Pitch E- The Boyfriend Plague

The Boyfriend Plague
YA Contemporary
84 000 words

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years.  Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better.  Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room, the one place her synesthesia isn’t a distraction, and finds Bianca, the school
‘freak’.  Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the winter formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

First 150 Words

I squirmed on the splintery wooden bench.  The room was too small and the irregular buzzing that crept over the lopsided swinging doors set my teeth on edge.  Each burst sent a cloud of rusty orange scattering through my skull.
“Is this okay, Livvie?”  Mel leaned over and pressed a slip of paper onto my knee.
I studied it for a moment, still trying to shake off the burning color my synesthesia had painted the world.  “Yeah.  It’s perfect.”  I grinned at her, but my lips trembled so much I’m sure it was more a grimace.
“What about yours?”  Mel turned to Hannah who had her paper crumpled in her fist.
She smoothed it out against the taut fabric of her jeans.  “It’s good. I don’t think Mom could tell she hadn’t signed it.”
Mel sighed and glanced down at her own scrap of paper.  “At least they’re all different.  And how close are they going to look?”

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9 thoughts about "Pitch E- The Boyfriend Plague"

  • Marlowe says:

    This has my vote.

  • Pat Esden says:

    Great premise and solid query.

    In the query, I would have liked to have seen a hint about how the synesthesia effected her life outside the art room and caused her to seek refuge.

  • Jen says:

    I remember reading this during Write On Con. I like the premise and the first 150. In the query I think you could tighten it up and add a little more suspense while still enticing the reader.

    Good luck!

  • Indigo says:

    The query is very good, but don’t repeat the conflict in para 2 that you already show in para 1. And the last sentence of para 3 feels thrown in for drama. Stay focused on the Livvie/Bianca conflict. That feels like the heart. Then change the last sentence of the query to reflect that. Other than that, it’s pretty darn good.

    For your first 150, the first para is a bit confusing. You have to imagine that no one knows what synesthesia is and spell it out. Otherwise, none of that makes a lick of sense. Concentrate less on the physical setting (splintery wooden bench and lopsided swinging doors) and more on how it relates to Livvie and what she’s experiencing. Setting must be grounded by emotion to have impact. The rest is dialogue that doesn’t make enough sense because we have no clear idea of character yet. If you use emotion to stage the setting and include the characters present, it will make us care more about them and what is happening.

  • Writerlicious says:

    Yes to staying focused in query and no to the word synesthesia on the first page. I have no idea what’s happening on your first page because you haven’t rooted me in your scene. SHOW ME this girl named Livvie who’s fighting for her identity right off the bat. Remember, teens (and everyone in general these days) have short attention spans. They think life can be encapsulated in a text or 140 character Twitter message so cut out the fluff, especially in the first page. Best of luck to you:-)

  • Kate Simpson says:

    I like the query. It sounds like something I’d really like to read.

    As for the first 150, I totally disagree with the comments above. I’m intrigued by this opening. I want to know more about synesthesia and what these people are doing. It feels like it could be illegal or dangerous! I’d read on to find out what is happening. I don’t want to know everything about a book on the first page; why would I read on?

  • Juliana says:

    Hey lady! I think for your query, you can possibly start it at your second paragraph- the first comes off as all background information. You could cut it all down to, “Livvie seeks refuge from her chaotic life in the art room, the one place her synesthesia and out-of-control family aren’t a distraction.”

    You know I love this books premise!

    Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the birthday giveaway!

  • You know what, Julianna? I did try cutting out that first paragraph for a while, but all the requests I’ve had for the MS have been from the version with it in.

  • Terri K. Rowe says:

    I think your query is good at drawing the reader in and that your first 150 words showed great promise.

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