PW #116: MG Contemporary Fantasy: THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN

Pitchwars Badge (Square MG)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Lee Gjertsen Malone
Mentee Name:
Jennifer Ray
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 41,000 words


While visiting historic Mirror Lake, eleven-year-old Brooke meets Elizabeth, a mysterious girl living a century earlier. When Elizabeth becomes dangerously ill, an unexpected connection is revealed and Brooke must find a way to change the past – or risk her own future.


Free at last! The words from that Martin Luther King video they made us watch every year in school echoed inside my head as I jumped down the porch steps, the screen door banging behind me.

“One hour, Brooke!” Mom yelled from inside. “I mean it. No disappearing.”

“I know,” I called over my shoulder.

A flash of pink made me look up and I immediately wished I hadn’t. Sophie stared back at me from our bedroom window, her nose squashed against the glass. Besides the pink tutu, she still wore last night’s pajama top, and her hair stuck out in all directions like a crazed porcupine. Our eyes locked and I whirled around, almost crashing into Dad, who was hauling the last of the luggage up the front walk.

“Whoa, where are you off to?” he asked, reaching over to steady the bag of golf clubs he’d balanced on top of my sister’s Minnie Mouse suitcase.

“Just for a walk. Mom said it was okay.”

Dad’s thick brows pulled together and I shifted my weight, praying he wasn’t about to ask me to take Sophie. I’d already maxed out on family togetherness, and the last thing I needed was Princess Peculiar sticking to me like dryer lint.

“Okay,” he finally answered. “But I want you to settle in before dinner, so don’t lose track of time. Are you wearing a watch?”

“No, but I can hear the clock tower. I won’t be late.” I darted a quick glance back at the house, but the window was empty now.


8 comments to PW #116: MG Contemporary Fantasy: THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN

  • I love the closing lines of dialogue. I wonder if Brooke really won’t be late for dinner, or if something interesting might happen along the way. Please send the full manuscript as a Microsoft word doc, along with your query letter (pasted in the body of the message), to brent (at) Put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.

  • Amy Jameson

    Well, I’m intrigued. I can tell you’ve got a great sense of voice, even from this small sample. Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc to query(at) with “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line. Look forward to reading!

  • Claire Anderson-Wheeler

    Hi Jennifer

    This looks great and I’d love to see more. Could you send me a detailed synopsis (500-700 words would be wonderful) together with the full MS as a Word doc to claire at rhaliterary dot com?

    Good luck!

  • Bridget Smith

    I’d love to take a look! Please send the full manuscript and a one-page synopsis as an attachment to with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line and the query in the body.

  • Rena Rossner

    I’d love to read more of this! Please send the first 50 pages attached as a word document to:



    Rena Rossner

  • Stefanie Lieberman

    I’d like to read more! Please send the first 50 pages in Word format and a query letter to, and include “Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line of the email.Thank you!

  • Moe Ferrara

    I love this and definitely want to see more. Please send the query + synopsis + First 50 pages (I know the question always asked — you can go to the end of a chapter, but no more than 60 pages!) in one word doc to MFsubmissions[at] with “PitchWars Request – THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN” as the subject. I can’t wait to take a look!

  • Melissa Nasson

    Hi, Jennifer- I’m very intrigued, and I’d love to see more of this. Please send the first 50 pages to as a Word doc, and be sure to put Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

    Melissa Nasson, Esq.
    Associate Agent
    Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC

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