Thursday, February 19, 2015


word count: 56,000
YA contemporary
A text message leads seventeen-year-old Shaun Daley to question what everyone else has taken at face value—that his gifted twin had hanged himself.
The guy who sent the message dies in a hit and run before Shaun can question him. Desperate for answers, he seeks out his brother’s best friend—nerdy, introverted Mira Patel.
Mira has her own problems: unrealistic parental expectations and a sister who breaks every rule in their traditional Indian household. Now she has to help Shaun, no matter that his arrogant attitude annoys the heck out of her. But when her sister dies of a drug overdose, it’s Shaun she turns to for help.
As their grief draws them closer together, Mira helps Shaun investigate the deaths. They discover clues linking the hit-and-run to her sister’s overdose and, ultimately, his brother’s suicide. Soon they’re in a race to expose a killer before he finishes them off, too    
First 250:
The walls of our three-story colonial could withstand force five gales, but did nothing to muffle my mom’s sobs from the adjoining room, or my dad’s frenzied pacing in the hall outside.
Something heavy thudded against my bedroom wall, followed by the sound of glass shattering. Dad stopped pacing. “What the hell, Terese?” A pause, then, “Oh, for God’s sake, cut it out! He’s not coming back.”
Dad was great at stating the obvious. 
Mom answered, her voice too low for me to hear, but I didn’t need to. Their arguments always ended with Dad either sleeping on the couch or leaving the house. Lately he’d been leaving more often. I dragged a pair of jeans over my boxers and sat at the edge of the bed, staring at my clenched hands.
My brother would’ve known the right thing to do. But, if he was here, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Damn you, David. Why the hell did you do it? I blinked hard, wishing I’d gone out. I could be drinking with the guys right now, instead of sitting here missing my brother and listening to my parents tear each other apart.  
Dad’s footsteps paused outside my door. I waited for him to continue toward the stairs. He hadn’t set foot in my room since David died a month ago.
The door handle turned.


  1. Sounds like a great story and both pitch and first page work very well. Shaun Daley and Mira Patel could be a compelling combination.

    Great work and best of luck,

  2. Love this pitch! And recognized the story from the blog hop. I really like the way you set up the stakes in this pitch. And I still love the opening.

  3. Great stakes and a very compelling character pairing (love Mira's traditional Indian upbringing)! You have a gripping, solid pitch with clearly defined outer and inner conflict.

    Good luck!

  4. I love this! Great stakes here! I just thought in your pitch you might not need the part about the guy who wrote the text message, being killed? It made me ask more questions and I think you've added enough suspicion from Mira and Shaun discovering their sibling's deaths are linked. Just my two cents! Best, #11

  5. Good Morning Author,
    I do like the stakes, though it reads a little more like an Adult mystery verses YA with as many people who die to set the plot.
    *I always read plots on the back of the books and when people find clues that link everything together, I say to myself 'now go to the police,' but then I remind myself 'that's no fun'
    It says Shaun investigates the deaths.. the phone call alerts him that the suicide was staged... what links the overdose to the other two murders? Why did the hit and run lead to the overdose that lead to the suicide. Seems a little out of order based on the actual timeline. I was left hanging there (maybe pun intended)
    One thing that I read that made me cringe a little was the phrase 'out drinking with the guys' Your story and all but I am not a fan of promoting 17 year olds and drinking as a nonchalant concept to solve issues. (Total personal pref) Love the intensity at the beginning though. The pain is definitely there.
    'The door handle turns' *goes to swipe to the next page... wha wha... nothing because we only get 250...
    As a youth pastor my heart aches for the kids who think they can control the mistakes parents make is always a heartstring in books for me. To have a MC who has a brother who would know what to do is powerful on my pallet. I hope you can keep that strong ambience during the whole book. If so, I think you have something good with a bit of fine tuning. For whatever reason it doesn't work as a YA, the storyline could definitely be turned to and Adult murder mystery fairly easily.
    Good Luck!
    Fellow Contestant & Writing Friend

  6. Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the time and all the comments. Thanks so much :)

  7. Oh my! I'm scared for these teens, but I guess that's what you want. I really like this whole query and first page set-up. The fact that he wants to go drinking is something teens would identify with, because while we know as grown-ups that's not the answer, it is a harsh reality. Good luck with your project! ~lara, #25

  8. Pitch:
    Wow, lots of action! My favorite part is your final paragraph. It's clean, concise, and sets the stakes well! The earlier bits catch my attention, but I agree with MPEagles that it's a lot of death to cram into such a short amount of space. I also really like the dual narrative--cool approach =)

    First Page:
    Terese is the mom, right? I was a bit unsure at first. Also, drinking with the guys made me confused about his age. Obviously, teenagers drink, but since you hadn't yet specified his age in the actual story, I wonder if he was a college kid or maybe even someone who graduated and was living with his parents. Perhaps you could change drinking to hanging?

    Really cool concept though--want to read more! Good luck =)

    Domenic (#28)

  9. I like the distinct differences between Shaun and Mira - he'd rather be with the guys, she has to deal with big expectations from her family. I think that together they could be a compelling combination. I do wonder if there is any romance? Not necessary, but not sure based on the pitch alone. Already I worry about those expectations growing for Mira once her sister is gone, and how Shaun is going to cope.

    The sibling death of both characters is a lot for one story, though, and I wonder if their issues will read as having the same intensity level, especially as both deaths seem to happen back to back. That is a lot to cope with at once. I would like to know more about the killer in the pitch, too. A classmate? A dealer? Someone who knows both of them? More of a hint about that would raise the stakes for me.

    I definitely want to read more! Good luck!!! #32 TRACKED


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