Tuesday, October 25, 2011

QUERY CRITIQUE #12: THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS


Dear [Agent],

If Junie Baltimore had spent more time listening to the transistor radio in her family's restaurant, she would've heard the song and known that it was always meant for her.

Junie, a Bon Jovi-obsessed eighteen-year-old, is the next Food Network star waiting for her chance at fame. To pass the time she bakes in her parent’s restaurant, The Baltimore. When her gorgeous boyfriend dumps her for the former prom queen, her parents whisk her away on a family vacation to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There she stumbles into an adventure chased by a boy from her childhood, Robert Montgomery, and a single song --- a song about her. A song filled with lucid, beautiful, perfect notes.

I found the time setting hard to pin down in this opening. Transistor radios are out of the 1960s, Bon Jovi is from the 1980s, and the Food Network is present day. I'm not sure the restaurant name is necessary in the query.

Dear [Agent],

If Junie Baltimore had spent more time listening to the transistor radio in her family's restaurant, she would've heard the song and known that it was always meant for her.

Junie, a Bon Jovi-obsessed eighteen-year-old, bakes in her parents' restaurant while she for her chance at Food Network fame. When her gorgeous boyfriend dumps her for the former prom queen, her parents whisk her away on a family vacation to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There she stumbles into an adventure with a boy from her childhood, Robert Montgomery, and a single song--a song filled with lucid, beautiful, perfect notes.

A song about her.

By the end of the week, Junie has to make a choice. She wants to hear that song with all perfect notes, the one that might change her life forever, but when her ex-boyfriend comes calling she wants to rekindle that old flame, too. Junie has to discover that heart is more reliable than it seems, and that with a little help from Bon Jovi, sometimes it’s now or never. She ain’t gonna live forever.

The ex-boyfriend dumped her a week before, so he's not really an "old flame." I'm assuming he's groveling or at least contrite; there needs to be some sense that he's worth even considering, since the guy *just* dumped her. I can also tell you that agents and editors are going to see this and immediately think about how they'd be able to get the necessary permissions for you to quote Bon Jovi song lyrics in your book. I have an out-of-the-box suggestion about that—Jon Bon Jovi just opened a charity restaurant, Soul Food, in Red Bank, NJ, and you might contact him with the request for permission to use the lyrics with a promise to donate a portion of your royalties to Soul Food. Since your MC works in a restaurant, it might be a good fit.

By the end of the week, Junie has to make a choice. She wants to hear that song with all perfect notes, the one that might change her life forever, but when her ex-boyfriend comes crawling back with flowers and apologies, she's tempted to give him another chance. Junie has to discover that the heart is more reliable than it seems, and that with a little help from Bon Jovi, sometimes it’s now or never. She ain’t gonna live forever.

THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS is a Young Adult romance with a zest of Anna and the French Kiss and Audrey, Wait! --- a kissing kind of book that, at the heart, becomes about those roads not taken, and where they might have led. It is complete at 78,000 words, a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Competition in 2010, and a Top Pick on Inkpop.com.

THE SECRET LIFE OF LEMONS is a Young Adult romance with a zest of Anna and the French Kiss and Audrey, Wait!--a kissing kind of book that, at the heart, becomes about those roads not taken, and where they might have led. It is complete at 78,000 words, a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Competition, and a Top Pick on Inkpop.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ashley Poston

As long as the song lyrics permissions issue is addressed, I'd ask for pages. This sounds like a great read! 

4 comments:

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

And now I have "Livin' On A Prayer" in my head.

Deniz Bevan said...

Really interesting premise! I kinda sort had an idea involving a musician too - but then I wanted to transplant my story to the 1930s... Ah well, guess it'll sit on the back burner for a while [g]

Melinda said...

I thought this sounded really good! But the you brought back the stupid ex boyfriend. Which is fine I guess if we don't have to like him as much as this mysterious boy from her childhood.

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