the historical and present(ish)-day parts fit together.

 

Thanks for your comments, as always--even when they make my head spin!



#31 Iconian

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Posted Yesterday, 09:31 PM



Ok, so that's one 'hell no' and one 'definitely yes'... you guys are killing me!

 

I know, isn't it so loverly!?!  I'm having the same issues with my query . . .

 

Oh well, my turn to take a look.

 

 

 

 

 

In the bullring a whole life hangs on a single moment—the great black head following the red cape to one side as the sword comes down from the other—but when the bull looks away from the cape and toward the man holding it, everything comes crashing down.  [I think you should try to rewrite this whole sentence.  I think it's kind of long, and it's confusing too.  Let's just take a look at it if you rewrite it the way that Springfield suggested]:

 

In the bullring a whole life hangs on a single moment, but when the bull looks away from the cape and toward the man holding it, everything comes crashing down.

 

[Even if you rewrite it like that, it still doesn't make sense.  I think you have a really cool and florid opening line buried in here.  Dig around, explore a bit, cut away the less necessary parts, and I think this line will shine ;) ]

 

 

The echoes can last for generations.  [If the above opening line comes from the historical elements of the story--Claudia's grandpa--then you should say something that about that here.  You might rewrite this paragraph to something like, "This was a single moment from the life of Claudia's grandfather--and the echoes of that moment will lasts generations."  Something like that, but probably more refined than my version.  And then in the next paragraph you introduce Claudia.]

 

Claudia Peterson—sixteen, sarcastic, and self-assured—doesn’t know much about her family history, but she still feels its weight on her shoulders. And it’s heavier every day now that her grandfather, a one-time famous bullfighter, is dying. His illness is dredging up a whole lifetime of pain for her mother, and Claudia doesn’t know what to do.  [If you make the changes I suggested above, you'll probably want to rephrase this whole paragraph as well.]

 

If Claudia were looking for someone to share her problems with—which she’s not—she would never choose Ben Tweed, the awkward boy whose mother works at the hospice where Claudia’s grandfather is a patient. [Since you've repeated the phrase "Claudia's grandfather" or something similar several times now, it's probably better to just give his name from the beginning instead.  You might also see about changing the tenses for this paragraph.  It doesn't sound right.]

 

Ben’s life is decidedly less than spectacular. He’s a disappointment to his mother, an inconvenience to his father, and an embarrassment to himself. He always swore he’d kill himself before the end of high school, but after a classmate actually does it, he realizes suicide was only a fantasy.  [This still isn't clear--why was it only a fantasy?  I think you should give some explanation.  "But after he witnesses the real horror of it after a classmate actually does it, he realizes." Something along those lines.]

 

As Ben and Claudia keep crossing paths, they gradually discover that sometimes a total stranger is the best person to tell the truth to—and to show you the truths, both good and bad, about yourself.

 

When their paths converge one last time at Claudia’s grandfather’s bedside, it lacks the drama [I would definitely restate this.  This more like a placeholder--you want a phrase that's actually dramatic here.] of the bullring—no bloodied sand, no cheering crowd, no life balanced on the tip of a sword.

 

[Ok, I got it.  It's simple]:

 

When their paths converge one last time at Claudia’s grandfather’s bedside, there's no bloodied sand, no cheering crowd, no life balanced on the tip of a sword.

 

All that hangs on the moment is a choice:

For Claudia, to lower her defenses and reach out.

For Ben, to stand up for himself, and live without apology.  [I like this, but I think you might be able to find a better way to state it.  Not sure how.  If after you've changed the rest of the query you still have this part untouched, you should probably highlight it and ask critiquers if they think there's a way to improve it.]

 

But those choices have their echoes, too.

 

ENOUGH is a 100,000-word contemporary/historical YA novel about fractured families, reluctant friendships, and just how fragile happiness can be. [Or, "the fragility of happiness."  In fact, that's such a nice phrase . . . if that hews closely enough to the theme of the whole book, maybe you could rename it.  "Enough: The Fragility of Happiness."] Ben and Claudia’s story is set in the 1990s in an American suburb, and switches between their points of view. Interleaved with it are episodes from the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, told from the perspectives of Claudia’s grandfather and mother.

 

 

 

 

I think the tone you've adopted for this version of the query is good.  Seeing as you just completely switched it up, I think you'll need to take some time to work out the bugs--don't make it overly colorful.  But now it's a more literary novel, and I think it's improved for it (assuming you find the right agent, of course.  You'll need someone that wants to read the histories contained within.)  I can't tell you for sure if you'll find a lot of agents out there that agree with me.  Best to get a lot of different perspectives on it.


My query, open to critiques:   http://agentquerycon...mantic-dramedy/






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction, Family Saga, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

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