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PW #305: Young Adult Historical Urban Fantasy: THE HOUSE WITH TWO FACES

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Laurie Dennison

Mentee Name: Adelle Yeung


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Historical Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 86,000 words


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.


Polino specialized in bringing his headless dove back to life.

In the center of Union Square, the young magician raised his bird’s detached head for all to see. The small crowd gasped and cracked uncertain smiles. They huddled to ward off the chilly fog and soften the shock of decapitation. Polino grinned; he had everything under control.

“You see,” Polino called out, “anyone can harm a helpless animal. However! Only a magnificent magician can reverse such a butchering!”

Polino fluttered a silk handkerchief over Merlin’s head and the wooden box containing the rest of the ring-necked dove. His twiddling fingers illustrated life coursing back into Merlin’s body. He froze and put a finger to his lips, hushing the audience. A few gulped.

With one last dramatic flourish, Polino swept the handkerchief away to reveal the unharmed Merlin, his gray wings spread as if to say, “Ta-dah!

The onlookers erupted into applause. Women in cloche hats sighed in relief and delight. Men in fedoras and bowlers nodded at Polino as they dropped spare change in the magician’s newsboy cap. Polino beamed and bowed at the bystanders.

His smile faded at the sight of the dame in the periwinkle coat. She never tipped or clapped.

For the past week, she had watched Polino perform, her rose-kissed lips curled into a perpetually pleasant smile. It wasn’t condescending, nor was it overly amused. It was knowing.

After all, she was the only one in the audience who knew Polino’s greatest illusion: he was actually a girl.


Filed: PW Entries

  • Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Hi Adelle!

    I’d love to see the full!!! So excited to read the edited version of this! Please send pages and synopsis http://QueryMe.Online/KaitlynJohnson/Contests with PitchWars in the referral box. Looking forward to the read!

  • Leon Husock says:

    I would love to read more of this! Please send me a query, the full manuscript, and a one-sentence description of the basic premise at leon@lperkinsagency.com. Thanks!

  • Hillary Jacobson says:

    Adelle, I love your voice and this idea! I’d love to read more. Please send the full manuscript as a word document to hjacobson@icmpartners.com. Thank you!!

  • Quressa Robinson says:

    I am originally from San Francisco so this caught my eye immediately! I can’t wait to read the rest. I may not be the only agent here at Nelson Literary Agency who wants to read your amazing work! If that is the case, please send just one email to query@nelsonagency.com with PITCH WARS UPLOAD in the subject line. We will reply with our upload instructions, and then all the interested NLA agents will read and consider your manuscript. Thank you!”

  • Amelia Appel says:

    Hi Adelle! This sounds so fun – I would love to review the full manuscript! Please email a query letter with a full synopsis and the manuscript attached to amelia@triadaus.com, and please include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Thanks so much!

  • Roseanne Wells says:

    I love this, and I’d love to read more! Please use the guidelines on jdlit.com to send 100pp (instead of the normal 20), and include #Pitchwars in the subject line. I can’t wait to dive in!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  • Straight out of my MSWL! I’d love to see more! Please submit your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to https://querymanager.com/query/inklings_whitley/PitchWars. I can’t wait to dive in!

  • Christa Heschke says:

    Ooo creepy and historical?! I’d love to read on! Please send a query, first 50 pages and synopsis to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com and put the title and Pitch Wars request in the subject line.
    –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  • Adelle, this sounds amazing! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com. Please also include your query letter in the body of the email, and Pitch Wars in the subject line.

    I look forward to reading!


    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

  • Lucy Cleland says:

    Adelle, this. looks. stellar. I would LOVE a chance to read the full–if you’re interested in sharing it with me, please send it my way attached to an email (subject line PitchWars + your name /title) to lucy@kwlit.com and include your query and synopsis. I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat in the meantime… !!!


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