Tuesday, July 20, 2010

4 #100 girl jordyn

Title: Sitting on Rooftops
Genre: Young Adult

Query Letter

Grayson was thirteen when her aunt and uncle died, leaving an emptiness that shattered the family. Before, Grayson and her cousins Willa and Ainsley, grew up together like sisters. After, they were torn apart as their individual families tried to move on from the tragedy.

Grayson's been apart from her cousins for three years but now, in what promises to be a family-filled summer, she's headed back to Arizona to reunite with them. Despite her excitement at seeing Willa and Ainsley again, things quickly become tangled as Willa's grief resurfaces and Ainsley does her best to push Grayson away from her. In trying to deal with the ways her cousins have changed, Grayson finds herself developing romantic feelings for a childhood friend -- a boy who's now dating Willa -- and now she must decide how much she's willing to risk in order to restore the relationship she used to have with Willa and Ainsley.

SITTING ON ROOFTOPS, complete at 59,000 words, is a YA novel about family and the different types of love. It's about making the wrong turn and how to put things back together when they fall apart.

Chapter One

In seventh grade math they taught us that a triangle is the sturdiest shape, stronger than rectangles or pentagons or anything else. And that made sense to me. I understood, almost instinctively, what we spent multiple class periods on; I knew that three points were stronger than two, that the third corner gave the shape an added strength it wouldn’t otherwise have. That third corner, I knew, was needed.

I am the third corner, the point that makes the triangle work. I knew this when I was five years playing dolls with Willa and Ainsley and I know it now, a mile in the air, on my way to reunite with them after three years away. Three years apart, the corners of our triangle spread across hundreds and thousands of miles. Seb sits next to me, comic book in hand and his Bose noise-cancelling headphones (a remnant of our parents’ divorce, one of the things he stole from my mother’s boxes when she moved out) blocking out the noise of the airplane. He’s my older brother and my best friend and right now I wish he’d talk to me instead of reading. I’m nervous and I shouldn’t be nervous. I’m antsy and I shouldn’t be antsy.

“Seb,” I say.

He doesn’t hear me.

“Seb,” I say again, louder.

He still doesn’t hear me, but the girl sitting behind me does and she kicks the back of my seat. Nice.

I pull the headphones away from him. “Seb.”


  1. Beautiful writing. I already love the MC. There's a typo. When I was five-years-OLD playing with dolls. But the writing itself I find lovely. I normally only go for paranormal or fantasy, but I would certainly keep reading on from here.

    Question: is it relatable for teenage brother and sister to be best-friends? Just a thought. Mine was, but I'm weird like that. And old. Well, compared to sixteen.

    Nicely done and I hope you find a home for it.


  2. Lisa - I don't have a brother, so I don't know how relatable it is but I think what matters more than normality is that it's normal for these characters and because of that (hopefully) readers can relate. I'm weird in that my best friends have always been family members... I know a lot of people aren't like that but my hope is that it's not crazy enough that it would turn readers away.

  3. No - I don't think it's crazy and will turn readers away. :) I was just posing food for thought. I really do love the writing and wish you best of luck placing it!

  4. I think this is a great beginning that really sets the mood of the story. I immediately hear Grayson’s voice. I love the triangle image. I don’t think you need the phrase “I understood, almost instinctively, what we spent multiple class periods on;”, it just complicates a nice image. Also, I don’t think that the parentheses about the headphones and the divorce is necessary at this point. It disrupts the flow of the story. With regards to Lisa’s comments about whether teen siblings would be best friends, my older brother is my best friend, so it feels possible and realistic to me. This is not my usual choice of genres, but I was immediately attracted to Grayson’s voice and I would definitely keep reading. Nice job!

    I think the first paragraph of the query is unnecessary. Incorporate the aunt and uncle’s death into the first sentence of the second paragraph and start there. Also, I think you could clean up that sentence a bit by getting rid of Arizona and family-filled. I love the last paragraph of the query - it’s a beautiful summary of emotions we’ve all felt!


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)