Dec 1, 2009

QUERY - IN THE CLOUDS - young adult

Fifteen year-old Jaycie Rollings has the worst case of karma known to teenage girls. She's being forced to spend every waking minute with a forty-year-old Algebra teacher and to make things worse, he's dead.

Forty-five minutes a day with a living Mr. Schuster was bad enough for Jaycie, now he's following her and her boyfriend into their favorite make-out spots. She can't get any sleep at home with a ghost wandering around and boring World History class usually provided a good
opportunity for a nap, except now she has a dead teacher leaning over her shoulder threatening to sing show tunes if her notes on Hitler aren't perfect.

Mr. Schuster isn't exactly pleased with being condemned to follow 'a silly little girl around'. In fact, of all the students he could be stuck with, Jaycie is his last choice. But when he tries to leave her side, everything turns black and the darkness shows nothing but misery and a loneliness no man could withstand.

It's a crazy game of tug-o-war and Jaycie knows Mr. Schuster must have some kind-of unfinished business and figuring out what is keeping him around might be the only way to get rid of him.

Its Jaycie who makes the first move, a truce to work with the man that made her dread every single day of ninth grade. She opens up her world to him and he reluctantly does the same. Jaycie discovers a real person living beneath the hardened man with the permanent scowl.

She makes it her personal quest to ensure his life means something, even after death. IN THE CLOUDS is a 65,000 word young adult novel.


Anonymous said...

Wow! This caught my attention. I'm not an expert on queries but it certainly left me wanting more.

Andrea Coulter said...

I like the concept :) The only big thing that bugged me was that it isn't clear why Mr. S is following Jaycie. Why her? Has she ever been followed by ghosts before? She seems to be annoyed by this but not surprised. Also, why is this karma?

Other quibbles: it could be tightened a bit. And 'real person' near the end is vague. what does Jaycie find in Mr. S's personality that makes her change her mind about him? And is her quest to get rid of him or make his life 'mean something'? What are the stakes if she fails? I think there's a bit too much detail at the beginning and not enough at the end. Hope this helps!

RC Writer Girl said...

Wow! I really liked the query too. It was just enough to whet one's appetite for more.

Unknown said...

This is fun!! Great story idea. I'm intrigued :)

A.J. Frey said...

I think you have done a great job with this query. You might could even knock out the next to the last paragraph.

The query fills me full of questions, but the good kind. The kind that make me pick up the book.

Great job and good luck!

Julie said...

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions. Someone said I had a lot of details in the beginning and not enough in the end. I may need to distribute them more evenly. I tend to make my queries way too long and I was going for shorter this time.

Basically I have two major conflicts going on.
1. Dead teacher haunting my MC
2. She accepts and likes dead teacher but now has to figure out how to help him resolve his family/personal issues.

Actually it becomes a murder mystery. It is dramatic but more comedic than anything else so I wanted to on that aspect (conflict 1) in the query to keep it short.

Not sure if that is the best approach?