Sunday, February 23, 2014



Genre: YA Contemporary


Shy girls don’t yarnbomb the school fence at dawn, and they definitely
don’t skip school to hang out with Patrick Hayes- student council
president, football vice-captain (and president of his own fan club.)

But then, best friends don’t usually resort to blackmail.

Fifteen-year-old Mabs Starling is the shadow to Olivia’s sun. That’s how
it’s always been. But when Olivia goes on exchange, Mabs can no longer
hide behind her. When a letter arrives, postmarked Paris, the last thing
Mabs expects is blackmail. Unless Mabs completes the enclosed list of
dares, Olivia will send a love poem Mabs wrote to her secret crush.

What’s even worse than Olivia thinking she needs to be blackmailed into
getting a life, is having to admit it’s true. And that Patrick, her
brother’s pain-in-the-neck best friend, may be the only one who can help
her finish the list, and step out of Olivia’s shadow.

First sentence:

I'm the shadow to Olivia's sun.


  1. I know you have this listed at YA Contemp, but I get a very MG feel from it. Maybe consider lowering the age by 2 years and making it MG? I think it would make an awesome MG

  2. I really, REALLY love this. You've obviously created a beautifully sympathetic character, and the idea of being blackmailed into getting a life is one I've never heard before (and I read a lot of YA). While this doesn't have the dark, edgy feel that a lot of YA has these days, I still think it's very much a YA story at its heart. This is a story of self-realization, of a character struggling to find out who they are. And for me, that's the very definition of YA. I think you've done a beautiful job with this pitch, and the first line has me craving more. Fabulous job!

  3. I like your revised first line a lot. It is evocative and sets up the story and characters really well.

  4. I had to look up yarn bomb. I wasn't familiar with that term. I don't think you need the first 2 paragraphs. Maybe jump right in to introducing Mabs. Because I want to know right away who to cheer for. If you want to include the info about Patrick being on the student council etc. perhaps move that to the last paragraph where you mention Patrick. Good luck!

  5. First off: Great title. LUV! I can see some conflict.

    I'd get rid of the first two paragraphs. They don't really add much to your concept, conflict, and goals. I feel, if you do open with what's currently your third paragraph, you'll need to include Olivia's last name. I would create balance.

    There's a lot of potential with the remainder of the pitch. Seeing how you used 'when' in the third sentence (your current third paragraph) I'd delete the next when and maybe use 'Soon a letter arrives, postmarked Paris, containing the last thing Mabs expects--blackmail, and from her BFF of all people.' (You don't have to add that last part, but it adds flavor and voice. Think of something else that describes Mabs.) Another small tweak I'd suggest or something similar: 'But worse than being blackmailed into getting a life, is Olivia having to admit it's true.' I can't help but wonder why Patrick is the only one who can help her finish the list. I think you need to include that, which might make the pitch a little more original. Best of luck!


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