Wednesday, February 19, 2014



Genre: YA Contemporary


Teen environmentalist Beth Keepe loves her job as a sea turtle rescue worker, but she’d rather kill a turtle than tell her Dad she’s pregnant. If she gets an abortion, however, he’ll never have to know.
But when, on a boat ride, she hits a turtle, cracking its shell in two, she puts guilt about the pregnancy on hold and vows to save the animal.
All she has to do is reopen the town’s turtle hospital. Simple. Until her estranged sister, Anna, returns home, determined to change Beth’s mind about the pregnancy. Too bad Beth stopped counting on Anna to save her a long time ago.
In learning to care for the animal, Beth reconsiders what having the baby would mean. But between guilt over the turtle and the fear of hurting her father, she’ll face decisions that could sting worse than a jellyfish, and could leave permanent scars.

First sentence

I never went boating when upset—at least, that’s what I told myself as my boat’s prow sliced the water, skimming over the frothing waves.


  1. I think you have an interesting story here, but it's not coming through in the query. I don't get why opening the turtle hospital is all she has to do. I like the conflict with the sister. It sounds like it will be an interesting part of the plot.

    I think your first line can be stronger. It's vague. It starts out creating some interest but then fizzles out.
    Give us a sense of what she's upset about.

    Good luck.

  2. What I like: The sea turtle concept is unique to me.

    What I would like: I feel like you structured the query well but some of the ideas grate to me- “kill a turtle” (seems extreme) and “all she has to do” (feels random in context).

    Great work!

  3. I get that you are trying to say that telling her father about the baby is the worst thing that could happen but "rather kill a turtle" doesn't gel with the rest of what I'm seeing in this query. She obviously cares deeply about turtles and wouldn't hurt them. Can you drop that line all together? I'm guessing here but I'm assuming she hits the turtle because she distracted about what to do about her pregnancy. Maybe you can work that in there somehow. Good luck!

  4. Wow, very powerful premise here. Guilt, expectations, family ties, doing the right thing, and what is the right thing.

    There's something beautiful going on between the turtle story line and the abortion story line. I'm not sure from the query what the intersection is. I see the dance, but I would like to know how they come together to impact the MC's decision and life. Maybe the key is in how you structure the query.

    Best of luck. This is such an interesting story.

  5. Such a unique story concept, and I love how perfectly the injured turtle needing care reflects the care a child would need. A lovely parallel! I agree with the above commentary that some tweaking is needed, but this is a lovely start! :)

  6. I like the concept of the story, and think the idea of including a baby sea turtle is genius. I'm guessing the manuscript is compelling. I think you've created a technically correct pitch, it lacks an emotional connection. It's also difficult to imagine how the various aspects of the story will tie together.

    Good luck!

  7. I agree with those above, I think you have an interesting story here - especially the tie between caring for an injured turtle and making a tough decision about abortion. However, your pitch doesn't seem to have nailed down the emotional connection between these threads - as others have noted above. I'm also a little unclear on what a teen environmentalist job means for her, so it would be great to clarify that if possible (hard with so few words, I know.)

    I'd suggest trimming down the comparisons and putting more words into how her choices and relationships will impact and enhance the conflict of your story.

    Best of luck, think you've got a compelling idea!


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