Query Critique #8

Trigger warning: This query mentions suicide. 

I’m happy to see this novel has a diverse cast, including an LGBT and two disabled characters, which make me personally want to read it all that much more!

Submitted Query: 

Dear Agent,

Fifteen-year-old Dewey feels like the only gay kid in Rockwell, a small town in the middle-of-nowhere Idaho known for its high suicide rates. Damn, that sucks. You have my attention, though. Consider rephrasing: …middle-of-nowhere Rockwell, Idaho, a small town known for its high suicide rates. Legend blames the high suicide rates <<to avoid the repetitive phrasing, maybe try to voice it up a bit, and maybe show us what Dewey thinks of this. Maybe something like Legend blames the deaths on the ghost Ananke, who haunts Van de Kamp manor, but Dewey thinks its fake/crap/bs/whatever until he comes face-to-face with her. You get the idea 🙂 on a ghost named Ananke who supposedly lives in the decrepit Van de Kamp manor that once was a church and now looks more like The Addams Family house. 

On the night Dewey finds out his surrogate brother <<why not just say brother?has been drafted into Vietnam << I get what you mean by saying drafted into Vietnam, but I think it will read better if you say When Dewey finds out his brother is drafted into the Army and being shipped to Vietnam…or something similar… he sees red fog crawling over the Snake River and meets two runaways, Tatum an amputee and his mute sister, who happen to also see red misting over the green <<I’d drop the water’s color so we aren’t overwhelmed with colors water. Turns out, the runaways come from the Van de Kamp manor and are being targeted by the very real Ananke. Okay, what if you reworked this and combined it with the first sentence of the paragraph below? When Dewey finds out his brother is drafted into the Army and being shipped to Vietnam, he follows an eerie red fog crawling over the Snake River where he meets Tatum, an amputee and his mute sister (I want to know her name). Runaways, they mistakingly cut through the haunted Van de Kamp manor, making them the very real Ananke’s new targets. She’s unlike any monster…preying on people’s insecurities until they kill themselves so she can feed on their corpse. 

She has flesh and bones, ram’s horns, jellyfish tentacles, and a golden mask that finishes up her jester getup. Ananke is unlike any monster Dewey has ever seen on TV with an appetite for tragedy, preying on people for their insecurities, and using the ghosts in people’s heads to convince them to until they kill themselves before finally feeding on their corpses. And now Ananke has her sights set on Dewey for his sexuality, on his surrogate brother for his demons as an escapee from the Cuban Revolution, and on Tatum and his sister for their disabilities. I don’t think we need to know the why’s, but simply say Ananke has her sights on the four them or something similiar Worst of all, she has already made ten Vietnam War draftees commit suicide not even halfway into the summer. 

Now it’s up to Dewey and his friends to ban together and remind each other their they are stronger than their demons in order to put a stop to Ananke’s terror before she leads them into death’s inviting arms. Good stakes!

ANANKE THE SUICIDE EATER is a young adult historical novel featuring strong horror elements, complete at 80,000 words. It’s told in dual point-of-view from the perspective of a gay teen and disabled teen during the Vietnam War Era. Inspired by Greek mythology, Stephen King’s It, and American Horror Story: Roanoke, ANANKE THE SUICIDE EATER explores depression and the monsters that lurk inside us. <<I love this right here. 

Revise and resubmit if interested.

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