PW #230: YA Contemporary: SURVIVING HOPE

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentee: Eliza Knightly
Mentor: Nikki Roberti
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 84,000


Abandoned by her schizophrenic mother, sixteen-year-old Corrine is sent to a group home for troubled teens. When she meets a runaway named Dean, she sees her chance for escape. But running away means leaving everything behind—including her opportunity to prove she’s not just another system-made statistic. Orange is the New Black meets Eleanor and Park.


He had blue hair.

The new boy was flanked by two police officers who’d cuffed his hands behind his back. He wore a distorted grin and shook his head as he walked into the front hall. It was as if he were mildly amused at his misfortune, like a distracted person who’d accidentally burnt their morning toast again.

The cops steered him into the office for the ritual check-in-strip-down. He was out of sightlines now, so I couldn’t spy on him from my solitary seat in the quiet commons. It didn’t matter. I knew what they were doing in there. You couldn’t come into Hope House without being patted down. They’d make the blue boy take off his muddy sneakers and blue track jacket that matched his hair. Then they’d search his pockets and sleeves with their rough hands. If he’d had long hair, like me, they would’ve sifted their fingers through that too. The cops didn’t want any illegal substances or sharp objects brought into the group home under their watch.

I remained curled-up with a book on the ratty couch, the dirty fish tank bubbling softly behind me. The ugly fish had seen this all before too and floated, unconcerned amongst the plastic seaweed.

Clearly the administration thought this guy was trouble-—not everyone gets a police escort to the group home—but I knew instantly that he was more troubled than trouble.


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

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  1. I have been telling everyone that I am dying to see a YA ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK!!! 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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  2. Very nice opening. I’d like to see more of this! Please send the first 50 pages to as a Word doc, and be sure to put Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

    Melissa Nasson, Esq.
    Associate Agent
    Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC

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  3. This sounds fantastic! I’d love to read along with Suzie at New Leaf. Please also send the full ms as an attachment to query(at) and include “Pitch Wars Request for Jackie” in the subject line. Thank you!

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  4. Yes, please! Sounds great. Please send the first 25 pages, query and synopsis to chquery[at]mcintoshandotis[dot]com and put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.

    Christa Heschke
    McIntosh & Otis, Inc

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