PW #255: YA Contemporary with Magical Realism: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOAN

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status:  1 Month

Mentor Name:  Kate Karyus Quinn and Mindy McGinnis
Mentee Name: Kamerhe Lane
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary with Magical Realism
Word Count: 80,000


When Joan commits suicide, she’s saved by Jesus. A Jesus who wears T-shirts and takes His own name in vain. He tells Joan to record a gospel of new truths. But in Joan’s fundamentalist family, truth is hard to tell. Like the truth about the girl she loves. Or about an attack on a transgender student. Or—worst of all—what Pastor Wells does in the name of God. Telling could destroy Joan, but nobody says no to Jesus.


Jesus told me to write this down. He said that’s sort of the whole point.

I don’t know how this works. I never really thought about Matthew or Mark actually writing something down with pen and paper or chisel and stone or whatever. But I guess they must have.

I kept a diary once for three weeks. He said this may take longer. When I asked what exactly this is, He just looked at me, kinda sly-like.

Who knew Jesus could be sly?

But then who knew Jesus at all? Like, personally.

I was on the bathroom floor when I first saw Him. I remember thinking the little birds in the patterned wallpaper never looked so predatory. From this vantage point, cheek sticky and pasted to the linoleum, the fat one appeared to be stalking the smaller one, biding time until it could pounce.

Then He was there. On the floor beside the toilet. Looking right at me. From the second I saw Him, I knew who He was. Still groggy from the drugs and the blood loss, I blinked to be sure—you know, in case something was in my eye, like a messiah-shaped piece of lint.

His gaze sparkled, delving deep. I felt naked. Not like that. More like an infant being held.

He said, “You’re going to die.”


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. That’s a pretty suspenseful closing line. I’d be delighted to read this. 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. Wow, I’m fascinated by this one – I have to know where the story goes from here! 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. How fresh and original! 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)

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  4. I’d love to take a look! Please send the full manuscript 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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  5. I’m intrigued! Would love to read more. Please send a full manuscript and synopsis (mentioning Pitch Wars in the subject line) to Thanks!

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  6. This is intriguing. I’d like to see more. Please send the manuscript and a query letter to carlie @ (MS Word preferred, PDF okay) with the subject PITCH WARS REQUEST: Title of work. Thanks!

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  7. You have quite the premise! I love how bold it is. 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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  8. I’d like to see more! Please send a query + the full MS to leon@lperkinsagency (with Pitch Wars in the subject line), along with a one-sentence description of your book.

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  9. 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. Thank you!

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  10. I’m definitely intrigued! 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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