Dec 15, 2009

Query - THE ELEANOR STORY - young adult

On her fourteenth birthday, Ellie Cummings had one amazing, seventy-two second kiss with the cutest boy in school. Three days later she is officially the St. Vincent Academy slut.

Ellie was given the same warning as all the eighth grade girls at St. Vincent's: Your reputation is a valuable possession and you must protect it. Sister Clarisse's message swam straight over shy Ellie's head. Until the movie following the nun's speech. The moment the words flashed across the screen, she knew she was in trouble: The Eleanor Story: A Story Of A Girl Who's Reputation Got In The Way Of Her Relationship With God.

The girl was easy and boy crazy and she'd rather be kissing than praying. And they had the same name! All Ellie can do is hope everyone will forget The Movie soon. They might have too if Justin Sampson, Ellie's best summer pal, hadn't transferred to her school. Even Ellie can't dismiss the fact that Justin is really cute. On her fourteenth birthday, she kisses him with twenty-six pairs of eyes watching.

She has officially gone from Ellie to *the Eleanor*. Worse, a mysterious blogger named HailMary22 has created a blog in her honor: Guess Eleanor Cummings Next Man.

Rumors and lies fill the online world. Her first real kiss has turned into the world's biggest mistake and Ellie can't escape. Now she has to the make a decision: hide from HailMary22 or stand up for herself for the first time in her life.

THE ELEANOR STORY is a 53,000 word young adult novel.


Lt. Cccyxx said...

I'm not terribly familiar with YA, so take this for what it's worth:

Your query is well-written and I like your style generally. However, it seemed excessively focused on "the kiss" and not nearly focused enough on what exactly Ellie is struggling with or trying to accomplish.

Does she just want to be a "good girl" again? Does she want to be Justin's girlfriend (what led up to the kiss)? How does one "hide" from a blogger? Is she really the only 14 year old in her (evidently co-ed) school who has kissed someone? And is that really a reason for 14 year olds to ostracize each other?

I also don't get the sense she is a doormat but her choice is set up as either hiding or standing up for herself "for the first time in her life."

Were I an agent (and I'm definitely not, so again, take this fwiw) I'd want to know a bit more about what's at stake, and a bit more about Ellie. Why is she interesting? Why should we care if she's (unfairly) labeled the school slut?

Good luck!

Anne Gallagher said...

I think, and this is only my opinion, it's a little too long. Do you really need the third paragraph at all?

If I may:
"On her fourteenth birthday, Ellie Cummings had one amazing, seventy-two second kiss with the cutest boy in school. Unfortunately twenty-six pair of eyes watched her. Three days later she is officially the St. Vincent Academy slut."

Does that make any sense to you?

Also, I don't think we need the information that the boy she was kissing is Justin, was the boy she had a summer fling with, is the boy who has now transferred to her school. Too much information unless you can tool it down to one cohesive sentence.

And why do rumors and lies only fill the online world? wouldn't they also be at the school as well. You need one more sentence, or phrase to bring that together.

Otherwise I thought it was pretty good. Looking forward to seeing the revised version.

Anonymous said...

FYI/FWIW as a mother to a 13 and a 14-yr-old I can tell you that a 72 second kiss at the age of 14 does not a slut make. There are girls just a year or two older having babies (not that I champion that endeavor).
However, maybe lowering the age of your protag to about 12 (a lot happens between 12 and 13) would make more sense. A 72 second public kiss at 12 might definitely make for gossip.

RC Writer Girl said...

I agree with the other commenters. I like the overall "voice" of the query. But, I think it's too long, and focuses a little too much on the story setup (the kiss), and not enough on what happens next (the rest of the book). The final commenter before mine is probably also correct. Twelve (or 11, even) seems better age for a 72 second kiss stirring gossip.

Your final paragraph discussing the story (Rumors and lies..) is a great way to wrap up and highlight the dilemma. So, I wouldn't change a thing with that one.

Sounds like an interesting story. Good luck.