PW #217: YA Contemporary: GAME FACE

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Emily Martin
Mentee Name: Taryn Bashford
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 82,000


When a losing streak shakes her confidence, seventeen-year-old tennis pro Harper clings to something more certain—her sister’s ex. But training with rising star Colt becomes a game-changer, and Harper must let go of her emotional crutches or risk losing her sister, true love, and the US Open.


The dining room is where the ghosts and monsters play. That’s what Jacob said when we were five, necks curling around the half open door, our eyes blurting fright. On a dare, we’d tiptoe into the room, dash around the table then jump through the French windows into the garden, screaming with delighted terror. Twelve years on, it’s still my least favorite room in the house. Maybe that’s because it’s where the recent pep talks have taken place; the grandfather clock seems to count down the seconds to the end of life as I know it.

So when Dad and Coach Kominsky invite me to join them at the dining table, the cream-cushioned chairs imprinted with the bums of Jacob’s make-believe ghosts, I wrap my arms around my chest, respond with a brisk, “I’ll stay standing, thanks.”

“There’s not an easy way to say this Harper,” says ‘Killer’ Kominsky in his clipped Czech accent. He smoothes a hand over his perfectly round shaved head, no freckle or bump daring to blemish it. “So I just speak the words. It is time for me to move on. I do not believe you are good enough to make it to the top.”

The ground falls upwards. My chest squeezes.

I contemplate leaping out the window, but after all the sacrifices I’ve made—summers at the beach, friendships that held me together, even letting the bond with my sister crack—tennis is who I am. I have to change Kominsky’s mind.


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

Share This Post On


  1. I’m intrigued and would love to read more!


    Please send the full as an attached word document, with the pitch you used here pasted into the first page. Send it to


    Mandy Hubbard
    Emerald City Literary Agency
    (Formerly D4EO Literary)

    Post a Reply
  2. This sounds so intriguing! I would love to see the first 50 pages, sent as a Word attachment, to querycaitie(at)lizadawson(dot)com, with the words “#PitchWars request” in the subject and your query pasted in the body of the email!

    Post a Reply
  3. I’m not sure if you know, but I’ve been waiting for a tennis YA for AGES, so I’d LOVE to see more. If you’re interested at all, please send the first 50 pages (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: GAME FACE”. Thanks so much, Julia

    Post a Reply


  1. Pitch Wars Agent Round - Brenda Drake | Brenda Drake - […] PW #217: YA Contemporary: GAME FACE […]

Leave a Reply to Mandy Hubbard Cancel reply