PW #112: MG Contemporary: ALAN KIM IS NOT A COWARD (…RIGHT?)

Pitchwars Badge (Square MG)Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Joy McCullough-Carranza
Mentee Name: Eric Bell
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 51,000


Twelve-year-old Alan can’t stop thinking about the boy across the cafeteria. When Alan’s brother Nathan discovers Alan’s crush, Nathan proposes they play another round of Kim vs. Kim, a game of nearly impossible tasks—and if Alan loses, Nathan will out him to the whole school. But hey, no pressure, right?


A guy’s life can basically be summed up by two things: how much Silly Putty he’s eaten, and who made him eat it. There are charts and diagrams to calculate your Level of Wussdom based on whether you ate Silly Putty, say, because you were lazy and you didn’t feel like walking to the fridge to get an apple or something, or because your older brother tackled you to the floor and force-fed you leathery, glumpy globs.

Let’s just say my older brother’s introduced my stomach to so many new varieties of random objects, my Wussdom Level is literally off the charts.

In the end, isn’t that all you need to know about me? On my tombstone they’ll carve, Here Lies Alan Kim. Ate A Metric Ton Of Silly Putty. His Poop Was Spongy And Could Stick To Walls. What else is there to even say after that?

“Hey, Alan,” Zack Kimble says at the Unstable Table, adjusting the stuffed snake tied around his neck. “Why do they call it a fork?”

Well…maybe there’s a little more to say. That’s not exactly what I had in mind, but sure, why not.

“It’s funny.” Zack holds his plastic fork to the light like he’s waiting for it to sprout wings and dance the cha-cha. “You know how some things have names that fit them, right? Like, an orange is called an orange because it’s orange. Why is it called a fork?”


Author: Nikki Roberti

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  1. This seems like it might read as FLIPPED meets a Brooks Benjamin novel, which is to say that I am so, so in. I’d love to read it! 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.

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  2. You know, I would never have guessed that a first page that included the line “His Poop Was Spongey and Could Stick To Walls” would grab me… but I really dig this! The voice is pitch perfect. I would love to see more. Please send a query and the first 100 pages as a Word doc attachment to, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line of the email. Thanks – I’m looking forward to reading on!

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  3. I absolutely love this! Please send the first 100 pages as a Word doc attachment to, with the subject line “Pitch Wars Request.” Thank you and I look forward to reading more!

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  4. I’d like to see this. Please send the manuscript with a query letter (MS Word preferred, PDF okay) to carlie @ with the subject PITCH WARS REQUEST: Title of work.

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  5. Oh my god, that epitaph … love the voice and love the plot synopsis. Please do send me the full ms as a word attachment (with PitchWars in the subject line) to I can’t wait to read!

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  6. Loving the voice, definitely want to take a look at this. Please send a query + the full MS to leon@lperkinsagency, along with a one-sentence description of your book.

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  7. Oh, yes! I’d love to read. Please send the full ms attached as a Word doc to with “Query, Pete Knapp – PitchWars” in the subject. Can’t wait to read!

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  8. Hi Eric

    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!

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  9. From the first line I was drawn in! I’d love to take a look at this. Please send the first 100 pages to Word attachments are great. I can’t wait to check it out!

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  10. I’d love to take a look! Please send the first 50 pages and a one-page synopsis as an attachment to with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line and the query in the body.

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  11. This is wonderfully quirky! Consider me intrigued. Please email me your query with “Pitch Wars Request” included in the subject line and the first 50 pages attached as a word doc. Thanks!

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  12. I adore this voice–could be a funnier MG Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Love everything about this already. Could you please send the full ms as a PDF to, with Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line, and the query in the body of the email, please? I can’t wait to read this!

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    • I don’t know who you wrote this for but you helped a brohter out.

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  13. HERE! HERE! Forget about all those other requests! They don’t want to read this as badly as I do. Not really. So I beg you to send your full manuscript (as a .doc) along with your query letter and a short synopsis (pasted in the body of the email) to submissions(at)jaw-litagent(dot)com with the subject line “Pitch Wars request: ALAN KIM IS NOT A COWARD (…RIGHT?)”. Thanks so much, Julia

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  14. I’d love to read this full manuscript! Please send it attached as a word document to:



    Rena Rossner

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  15. This is perfection. Eric, please send me a query letter and the entire MS ASAP so I can just fangirl all over it. The address is Thanks!

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  16. 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. Thanks!

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  17. There’s stellar voice in this opening. I’d love to see more! Please send the query and full ms as a .doc or .docx file to LBiagi at jvnla dot com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

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  18. I’d love to take a look! Please send the full manuscript, a query and synopsis to chquery[at]mcintoshandotis[dot]com. Please put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.


    Christa Heschke
    McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

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  19. I’d love to see this! Please send query (in the body of the email) with synopsis and full manuscript (attached as Word documents). Please send those to ESubmissions at Thank you–can’t wait to read more!

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  20. PFFFFT NO OVER HERE!! I’m the one who wants to read this the most! Please send the query + synopsis + full manuscript in one word doc to MFsubmissions[at] with “PitchWars Request – Alan Kim Is Not A Coward (…Right?)” as the subject. I can’t wait to take a look!

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  21. I’m real happy for Eric. He deserves it. Congratulations. May you have more in the future. Happy Holidays. Hope to be back in the Spring & Summer.
    Deborah Worstall

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