Query Review: Please Don’t Tell

Sixteen-year old, Sophie Gerrard only had eyes for one guy, Peter Watson. She had planned to use their families’ yearly vacation to the Caribbean to tell him how she felt. But when he arrives from London with a girlfriend and his cousin, Ethan Chapman, her plans quickly change. I would just do some tweaking in here, to try and tighten up. She planned to tell him how she felt during their families’ yearly vacation to the Caribbean.  But when Peter arrives from London with a girlfriend and his British cousin Ethan, her plans quickly change.”  Also, maybe include some mention about how her feelings were secret?  Since the theme of secrets seems to run through the novel, you might want to start us off understanding that Sophie keeps things close to the vest.

Disgusted by how this vacation has turned out, she agrees to go island hopping with Ethan, in order to keep clear of Peter and his newfound love. You’ve got an opening here for a line describing Peter and his girlfriend from Sophie’s POV – basically, an opportunity to show some more of your voice.  Just something to consider. However, when their dingy capsizes, Sophie and Ethan are forced to swim to a desolate island. Hours at the mall Sophie could handle, hours baking in the sun is a whole other ball game. (I think this is one of my favorite lines in the query.) And it’s not like she planned to spill her secrets-but insanity sets in. In the few hours it takes for help to arrive, Sophie ends up spilling all her secrets to Ethan-including the fact that she likes her Sunday through Monday undies and how she kissed her best friend’s boyfriend.  I’m a boy, so I’m not exactly sure about the Sunday through Monday undies bit (but it makes me think her undies are labeled with the day of the week on them, which seems potentially awkward).  This part right here becomes the focus of your book – it’s the incident that pushes everything else forward.  Can you raise the stakes a bit more – we need to know that the information Ethan has is VERY detrimental to her life.  Can you tie it into his later interest in her arch-enemy?  Or the other people in her life?

Once saved, she tries to forget about all the things she revealed. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the Londoner again, right? Except that Sophie’s mom decides Ethan should stay with them while he does a student exchange programa a semester abroad. While Sophie ordinarily wouldn’t normally object to a handsome foreigner living in the room down the hall, this one knows all her most embarrassing secretsshe just wants the next six months to go by fast, before he blurts out all her embarrassing secrets. To make matters worse, she starts to fall for him, but he’s only interested in her arch-enemy. Does he know anything about the arch-enemy?  I might reword this to something like “By the time she realizes she’s falling for him, he’s moved on to her arch-enemy.” Knowing that Ethan can ruin her junior year with one slip, she becomes obsessed with one thought: Please Don’t Tell!

I am seeking representation for my YA Romance, Please Don’t Tell, which is complete at 55,000 words. I am an active member of the YALITCHAT community.
Initial thoughts:
I like the tone in this query.  It’s fun and slightly tongue in cheek.  I think you’ve got everything you need already there in the query, it’s just about paring it down a little bit and playing a little bit with word choice.  I read this aloud a couple of times, and there were a couple parts that I kept stumbling over.   So just try reading them over a few times, and see how it sounds.
I think you just need some tweaking and a little more clarity, and this will be a very solid query. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Query Review: Please Don’t Tell

  1. Scott-

    Thanks so much for taking the time out to read this one. I’m glad you seemed to like it. Yes, Sunday thru Monday undies have the words etched on them. HA! FYI: More comfortable than thongs. 🙂 I will most definitely make those changes that you suggested.
    Can’t wait to read your book!
    Thanks again,
    Kelly Mooney

  2. Are you kidding? I love you for your review:) I couldn’t believe when Anna came out, I had already written mine. I still can’t believe that you thought of this book when reading my query. So thanks. That was a fantabulous book!
    Looking forward to your release!

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