Hi everyone! This forum was tremendously helpful to me in work shopping my queries for my past two books. I finally got an agent (Rena Rossner), and the same pitch was used when we went on submission. Now I have a deal with Putnam (a teen imprint of Penguin). I don't remember the exact amount of full/partial requests I got because I signed last spring, but of the 20 or so agents I pitched to, around half of them expressed interest. Here is the query:
It's hard being the only black kid at a conservative prep school, especially when you’re routinely harassed by the dead. This year, sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston plans to make real friends, which won’t happen if he keeps retreating to a world no one else can see.
But when Jake meets Sawyer Doon, he discovers a spirit too vengeful to ignore. Six years ago, Sawyer executed a school shooting and killed himself before finishing the job. His targets are still out there, and he plans to use Jake to finish what he started.
The more Jake ignores Sawyer, the more he feels the ghost boy’s impact on his psyche. Nightmares of Sawyer's abusive childhood haunt him in his sleep. When awake, he lashes out at his mother, teachers, and his crush-turned-friend for reasons he can’t explain.
The closer Jake's comes to understanding who Sawyer was, the more he realizes how similar he is to Sawyer, a boy once bullied relentlessly for his sexuality, now hell-bent on taking power from a world that always took it from him. To protect himself from possession, Jake will have to find a voice in a school he feels he has none and discover his own reason to live.
Complete at 76,000 words, JAKE IN THE BOX is a dual-narrative YA psychological horror novel.