Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Young Adult entries …
For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 3000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase.
AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the individual manuscript posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions.
PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you!
Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…
PW #300A Young Adult Mystery: THROWAWAY GIRLS
Pitch: Caroline’s the model prep school student—with a secret girlfriend she isn’t allowed to have and a second home in a rundown bar. But her plans to graduate and abandon her perfect persona derail when her wealthy best friend goes missing. As Caroline searches for the girl everyone wants to find, she uncovers a pattern of girls no one’s looking for. When she tracks their disappearances to her secret life, it leads to the brutal truth: she’s the link between them all. FAR FROM YOU meets DAMAGE DONE. READ MORE . . .
PW #300B: Young Adult Romantic Horror #ownvoices: YEAR OF BONE
In Bethel, where blood buys forgiveness, witches burn, and the prophet’s word is law, Immanuel knows the key to salvation is total conformity.
But when an undead witch reveals grim truths about the church, Immanuel’s faith is shaken. Torn between the witch’s plight and the prophet’s holy creed, Immanuel must team up with a devious apostle to save Bethel from the darkness within itself.
Feminist. Black girl horror. THE HANDMAID’S TALE meets BLOOD AND SALT. READ MORE . . .
PW #301: Young Adult Contemporary: WORDS LIKE BITTERSWEET
Pitch: Albert believes two things: Tolkien was the greatest writer ever, and Rosa Iverson is the girl for him. But romance is the last thing on Rosa’s mind. She’s pretty preoccupied with saving her gran’s bakery—one of the last African American businesses in the area. To succeed, she’ll have to win a prestigious culinary competition . . . and avoid falling for the shy, anxious boy who might be stealing her heart. ELEANOR & PARK meets WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. READ MORE . . .
PW #302: Young Adult Contemporary (speculative elements): HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Pitch: Elite snowboarder Ina Nilsen puts her Olympic dreams on the line for a chance to go back and prevent the school shooting that ended her best friend’s life. To succeed she’ll have to learn to forgive and truly care about those who’ve hurt her the most. THE HATE LIST meets BEFORE I FALL. READ MORE . . .
PW #303: Young Adult Contemporary: NOT QUITE GONE
Pitch: When their father vanishes at sea, seventeen-year-old Shannon and her sisters must uncover the mystery of his disappearance before their grieving mother withdraws completely and what’s left of the family shatters. Told in the sisters’ alternating points of view, with a mix of prose, verse, and forensic notes. READ MORE . . .
PW #304: Young Adult Contemporary #ownvoices: THE HEART THAT FOLLOWED ME HOME
Pitch: Orwell’s anxiety over being gay is exacerbated by his rare form of OCD. He’s convinced he’s too broken to be loved until HIV+ Dexter proves him wrong. But the shadowy figure manifested by Orwell’s crumbling mental state is appearing more often and, unsure where reality stops and his fears begin, Orwell must learn to face what he dreads most, or risk losing himself – and Dexter – forever. READ MORE . . .
PW #305: Young Adult Historical Urban Fantasy: THE HOUSE WITH TWO FACES
Pitch: In 1920s San Francisco, Paula Mendez performs street magic to support her foster sisters. When a severed witch’s head frames her for murder, Paula joins a magician’s crew to retrieve the still-warm body from their theater. If Paula fails, the witch will take her sisters’ heads—and Paula’s. READ MORE . . .
PW #306: Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy: STRIKE TWICE
Pitch: Abducted by space thieves, an exiled girl discovers that while she may not be the “chosen one” to save her planet, she has the power to persuade the one who can. FIREFLY meets UNDER THE NEVER SKY. READ MORE . . .
PW #307: Young Adult Contemporary (Jewish #ownvoices): TO BE MISREAD
Pitch: IRL, seventeen-year-old Halle is a bookworm with severe social anxiety. Online, she’s Kels, an anonymous book blogger with (almost) 10K followers. When a boy with a blog of his own shows up at her new school, she must reconcile her dual identities—because while she’s falling for him as Halle, he’s in love with Kels. READ MORE . . .
PW #308: Young Adult Contemporary: LIFE EXPECTANCY MAY VARY
Pitch: Hudson has the same disease that’s killing his brother. He believes suicide will save everyone more pain, but his sacrifice is interrupted by an equally suicidal girl. The strangers share one soul-baring night of firsts and lasts, leaving Hudson to decide: Is life with a deadline still worth living? MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES meets TEACH ME TO FORGET. READ MORE . . .
PW #309: Young Adult Speculative Fiction: NO MAN’S LAND
Pitch: Men have been extinct for a century, so when seventeen-year-old Aurelia Skylar finds a male prisoner trapped in her mother’s top-secret research laboratory, she’s stunned.
A good citizen would stay away, but she’s never been one, and the more they connect, the less he seems like the monsters from history class.
Soon she’ll have to choose—set him free and jeopardize her all-female utopia or condemn him to die.
FEVER CODE meets DELIRIUM with a HANDMAID’S TALE twist. READ MORE . . .
PW #310: Young Adult Contemporary: BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN
Pitch: For Chuck Wilson, Bigmouth’s Bowling Alley is the tacky family business that will fund her future in fashion design. But when her dad can’t afford Bigmouth’s rent, Chuck begins trading strikes for cash in the underground world of action bowling. With her former foe Beckett and his unofficial hustling guidebook, Chuck’s certain she can save the alley. Until San Francisco’s bowling kingpin threatens to toss their hustle—and their heads—down the gutter. READ MORE . . .
PW #311: Young Adult Humorous Suspense: YOUR SECRET’S NOT SAFE WITH ME
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Dora Lockhart isn’t being literal when she threatens via text to bury the babysitter. It’s just epically bad timing the babysitter gets murdered—with Dora’s fishing knife—ten minutes later. Now Dora must dispose of the body or face a murder charge.
So … the downstairs freezer seems about the right size.
“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” meets KILL THE BOY BAND. READ MORE . . .
PW #312: Young Adult Contemporary: THE STRAW MAN FALLACY
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Asher was raised from birth to be a white nationalist, but when his parents are arrested, a new life with his aunt forces a reckoning that can only end with one choice—allegiance to his charismatic father or abandoning everyone he’s ever loved. READ MORE . . .
PW #313: Young Adult Fantasy: FOR THE WOLF
Pitch: Plagued by frightening power she can’t control, Red is almost relieved to be sent as a sacrifice to the Wolf. But the magic she thought was a curse is the only thing that can save her kingdom—and the Wolf himself—from a growing evil beyond the Wood. READ MORE . . .
PW #314: Young Adult Southern Gothic #ownvoices (Bi): SHADY GROVE, MY LITTLE LOVE
Pitch: When her brother is arrested for murder, Shady must find her family’s ghost-raising fiddle to conjure the spirit who can prove his innocence. But the fiddle’s dark thrall threatens her own freedom, drawing her into the grief and nightmares that claimed her daddy’s life. READ MORE . . .
PW #315: Young Adult Historical Mystery: THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS
Pitch: When her drag queen best friend is accused of murder, a Jazz Age Veronica Mars must use her sharp wits and sharper tongue to search for the real killer in the seedy underbelly and glittering upper crust of 1931 New Orleans. READ MORE . . .
PW #316: Young Adult Dark Fantasy #ownvoices: WILLOW HILLS
Pitch: At dark, the gravestone statues in Willow Hills Cemetery come to life—including Gretta. Watcher of the dead, it’s her job to make sure her charge, the demanding, snarky spirit Quinn Rivera, crosses over and finds spiritual peace. But Quinn refuses to cross unless her brother learns the truth of her death, and the crippling bipolar depression that led her to shut him out beforehand. READ MORE . . .
PW #317: Young Adult LGBTQ Contemporary #ownvoices: TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T ALREADY KNOW
Pitch: Spencer’s a soccer star in training. He’s also transgender, but that doesn’t define him. When he’s benched because of the “F” on his birth certificate, he must choose between the safety of staying stealth and his right to play the beautiful game. READ MORE . . .
PW #318: Young Adult Fantasy (LGBT): THE DRAGONFLY PRINCE
Pitch: When exiled princess Shanna kidnaps prince Anzel to use his magic against a sentient plague, she’s forced to team up with his guard Drew to fight the tyrant controlling it. But magic has a dark cost, and if they can’t work together to help Anzel’s ability to see the future, they’ll not only lose their chance for redemption, they will start a war. READ MORE . . .
PW #319: Young Adult Historical: ENGINEERING KIT SINCLAIR
Pitch: MAD WICKED FOLLY in Victorian Glasgow
Unsatisfied with the prospect of marriage and death by embroidery, Kitty Kerr defies society’s expectations by posing as Mr. Kit Sinclair, Distillery Engineer. But Father threatens to merge the company–and her–with their arch enemy. Kitty must protect her secret identity and evade marriage, or risk losing her chance at independence. READ MORE . . .
PW #320: Young Adult Dark Fantasy: OUR SHATTERED MASKS
Pitch: CARAVAL meets THE CURSE WORKERS: Illusionist and con artist Lucia plans a never-before-completed heist –stealing the source of magic from the island of Estaralla. If she succeeds, she’ll be free of her debt to the Silverhands gang. But stealing the source won’t be the hard part. Surviving the murderous island will. READ MORE . . .
PW #321: Young Adult Contemporary w/ magical elements: IF THESE WINGS COULD FLY
Pitch: When fifty-thousand crows invade Auburn, PA, Leighton Barnes doesn’t find it strange. No stranger than her house, which heals itself whenever her stepdad breaks it, or her mom forgiving him, again. Leighton must find a way out before she faces her choice of heartbreaks: leave her sisters in the cycle of violence, or sacrifice her college dreams. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING with magic. READ MORE . . .
PW #322: Young Adult Chinese-inspired fantasy: A SWORD OF JADE AND FIRE
Pitch: Ahn is a thief who wants to save her family. Altan is an exiled prince who wants to avenge the family he lost.
When Ahn’s powers manifest, Altan realizes she’s the weapon he’s been searching for: someone who can steal life. With an army of priests hunting down those with magic, the pair are forced to work together, traveling across desert and sea to rescue her grandmother and prevent a war.
AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER meets SHADOW AND BONE. READ MORE . . .
PW #323: Young Adult Fantasy: HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE
Pitch: When Jani’s sister signs an unbreakable contract with a magical traveling hotel, Jani must save her from the ruthless maître d’hôtel, who puts the guests’ experience above all else, including the lives of his staff. CARAVAL meets DOWNTON ABBEY. READ MORE . . .
PW #324: Young Adult #ownvoices Fantasy: THE IMPOSTOR
Pitch: Carys Vaeta. Queen, ruler, Luminary—and dying of a rare disease.
Leo Vallerin. Refugee, ragamuffin, conman—and desperate to get home.
With Carys’s only cure dependent on finding her biological family, she offers riches beyond imagining for information, setting Leo up for his greatest con yet. Failure isn’t an option for either. But as secrets unravel, they’ll have to choose: loyalty or riches, lies or truth. Freedom or love. READ MORE . . .
PW #325: Young Adult West African Dark Fantasy: THE LAST WITCHDOCTOR
THREE DARK CROWNS meets STRANGE THE DREAMER.
Arrah fails at rituals.
She fails at reading bones.
She fails so much her witchdoctor mother conjures a better daughter, one whose power threatens to destroy everything in its path. Arrah trades years of her life to buy the magic she needs to defeat her demon-born sister.
She’ll do anything to stop her.
Even if it kills her.
PW #326: Young Adult Historical Fantasy: HAXAHAVEN
Pitch: After accidentally killing her predatory boss, seventeen-year-old seamstress Frances is taken to Haxahaven, a school for witches disguised as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Her strange magic thrusts her into a power-struggle between her secretive coven and a corrupt political organization. Frances manipulates both sides but must choose what matters more; the justice she craves for her murdered brother or the city’s safety. READ MORE . . .
PW #327: Young Adult Contemporary Speculative Fiction: GAMBIT OF MINDS
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Jake reads minds to win brutal cage fights, which taught him to trust no one. But when his brother is taken prisoner, he must decide if Ben, a taciturn young spy whose mind he can’t read, is trying to help him out—or sell him out.
And if betraying Ben to the enemy can save his brother, whether Jake will do the same.
THE GIFTED meets VICIOUS. READ MORE . . .
PW #328: Young Adult Contemporary with speculative elements: DECODING EMMA
Pitch: Prototype cyborg Delta has a hundred days to fit into human society undetected or be dismantled. To help, her creators have given her an AI based on the memories of a dead girl. When the AI turns on her and tries to sabotage their mission, Delta must discover how she was created and help the AI come to peace with it. Otherwise, neither she nor this last echo of the girl will survive. WESTWORLD meets WE WERE LIARS. READ MORE . . .
PW #329: Young Adult Gothic: HOUSE OF SKIN AND ASH
Pitch: Sylvie and her sister Claire died a century ago. They get second chances at life in modern-day Melbourne after Claire finds a way to possess the bodies of teenage girls. In her new skin, Sylvie falls for larger-than-life Amy, but Claire will stop at nothing to live forever with her sister. When the original owner of Sylvie’s body wants it back Sylvie must decide who is the real monster. IMAGINARY GIRLS meets THE LOVELY BONES. READ MORE . . .
PW #330: Young Adult Contemporary #ownvoices Puerto Rican-Korean: EMPTY GIFTS
Pitch: Blaming himself for his brother’s death, Tristan Sanchez drinks to forget and quits the soccer team. But if Tristan doesn’t pull it together, Mamá’s moving them back to Puerto Rico. One soccer tournament could turn things around. But the girlfriend Tristan shoved away is in danger and Tristan will have to bail on his chance at a scholarship to help her. It’s Mamá or Sarang—either way he’ll lose someone else he loves. READ MORE . . .
PW #331: Young Adult Contemporary: CRASH AND RIDE
Pitch: Sixteen-year-old Aveline lives on drum solos and adrenaline. But she also has to eat, and during her mother’s latest disappearance, the money runs out. When shoplifting lands her in foster care, Aveline meets Horatio, a foster teen who hasn’t spoken since he was six. The couple communicates through music, and they hatch a daring plan: steal a car to find Aveline’s missing mother in Mexico. READ MORE . . .
PW #332: Young Adult Thriller with supernatural elements: STALKING DEATH
Pitch: When seventeen-year-old Danielle Burke escaped her death, she became a Survivor: one of the few people able to kill the vengeful ghosts of serial killer victims. Now Dani must return home—the site of her own grisly near-murder—to face four dead girls and their killer in a case eerily similar to her own.
I HUNT KILLERS meets ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. READ MORE . . .
PW #333: Young Adult Speculative Thriller (LGBTQ): EARNEST INK
Pitch: 17-year-old trans boy Hemingway is hawking magical tattoos for high prices when NYC’s East River Ripper abducts his best friend. With only days to save her Hemingway chases clues to the serial killer’s identity but begins to fear the magic they share might eventually corrupt him too.
X-MEN meets VERONICA MARS. READ MORE . . .
PW #334: Young Adult Contemporary reimagining of the Bronte family: WALLOWING HEIGHTS
Pitch: When Afton Bell’s older sister’s book series gets cancelled, she’s hellbent on rallying fans through her booktube channel to save it. Problem is, her online identity is built on a lie: her fans don’t know her connection to the author and her sister doesn’t know she’s a booktube star. Raising support means risking her two worlds colliding. READ MORE . . .
PW #335: Young Adult Spy-Thriller #ownvoices: THE PRINCE OF PAWNS
Pitch: Wade Cannon is a sixteen-year-old chess prodigy straight outta Compton. All he wants is to win one more major chess tournament to become a grandmaster. If that takes him out of the hood, even better. Everything changes when the CIA shows up convinced he’s the next James Bond in Jordans.
In exchange for a ticket to The Prince of Pawns Tournament, Wade must stay one move ahead in a deadly new game when the CIA enrolls him in the same high school as a suspected teen terrorist. He’ll need help from Link, a wisecracking A.I. sidekick, to foil the best moves of an opposing prodigy in both chess and in a plot to assassinate the man who could be America’s next president.
An #ownvoices manuscript, THE PRINCE OF PAWNS can be described as STORMBREAKER meets WATCHDOGS 2. READ MORE . . .
PW #336: Young Adult Mystery #ownvoices: A STUDY IN BLUE
Pitch: Female Sherlock Holmes meets Riverdale. Polar opposites Skylar Holmes and Jane Watson team up to solve cases for their fellow students. But their high school investigations instead lead to a search for a killer. When they get too close to the truth, they land themselves on the murderer’s list of targets. In this deadly game of cat and mouse, whoever catches the other first wins—and lives. READ MORE . . .
PW #337: Young Adult Contemporary #ownvoices: ASTRONOMY IN REVERSE
Pitch: Penny’s determined autism won’t hold her back from majoring in astronomy at Harvard, but her plans implode when she’s rejected. Then her team loses the Science Bowl. Her mom suggests a safety school and (ugh) living at home. Worries about a future far from her BFF lead to a major fight. Senior year’s messier than Penny ever imagined as she struggles to find her place in a world that doesn’t always make sense to a girl on the spectrum. READ MORE . . .
PW #338: Young Adult Fantasy Adventure: CROSSBONE CROWN
Pitch: When the Pirate King dies without an heir, Csilla, a half-blind captain, and her all-girl crew must compete against seasoned pirates for a chance to become the first Pirate Queen and ruler of the islands. Facing crooked swords, an angry god, and dirty deals made amidst a deadly treasure hunt, she must remember the most important rule of all—never trust a pirate.
A gender-bent PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. READ MORE . . .
PW #339: Young Adult Dark Fantasy: SOMETHING WICKED
Pitch: When high school senior Lydia scores a job at a hotel claimed to be haunted by a witch hanged in 1660, she’s ready for ghostly encounters. What she’s not prepared for is being the final ingredient in a witch’s sinister ritual. READ MORE . . .
PW #340: Young Adult Central Asian Historical Fantasy: THE MAGICAL CONSTANT OF RICE
Pitch: ARABIAN NIGHTS meets THE WIZARD OF OZ
Sixteen-year-old Stana could be one of the greatest magicians on the medieval Silk Road if only she could tame her own magic. When an accidental sandstorm lands her in the lair of a centuries-old djinni, Stana must apply all her talent and cunning to rescue the cruel djinni’s victims and find her way back home. READ MORE . . .
PW #341: Young Adult Supernatural Western: THE RECKONING OF TWIGGS TALLOW
Pitch: Twiggs Tallow is an outlaw determined to live an honest life, but when her sweetheart is found hanging from a noose, she vows revenge. After dodging bounty hunters, facing tormented spirits, and surviving the winter, Twiggs thinks she’s seen the worst of the cursed mountain—until she meets the killer. Twiggs must choose to dispense frontier justice with her own hands and lose her chance at ever finding redemption. DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS meets VENGEANCE ROAD. READ MORE . . .
PW #342: Young Adult Magical Realism: FLIP ISLAND
Pitch: When seventeen-year-old Jaxson wakes from a coma convinced he spent four days fighting to survive in a magical place called Flip Island, he questions his sanity. But Jaxson is certain Flip Island is home to a teenaged serial killer, intent on destroying his teen captives. Jaxson risks a medically induced coma to find his way back to the island and save the others before they become the next victims. READ MORE . . .
PW #343: Young Adult Fantasy: SHADOWS OF SIN CITY
Pitch: After waking naked in the middle of Las Vegas, a shadow-shifter nearly loses control of his murderous other half: a bloodthirsty silhouette. Estranged from his deceitful family and thrust into a supernatural underground crime ring, Rocco must conquer his shadow before it consumes him—and butchers all he holds dear. READ MORE . . .
PW #344: Young Adult Alternate History Fantasy (LGBTQ, #ownvoices): THE FEVER KING
Pitch: After viral magic kills Noam’s father and infects him with technopathy, his new abilities capture the attention of a dangerously powerful general. Noam agrees to join his elite military unit—but he’s not interested in playing tin soldier. Not for the same government that slapped him with cyberterrorism charges, that tried to deport his undocumented parents and let the virus kill thousands of refugees.
Instead, he’ll infiltrate high command.
He’ll betray the boy he loves.
He’ll become the villain.
SHADOW AND BONE meets Antifa.
PW #345: Young Adult Science Fiction: ALL OF US STARS
Pitch: FIREFLY meets Mindee Arnett’s AVALON. Space pirate Solitude Pierce only wants to find her missing sister. But when a corrupt senator blackmails her misfit crew into recovering a secret weapon, she’s forced to make an agonizing choice—rebel alongside her crewmates or forever lose her sister. That is, if the senator’s deadly contingency plan doesn’t kill Sol first. READ MORE . . .
PW #346: Young Adult Contemporary: GOOD GAME, CARTER HASTINGS
Pitch: 17yo Carter loves golf more than drumming… probably. With no girls’ golf team at her new school, she joins the boys’, eager for an athletic scholarship. But when Carter’s musical ex returns, she must decide if her new team—and adorable co-captain—has her heart, or if music lives in her veins. READ MORE . . .
PW #347: Young Adult Contemporary Romance: SHE’S A HURRICANE
Pitch: After seventeen-year-old Flare kidnaps her brother from their abusive parents, she becomes a master at lying to everyone about everything. Because lies keep Flare and her brother safe—from nosey landlords, teachers, the police, and even Gage, her roommate.
Held captive by guilt, eighteen-year-old Gage is fighting to stay clean. So, no more drugs, no one-night-stands, and absolutely, no falling in love. Not even with a girl who’s as strong as a hurricane.
PW #348: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery: I KILLED BRENDA MORRIS
Pitch: Jana Lee didn’t mean to kill Brenda. Yes, she crafted a poison during chemistry and yes, she slipped it into Brenda’s drink at the party Saturday night, but she wasn’t supposed to die. Or was she? Now with a murder investigation narrowing in on her and friends exposing secrets she thought were long-buried, things in Jana’s life couldn’t be going much worse.
Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying. READ MORE . . .
PW #349: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy: EYE OF THE GODS
Pitch: High school is tough, especially for Andrea, a descendant of the goddess, Aphrodite. But when her ancient family demands her help to return to the mortal realm, Andrea is forced to choose: help the Greek gods and risk losing the boy she loves, or stand against them and suffer their wrath. READ MORE . . .
PW #350: Young Adult Contemporary: CHASING THE LIGHT
Pitch: Bekah’s future in her Evangelical community is set. After homeschool graduation, she’ll become a submissive wife and stay-at-home mother. Yet when her estranged aunt, a feminist boy (her forbidden crush!), and a brave woman from Bangladesh offer Bekah a glimpse of the outside world, she’s inspired to secretly pursue college. But breaking free of the patriarchy means shattering the only world she knows and tearing apart the people she loves. READ MORE . . .
PW #351: Young Adult Contemporary Suspense: CHASING JOHN SMITH
Pitch: For years, brothers Cole and Jack, under orders from their obsessed father, have had one purpose: catch their mother’s murderer. Molded into warriors and forbidden to have personal relationships, the boys are strangers to normal—something Cole, a defiant son but loyal big brother, wants desperately to change. And Jack, always an obedient soldier, starts thinking for himself for the first time when he experiences feelings for a cute boy at school. But as they struggle with trading their fake identities for their true selves, the brothers fear that in their hunt to catch a killer, they could lose their lives, or worse, each other. Told through dual POV, it’s Supernatural meets I Hunt Killers. READ MORE . . .
PW #352: Young Adult Nigerian Fantasy (Ownvoices): BLOOD SCION
Scion. Descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.
Scion. Hunted for over three centuries.
Scion. What Sloane is.
To uncover what really happened the night Momma disappeared, Sloane becomes a child soldier in the queen’s army.
She’ll do anything to learn the truth.
Even if it means hiding her identity from soldiers trained to kill people like her.
Even if it means becoming the monster the military wants.
West-African inspired EMBER IN THE ASHES meets #ChildrenNotSoldiers movement.
PW #353: Young Adult Thriller #ownvoices Muslim: THE SILENT SEA
Pitch: Two young Muslim women. Two battles for survival. One epic escape.
When sixteen-year-old Nayla, kidnapped by sex traffickers in Istanbul, and seventeen-year-old Husna, picked up by pirates while fleeing war-torn Syria, cross paths on the Mediterranean, their only hope for survival is each other. AN UNTAMED STATE meets REFUGEE. READ MORE . . .
PW #354: Young Adult Contempory #ownvoices: BECAUSE YOU’RE ON THE SPECTRUM
Pitch: ASD teens Jean and Jeff learn together what it means to have a friendship and blossoming romance while being ‘on the spectrum.’ An ableist grandma, online bullying, and meltdowns are challenging enough, but neither could’ve predicted the bombshell Jeff’s parents drop. Epistolary style. READ MORE . . .
PW #355: Young Adult Science Fiction #ownvoices: ALL THOSE WHO WANDER
Pitch: WANT meets TIMELESS: Bree Lu is hired by her aunt to hunt time-traveling criminals, but catching them triggers missing memories. Haunted by recollections of growing up with them—from one who might be her brother to a bionic-armed boy she called her best friend—Bree must uncover her identity in the criminal city outside time, or risk choosing the wrong side in a war against everyone she loves. READ MORE . . .
PW #356: Young Adult Fantasy #ownvoices: DUSK BEFORE DAWN
Pitch: EMBER IN THE ASHES meets CARAVAL in African-myth inspired fantasy. To save his sister’s life, teen refugee Malik enters a magical competition to gain the trust of the princess he must kill – not knowing Princess Karina plans to sacrifice the winner to resurrect her dead mother. READ MORE . . .
PW #357: Young Adult Southern Gothic: THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES
Pitch: In Meadowview, bones whisper secrets, lightning conducts magic, and a murderous Shadow stalks the woods. When sixteen-year-old Fern discovers the Shadow is the key to her mother’s mysterious, traumatic past, she must harness the lightning—braving the threshold between life and death—to defeat the Shadow forever. READ MORE . . .
PW #358: Young Adult Fantasy: BEYOND UNCHARTED SKIES
Pitch: Jazz-Age INDIANA JONES for fans of SHADES OF MAGIC.
With the help of her miniature dragon, Karina – aviator and smuggler – races infamous gangs across a war-torn world to an enchanted map that could return her to her world… or destroy this one.
PW #359: Young Adult High Fantasy: THE HUNGERING DARK
Pitch: Malary Cynerius is no stranger to the dark. As heir to her clan’s power, she must complete a murderous initiation to awaken the darkness within–but the power isn’t limitless, it’s bottomless, consuming her from the inside out. She escapes her prison of a home, but to protect herself in the outside world, she must control her life-stealing touch or lose herself to the hungering dark. READ MORE . . .
PW #360: Young Adult Middle Eastern Fantasy: KINGS OF SAND AND STARLIGHT
Falling in love with the young sultan was the last thing Soukaina expected when she agreed to be his sorcery tutor.
But when the sultan is kidnapped by jinn, only Soukaina—a Veil-walker who can traverse the worlds of jinn—can rescue him.
If she can follow his kidnappers into a bloody war among jinn princes.
If she can conquer her deepest fears before it’s too late.
If falling in love with him was not a mistake.
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN meets SABRIEL.
PW #361: Young Adult Fantasy: DARK AND BOUNDLESS
The Living Book needs blood to survive. Queen’s blood.
When her sister is slain on the border of the Ashlands, an exiled princess must bind herself to the Book, or face her kingdom’s destruction. But before her coronation, she insists on traveling to the treacherous heart of the Ashlands to confront the mystery clouding the queen’s assassination.
Except the only guide available into the Ashlands is the Ash Bandit accused of killing her sister.
DARK AND BOUNDLESS will appeal to fans of Uprooted, Spindle Fire, and Juliet Marillier.
PW #362: Young Adult Contemporary: (NOT QUITE) THE SAME OLD SONG
Pitch: Darcy’s life is all sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Except she’s just had to pawn her guitar, the drugs are her brother’s problem, and she’s afraid the boy she’s dating—the pawnshop owner’s son—is embarrassed to be seen with a fat girl. But when an opportunity to win money for her brother’s rehab arises, she can’t let those things sway her confidence. READ MORE . . .
PW #363: Young Adult Fantasy: SLEIGHT OF HEART
Pitch: When foster kid Ava joins a troop of traveling magicians, she discovers they aren’t magicians at all but harvesters collecting the purest magic on Earth—applause. But Ava’s not their only apprentice, and if she wants to keep her newfound family, she’d better impress them with the show of her life…in a wicked, magic-fueled citadel with no trick blades or rubber bullets. READ MORE . . .
PW #364: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy: OF SERPENTS AND STARS
Pitch: Dancing for the vile French Troll King’s masquerade balls is all seventeen-year-old Azea knows until Luc, a charismatic stranger, arrives with a secret: there’s a way to defeat the King. To free those who dance in chains, Azea must burn the remnants of her haunted past and embrace the part of herself she’s always feared, or risk losing Luc—and herself—forever. READ MORE . . .
PW #365: Young Adult Contemporary: DEAR HUMAN BOY
Pitch: THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS meets THIRTEEN REASONS WHY
When Ellie loses her notebook of secret letters, her mystery pen-pal insists they meet. But when she gets there, Ellie isn’t alone. She and seven others are trapped by the only boy she’s ever confided in. Armed with a gun and tools for revenge, he shares exactly how they hurt him. And what he plans to do about it. READ MORE . . .
PW #366: Young Adult Chinese fantasy (reimagining) #ownvoices: THIS MOTH WILL NOT BURN
Pitch: When sixteen-year-old thief Mo stabs a runaway witch-princess, she’s cursed to wear her face. To break the curse, Mo braves the unfamiliar world of witchcraft where she must survive the assassin hunting the princess—and equally dangerous, her own desire for power.
A Mulan and Swan Lake reimagining. READ MORE . . .
PW #367: Young Adult Supernatural: THE OTHER SIDE OF NORMAL
Pitch: Dead Jewish teen comes back to life to become her school’s first plus-sized homecoming queen. But the competition against her ex-best friend risks damning her soul. READ MORE . . .
PW #368: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery: FISTS, LIES, AND ALIBIS
Pitch: Flora Calhoun’s crush is dead. Determined to find the killer, Flora uncovers a seedy, underground fight club that implicates everyone in school from the star running back to the shy girl in her math class. As Flora gets closer to the truth, she’s forced to make an impossible choice: find justice for the murdered girl, or stop digging before anyone else gets hurt. READ MORE . . .
PW #369: Young Adult Contemporary: A HEAVY DOSE OF ALLISON TANDY
Everyone knows a story like this…
Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy and girl live happily-ever-after.
This isn’t one of those stories.
More like, boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl breaks boy’s heart, and then her own when she crashes her car into a tree and doesn’t wake up. The end.
Or is it?
This humorous novel about letting go, moving on, and growing up is perfect for fans of HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME and GOODBYE DAYS.
PW #370: Young Adult Contemporary: SWEET PEE
Pitch: Comics enthusiast/ Type 1 Diabetic Lizzie Logan has always played wingwoman to her popular best friend, Viv. When both girls fall for the new boy, Lizzie must choose between friendship and finally getting the guy, or risk losing both. READ MORE . . .
PW #371: Young Adult Contemporary #ownvoices: THE EDGE
Seventeen-year-old rising rock star Gabe Giordano is off his bipolar meds. Screw sanity.
He’s done listening to his dad. Screw that mobster bastard.
And Gabe’s not gonna let the mafia force a girl to hook outside his gig. Hell, screw the whole mob.
Tormented by the secret of his family’s first million, Gabe goes on a redemptive mission to free the mob’s trafficked kids. But it may cost him his freedom and musical dreams—or even his life.
PW #372: Young Adult Diverse YA Fantasy: SORROW’S HEIR
ANASTASIA meets SIX OF CROWS.
With only one foot and a bottle of stolen memories to her name, Ria Prevast has no chance of escaping Krasia’s frozen wasteland. Not until she meets Zev Rozik and his crew of criminals.
Rumors claim one princess survived the guns of the Krasik revolution. Zev has come to find her. And now Ria will become her.
But Zev is not the only one after the heir.
And Ria is not the only one who’s lying.
PW #373: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery: IN WITH THE VIOLETS
Pitch: When 17yo Viola escapes her kidnappers, there’s no happy family reunion. She’s suffering amnesia and doesn’t recognise her parents, brother, or their grand Scottish estate. As pieces of her memory fall into place, they don’t align with the life she now knows, and Viola must solve her own disappearance before her attackers’ next strike. READ MORE . . .
PW #374: Young Adult Contemporary: LUCY COUNTING STARS
Pitch: After teen artist suicides rock a small town, Lucy is sent to a sinister mental hospital where they believe creativity causes mental illness. She’s force-fed an experimental drug which “cures” her OCD but threatens to unmake everything she is. READ MORE . . .
PW #375: Young Adult Contemporary: VERY CAREFULLY AND NOT ALL AT ONCE
Pitch: Geeky Thea just wants to nab her crush and get her driver’s license, but a hot new guy’s arrival is going to make her junior year more complicated than explaining emotions to a Vulcan. READ MORE . . .
PW #376: Young Adult Contemporary, #ownvoices: GREEN LIGHTS
Welcome to Sayer Academy’s exclusive end-of-the-year cruise trip.
A chance for new-girl Natalie Cheng to escape the wounds of her father’s tragic death, and for the dazzling Jazz Gatling to party with the boy she loves.
But when the cruise’s accident leaves half the students dead, only they know the truth. Refusing to talk, the girls band together—their survival is everything now.
Gender-bent, diverse GREAT GATSBY meets GOSSIP GIRL.
PW #377: Young Adult Contemporary, #ownvoices: THE ART OF INSANITY
Pitch: Natalie didn’t plan to be alive for senior year. Now, she’ll do anything to keep her suicide attempt and bipolar diagnosis a secret, even complying with the blackmail demands of an eccentric sophomore. But with an art scholarship, her prized reputation, and the perfect guy on the line, convincing everyone she’s not crazy might cost Natalie her own sanity. WHEN WE COLLIDED meets IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY in this humorous #ownvoices novel. READ MORE . . .
PW #378: Young Adult Contemporary #ownvoices: IXORA DRIVE
Pitch: The loser who said it was better to have loved and lost, never got publicly rejected by Amir Chandra – and definitely not in front of the gossipy community of Maderine Bay, Tobago.
If heart-break and humiliation taught seventeen-year-old Reyna anything, it was to steer clear of the handsome boys next-door. But when Amir returns to Tobago, Reyna will learn there are times to play it safe, and times to risk it all. READ MORE . . .
PW #379: Young Adult Fantasy: LA DAME BLANCHE
Pitch: For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things—a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife, and a wicked scar. Lou’s death could end the ancient war between the Church and witches, but when she falls in love with one of the Church’s huntsmen, she’s forced to choose: her coven or her heart. READ MORE . . .
PW #380: Young Adult LGBTQ Fantasy: THE GATE OF ORION
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old ex-slave Damascus is desperate to go home, but first he must survive his Graduation from a deadly academy of magic and murder. When he discovers the location of an ancient gate to the other worlds, he believes his Graduation is guaranteed – but finding the Gate of Orion may cost him his last chance for freedom. RED RISING meets MASS EFFECT. READ MORE . . .
PW #381: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy: THE SCRAPPY RASCALS AND THE GREAT APOCALYPTIC RACE
Pitch: The world is ending and an eccentric prince is holding a race. The prize? A starship powerful enough to escape the apocalypse. Captain Rei Luu-Kaida and her crew of scrappy misfits must outrun and outfox the deadly competition. But when they discover the contest is something far more sinister, it’s up to them, the underdogs of the Territories, to save their world in this genderswapped MAD MAX meets China Mieville’s RAILSEA. READ MORE . . .
PW #382: Young Adult Backpacking Space Opera: SANCTUARY MOON
Pitch: She packs her tent, her boots, her shape-shifting lantern.
Ava sneaks out of her utopian colony to help Dex, a refugee desperate to reach a distant sanctuary. Ava once dreamed of hiking this wild planet, of surveying the alien beasts, but real life is no safari adventure. Both travelers are being trailed–Dex by the labor camp he escaped and Ava by the memories of a friend she left behind.
INTERSTELLAR meets THE NEVERENDING STORY. READ MORE . . .