Query Critique #16

Today’s query looks at a young adult science-fiction novel with romantic elements. 

Submitted Query:

Dear Natasha,

After the world recovers from a widespread energy crisis, humanity relies solely on an advanced fuel named Chronologium. (I like this, but I’d tighten it by simply saying: …relies solely on Chronologium. I’m a science person so maybe that’s why I’m thinking this way, but I don’t think you need to tell us Chronologium is an advanced fuel. It sounds enough like an element on the periodic table that people should be able to make the connection on their own, especially since you said energy crisis.) Sixteen-year-old Billie Embers is preparing to embark on her “Spring Years” – a compulsory energy harvesting programme that requires every teenager to travel back in time and live for a period of four years, creating the temporal paradox from which Chronologium is farmed. (If you really wanted to you could swap out Chronologium in this sentence with advanced fuel.)

Billie has never had it easy. Misunderstood, troublesome and bestowed with a perfect sister who is impossible to live up to, her Spring Years could be a chance to start again. When Billie travels back to 1993 and meets Luke Bell, a simple but irresistible mechanic, she breaks the cardinal rule – never fall in love. After unsuccessfully resisting their forbidden romance, she is tracked down by the programme’s relentless policing unit – The Invigilators – and must evade them on pain of death. How does she do this? (Only after reading the next paragraph do I see she has a time travel device, so I’m assuming she jumps through time? But what about Billie? Does he go with her?)

From the comfort of her futuristic year zone to the grungy angst-ridden 1990s, the roaring parties of the 1920s to the dangers of medieval England, Billie is determined to keep both herself and her relationship alive. Armed only with a time travel device and her love for Luke, Billie is thrown into a cat and mouse game that spans not only the complexities of her adolescence, but the entirety of time and space.  (I think this sentence should be first in this paragraph so you can answer some of the questions I posed at the end of the last paragraph. And if you can, try to work in the various times she hops to. Then you need to give us the stakes again because it looks like you gave them in the previous paragraph when you mentioned The Invigilators coming after her.)

Combining elements of science-fiction and romance, THE SPRING YEARS is a young adult novel complete at 77,000 words. (I’d say it this way: THE SPRING YEARS is a 77,000 Young Adult Science-Fiction novel with romantic elements.) 

Just a few things to think about. This novel sounds very exciting. I have a weakness for all things time travel and romance. 

Revise and resubmit if interested. 

What Are Your Thoughts?

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