I haven't been querying for a while because I've realized I still need a lot of help on my query letter, and to be honest, I have NO idea what I'm doing! But this is why I'm here, and I'd love to have some feedback. So here it is:
I am seeking representation for my debut YA contemporary fantasy novel, Codename: E.T.D.E.L. (As others have stated you don't need to lead with this. Consider moving the title to the end and just starting with your story. Unless the agent specifically says they want the Title, word count, genre up front.)
Nobody at Gatlinburg-Pittman High can figure out why Maxine, Alyssa, Riley, Sierra, and Carrie are the best of friends. (WOW. This is a lot of characters to throw at anyone right off the bat. I read your comment above where you say they are all main characters, but also that there are different books for each of them, or at least that is what I understand from what you have above. I would consider just making this about the one character this story is about. Who is the MC of this story? You don't have all 6 POV's do you? And even if you do, for a query it is best to concentrate on one or two characters, but 5 is way too many) Because of their different personalities and interests, they should be in separate cliques. (I'm not sure this does anything for you, a lot of people are friends with other people that have different interests. Think about your own group of friends. Do you all like exactly the same things? Listen to all the same music? Eat the same foods? Believe in the same things? Vote for the same people? I'm guessing no.) But when handsome, mysterious Tyler Wolfem(So now we have 6 characters. And who thinks he is handsome? All 5 girls? Is this going to be a problem? Do you have a harem thing going on here?) enters their lives, they learn they have one thing in common - a deep connection to the five elements of life (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit). The teens are unexpectedly thrust into a group unheard of in the realms of high school called ETDEL, or Elite Teens, Defenders of the Elements of Life. (Very cool. But how does the arrival of this kid at a school they all have already gone to thrust them into a world they didn't know about before? Did any of them know about their powers before? I don't see the connection of these two things. His arrival and their just learning about powers they have supposedly had their whole lives.) Together, they must stop the sinister, small-banded society of FAEL, the Fighters Against the Elements of Life, from attempting to take control of the Earth element. (Why? How does this come about? You are giving me obstacles which is great, but I don't know why it matters to these kids. What is it about them that makes it so they have to go off and fight the bad guys?)
Conflict quickly spreads like dandelion puffs, (I love the imagery here, but "conflict" is a little vague. Can you be a little specific?) and it isn’t just because the girls have to keep ETDEL a secret from their family and friends. (Why? Again, great obstacles, but without context they don't have a lot of meaning.) As each day passes, FAEL is expanding efforts to take control of not just the Earth element, but all of the elements of life. The girls must juggle their double lives to save the Great Smoky Mountains, and their GPAs. (This line is funny, and it gives me an idea of the stakes, but what happens if they fail? The Great Smoky Mountains will be destroyed? While yes, this would suck there are other places these guys can live so wouldn't they just move? Do you see what I'm saying? That saving the mountains and their GPA's doesn't really give me a sense for what is at stake in this story, and mainly because I don't really know what the goal is. To stop FAEL? Why should I care?)
The first in a planned series, each focusing on a different element of life, Codename: E.T.D.E.L. (If the title is CODENAME: E.T.D.E.L it should be in all caps) is completed at approximately 55,000 words. (Yes, I agree with your statement above - "is a stand alone with series potential." And I also agree that 55K seems short for a story of this magnitude. My guess is that they don't defeat FAEL in this book and it continues through each of the novels, so then it goes back to what are the true goals and stakes of this book? I could be wrong, but that is the impression that I get. That this in fact is not a stand alone.). A strong female friendship between the main characters is at the core of an environmental-themed storyline. (This line isn't necessary.)
(Move your bio to its own line. Also if you are a part of any writing organizations or anything, this would be a good place to add that) I graduated from the University of Charleston with a B.A. in English. I consider the Great Smoky Mountains to be my second home, so I know the area well enough to be mistaken for a local.
Below, as per your recommendation, are the first ____ pages of my manuscript. (Consider, Per your submission guidelines, the first XXX pages are included below.)
I look forward to hearing from you.
(Consider, Thank you for your time. As you may not actually get a response.)
(my first and last name)
Once again, feedback would be greatly appreciated.