The following is a query critique. Comments, suggestions and discussion are welcome and we hope you join in. I can only offer one opinion. The author of the query and I would love to hear yours.
Dear Ms. Ruth,
With an eternally seventeen-year old body and supernatural powers to defend an ancient covenant that keeps hitting the snooze button on the world’s Armageddon alarm clock, Jayke Wolff has a big responsibility on his shoulders. <– what? This seems like too much. I had to read the sentence twice to get a firmer handle on it.
Because he doesn’t remember anything about his life before coming out of a coma seven years ago, he’s not too stressed about it. Unfortunately for him, the world-conquering cult, the Aduro, has a longer memory. They’ve dispatched their most seductive and dangerous emissaries to either move Jayke to their side of the game board or knock him off it completely.
With the fall dance, geometry class, and the girl in his business class with the devastatingly long legs competing for his attention, Jayke isn’t getting any closer to learning about his past with so much looming in his future. Jayke has to either take control of his own life, give himself over to a secret society vying for world domination, or just let an ancient prophesy decide his fate for him. Where does a guy find the time to save the world? You are only young once, even if it is forever.
Thank you for considering my 98,000 word YA, fantasy manuscript [redacted]. TeensReadToo.com said Jayke’s “humor and insight made me laugh. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story with such life-like characters that I actually cared about”. Flamingnet Young Adult’s reviewer said she “could not put it down until (she) discovered how Jayke’s story turned out” and awarded the book a Top Choice Award from the site. This manuscript is currently being considered at Curtis Brown and Nancy Coffey.
This query is not perfect. I would like to see a more vivid character, maybe a friend or two, and some personal ambition. But I would have requested it anyway, because it was pretty good, and more importantly, it has been read and lauded before and two other agents–respected agents at that–have seen a glimmer of hope. Also the quote from teensreadtoo.com addresses the issue I had: characterization. Maybe this author has great characters in the manuscript, but a flat character in the query…which wouldn’t be a first. The take-away: the bio paragraph of your query letter is extremely important. Many authors tack it on the end without much thought, but it could be key!