Sunday, February 23, 2014


Title: Leaving Peacesylvania
Genre: Contemporary YA


Lark is the perfect hippie, growing up on a picturesque commune with her nine siblings, celebrating individuality, frolicking in peace and free love. Except, she’s sick of it all. At sixteen, this life of permissive parents and free rein to do as she pleases is getting old--especially when her days involve watching her mother dance topless around a campfire, high on ‘shrooms. She wants to experience life. Real life. She takes a leap and registers for public school.

Lark thrives in the real world. She even meets a boy she can be serious about. Jeremiah’s genuine and kind. And a Republican. Lark embraces her new life, but she realizes that she’ll never truly fit in with either Jeremiah (whose feathers she ruffles) nor her Peacesylvanian family (who makes bad decisions at every turn.) Lark must choose to be herself even at the risk of losing the people she loves.

First sentence:

My to-do list has grown dauntingly long and the darkening grapes are just another reminder of how quickly this summer is ending.


  1. I really love this concept. I'd definitely read more. I already love Lark, and the conflict is so well set up. I do think that last line could be stronger- you mention she has to choose, but there doesn't seem to be a choice, just that she must risk losing the people she loves. Maybe switch it and say "Lark must decide whether being true to herself is worth losing the people she loves."

  2. To tighten paragraph one you could cut "She wants to experience life. Real life" as this information is shown in other parts of your pitch. I agree with Kitty think about switching your last sentence around a bit. Besides that I think you have a pretty good pitch here and an intriguing premise.

  3. (who makes bad decisions at every turn). <-- move the full stop (period).

    I'm still not a fan of the stakes in this. From what I read the first time there's a lot more potential for stakes with the loss of the commune land. For me, what you have there now is too vague.

  4. Judge comment: I feel like there is more to this concept than we're getting in the pitch. What, specifically, makes Lark leave the commune for high school? If her mother has always acted this way, why is Lark is suddenly fed up? I'm also not sure that the reader will be enticed to keep going -- since the pitch tells us that the romance is a non-starter, her family must be the main conflict, but it's unclear why being herself means a total split from them.

  5. I love this concept, and your pitch is tight and well-written. Amazing voice! Great twist on Amish Rumschpringe!

  6. This is a neat premise, growing up on a commune is something different and interesting, and breaking away from that lifestyle will certainly have its challenges. My concern is that Lark comes across as negative, which is understandable, but not very appealing, either.

  7. Thanks so much for all the feedback. I hope my revision addresses all this help you've given me. :)


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