PW #216: YA Contemporary: ALL HAPPY FAMILIES

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Marieke Nijkamp
Mentee Name: Erin Foster Hartley
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 61,000



Sixteen-year-old drag queen Alexander and his half-siblings travel to South America in search of their biological father—a movie star who auctioned his sperm before going into seclusion. But while Alexander hopes his video of the trip will make him internet-famous, his brother is hatching a sinister plan to make sure they never return home.


Mr. Gillespie has enormous pores and a weird cleft in his chin, but he’s the school’s only gay teacher and I can’t stop obsessing over him like he’s freaking Bradley Cooper—even now when I have bigger things to worry about.

Across the desk from us, Principal Grimes shifts in her seat. “I don’t think I’m being unreasonable, Alexander. Surely you understand that a teenage boy playing a transgender rock star in the school musical would raise more than a few eyebrows.”

“We’re not afraid to be provocative,” I say.

Grimes fingers the script in front of her and sighs like I just stomped on her chest. “There’s a fine line between provocative and vulgar. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about six miles east of that line. I’m sorry, but that’s my final answer.”

“We still have plenty of other options,” Mr. Gillespie says. “Jesus Christ Superstar. Or Chicago, even.”

But I don’t want to play hippie disco Jesus or Richard Gere. I want to do drag. When I told him this last week, he said I was brave. So why is he being such a Judas now?

“Could I play Roxie Hart?” I ask.

They exchange a look. “What about Cats?” Grimes says. “You’d make a wonderful Mr. Mistoffelees.”

I stifle a shudder. “I’ll, uh… take that into consideration.”


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