PW #252: YA Contemporary: LONG SLEEVE LOVE

 Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status:  2 week delivery

Mentor Name:  Kate Karyus Quinn and Mindy McGinnis
Mentee Name: Jim O’Donnell
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 78,000



Cassy’s an overachieving cheerleader pursuing perfection. Chris’s a brilliant, black, bisexual quarterback searching for acceptance. Gwen’s a heroin addict. When the three upper-middle-class seventeen-year-olds use each other to attain their goals, they endure overdoses, arrests, and assaults. If they don’t seek the help they need, they risk losing everything, including their lives.


I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe. Repeat. I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe. Repeat. I’m flying. I’m falling. I’m safe.

Five, four, three, two, up. Scorpion. Hold.

Wind brushes my cheeks, pushing the black tips of my hair back to blonde roots. Otherwise, I’m a statue, swaying only slightly from the heaves of exhausted boys beneath me.

The crowd claps, cheers, thinking we’re done. The bass creeps in under their feet, quieting their hands. Now I’m a metronome, the boys hold my left heel and thigh, ratcheting side to side. Lawrence positions himself behind me. The tick and tock of my inverted-pendulum increases in speed and violence as the bass picks up the tempo.

The bass cuts. I freeze. Lawrence ducks, grabs the wraps on my ankles. I fall to the left, keep the scorpion, now upside down, only my hair betraying the pose when Lawrence jerks up for the toss.

I’m flying.

The treble kicks in, slicing through the humid, late-summer air, touching me at the peak of the toss. There’s very little I love more than being this high.

I catch a glimpse of the team beneath me. Brooklyn’s a blur of crimson and black, bending through her sixth, seventh, or – I don’t know – thirteenth flip. Melissa’s doing a floor routine that’d make Olympians’ jaws drop, and she’s doing it on an abrasive, poly-something-or-nother track. All the talent below me, and still, I know everyone’s eyes are glued to me.

I won’t lie – I love it.


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. This sounds great! 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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    • The writing in the excerpt here is lovely! I would love to see more of this. 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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  2. I’m really into this juxtaposition of characters, and so curious to see how they relate to each other. Could I see the full ms as a PDF, please, sent to, with Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line and the query in the body of the email? Thank you!

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  3. I love the description of your characters and your writing! This feels fresh, and I’d love to read 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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  4. This sounds fantastic! I’d love to read alongside 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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  5. Hi Jim

    I’m keen to read this – could you send me the full MS as a Word doc and if possible, an expanded synopsis (ideally 500-700 words)? claire at rhaliterary dot com.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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  6. I’d love to see this! 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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