Query Critique #20

This query focuses on a YA Contemporary Romance that involves social media and the rise and fall of teens in today’s connected world. 

Submitted Query:

In the aftermath of her father’s bankruptcy and (maybe add subsequent) mental breakdown, all seventeen-year-old Phoenix Elliot wants is a new start. After four years in LA, she returns to her hometown in Colorado as a changed person. No longer the nerd her middle-school bullies remember, Phoenix is an Instafamous fashion influencer who’s ready to reconnect with her BFF, dethrone the Homecoming queen, and date the hot quarterback. (Maybe combine these two sentences because you don’t need to tell us she’s changed when you show it following. After four years in LA, she returns to her hometown in Colorado no longer the nerd her middle-school bullies remember. Then follow that with Phoenix is an Instafamous fashion…) And popularity pays: the more followers Phoenix gets, the more money she can invest in her father’s new business venture. 

A self-proclaimed outcast, Damien is unimpressed by Phoenix’s social media standing. He’d rather spend his days studying constellations and developing film, but he agrees to take Phoenix’s pictures to earn money for college. As Damien spends more time with Phoenix, he begins to see who she really is behind her online facade. His focus shifts from capturing her image to capturing her heart. Unless Damien can convince Phoenix to trust his intentions, he’ll lose his income and any chance at a connection with her.

When someone secretly films and posts a video of Phoenix criticizing her sponsor’s product, brands start canceling their contracts. (This is good, but I think you can tighten it up. What about something like this: When an anonymous video goes viral of Phoenix criticizing her sponsor’s product, brands start canceling their contracts). With Damien by her side, Phoenix plots to expose the person responsible for her downfall, teetering on the edge of becoming a bully herself. But if she can’t maintain her standing in the fashion world, Phoenix could lose everything: her followers, her lifesavings (Grammarly says this should be two words), her best friend, and even her relationship with her father. (Since you have the colon here, I’d get rid of the one you have in the first paragraph). 

PHOENIX FALLING is a YA contemporary romance in dual-POV, complete at 82,000. This mixed-media novel (maybe call it epistolary?) includes texts, Instagram posts, emails, newspaper articles, and maps. It should (change this to will — sound sure of your novel — when you use should it doesn’t give the impression that you are sure) appeal to fans of Jenny Han’s P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU and Sandhya Menon’s WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. (You’ll need a new title. I thought it reminded me of an action movie so I googled it, only to discover it was a novel published by HarperCollins.) 

This sounds like a fun read! 

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