Pitch I- Ideal High

YA contemporary


A summer’s-worth of mourning is not nearly enough.

After a suspicious fire kills several of her classmates, Taryn’s senior year is over before it begins. Way too soon she’s compelled to come out from under her paisley comforter to take her late boyfriend’s place as student body president. It seems the only way to fix what’s broken at Ideal High.

She butts heads with a principal who doesn’t want his school labeled and annoys an “invisible” student who would rather be left alone. Throw in a hot cowboy who is totally not her type, and former best friend, Chelsea Manor, with all her anxiety over the fire, and it’s not long before Taryn is wondering why she dragged herself from the safety of her warm bed. At least there her mascara could run in private.

Taryn must decide whether risking her pride and hard-won status is worth facing both the truth about the tragedy and the possibility that Chelsea needs a real friend. But doing so could mean Ideal High finally lives up to its name.

First 150 Words:

Taryn forced a glance at the pull-down screen behind her and was sorry she had. Whose idea was it to broadcast the super-sized faces of the dead to the far corners of the school’s auditorium? Everybody knew they were gone. Why emphasize the obvious even for the sake of a memorial? And why no rain on this joyless day? Never a good Texas thunderstorm when you needed one.

Instead, light poured through the ribbon of windows high along the back wall, criss-crossing the podium where she stood. Leaned was more like it. She squinted at the sheet of paper in front of her, trying to make out the first name. Not that it mattered. She knew the list by heart.

“Ashley Benton.” When she finally focused through the glare to speak into the microphone, the name echoed across the vast room.

All eyes riveted on the screen as Taryn pictured the name and the face heading straight to the heart of each student, parent, faculty member, and community leader standing at attention.

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10 thoughts about "Pitch I- Ideal High"

  • Joan Sowards says:

    Great intro. Makes me want to know more.

  • Pat Esden says:

    I like the query, but there are a couple of things which could be clearer. Did her boyfriend died in the fire or before the fire happened? Also what label doesn’t the principal want the school to wear?

    I think you’ve chosen a great emotion packed scene to start your story with.

    Good luck!

  • Tamara says:

    Senior year & grief can be two hard things to get through. I want to go on this journey with Taryn and find out how she handles it. Nice opener.

  • Jen says:

    Like Pat suggested, I think the query could be a little more clear. I’m curious who the invisible person is. Is it a friend or her or someone completely different? Also, you mention the truth about the fire, is Taryn involved in finding out that truth?

    Your first 150 is good. I like that there’s already some emotional build up.

  • Indigo says:

    Your query starts off strong and leads into good conflict, but the choice is a little murky because it doesn’t connect strongly to the rest of the query. Fix that, and you’ll be good to go. And your first 150 read very well. Nice tension right off the bat. Well done. You’ve got my vote!

  • Writerlicious says:

    You need to summarize your story better in your query, but this sounds so good I’m willing to overlook it! You’ve got my vote:-)

  • Susan says:

    I feel a strong voice in the query and potential for exciting conflict. Powerful beginning. I want to read more.

  • Juliana says:

    Sometimes the tagline at the beginning works and sometimes it can actually be worked into the query to keep things seamless. I think that’s the case here. As an example: “A summer’s-s worth of mourning is not nearly enough, not for Taryn who watched a suspicious fire kill several of her classmates in her senior year of high school.” That way you have your hook and inciting incident all right at the beginning!

    Let me know if you need anything! And be sure to stop by tomorrow for the birthday giveaway 🙂

  • Terri K. Rowe says:

    You have captured the raw emotion that is part of that time in our lives, that heightens all events. This was great!

  • Valerie Ipson says:

    Thanks so much for all the GREAT suggestions for my query! You guys are awesome!

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