PW #310: Young Adult Speculative Historical Fiction: SASSAFRAS ROAD

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Jenni L. Walsh
Mentee Name: Sarah Van Goethem
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Speculative Historical Fiction
Word Count: 75,000


In 1924, four-year-old Ada Mae Baker vanishes from Sassafras Road and into the year 2000. Twelve years later, at sixteen, she stumbles upon Sassafras Road, where she falls through time to 1936 and into her stolen life, unlocking memories and secrets long forgotten.


Sassafras Road isn’t on the map. And yet it stretches before me, a curving gravel snake, peppered with flooded potholes. Marking its existence, a faded, wood road sign juts from the weeds at a crooked angle, the handwritten letters weak and shaky, as if unsure of themselves.

Dana’s unsure too. My best friend sighs, pulls her cell phone through the car’s open window, and rubs droplets off the screen with her sleeve. “No reception. You sure this road isn’t on the map?”

“Yep.” At least not on the map my ever-practical father shoved into my bag before Dana and I left for our tour of Lambert College—and that map is brand new, 2012 stamped right on it.

Dana’s eyes narrow. “Did you actually check?”

The windshield wipers shriek against the glass.

She knows me too well, that I’m in no hurry to get home. All that awaits me there are inquisitive parents, ready to pounce.

Pick a school, Ada Mae. Pick a future. Pick something, anything.

But I can’t. Not yet. Not without knowing my past. I squint into the fog. Freshly grown spring weeds poke out of the ditch banks, tangled and flattened by the storm winds. The storm that forced us off the highway and into the backcountry, where the trees soar high in the sky, whispering secrets of bygone days.

I trace my finger over the foggy passenger window, copying the road sign’s letters. Sassafras. A road worth marking, but not on a map. What mysteries could be waiting, hidden in the fog?

Author: Nikki Roberti

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  1. I love this. Excited to read more. Please send the full manuscript to Suzie at newleafliterary dot com with the query pasted into the first page and REQUESTED PITCH WARS in the subject line. Thanks!

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  2. Dear Sarah,
    Could you please send the manuscript as a Word attachment to me at submissions at Stonesong dot com?
    Emmanuelle Morgen

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  3. This is so intriguing! I’m curious to read on further – please send me your query and first 3 chapters, to joan at!

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  4. I love this and cannot wait to read your story!. Please send the full manuscript as a word attachment to, place “Pitch Wars” the TITLE and YA in the subject line. Include your query in the body of the email. Looking forward to reading your story.

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  5. This is such a cool, weird premise! I definitely want to see where this story goes. Please send your full manuscript to as a Word attachment, along with your query and a synopsis (if available) with “PITCH WARS: SASSAFRAS ROAD” in the subject of your email. Thanks!

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  6. I would love to see more of this! Please send a query (in the body of the email) plus the first 50 pages as a Word doc attachment to, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” and the title in the subject line.

    Looking forward to reading!

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  7. I’d like to see more! Please send 50 pages to with query, and please include “Pitch Wars – Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line.

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  8. I love this idea–and your writing is great! I’d love to see the full manuscript. Please send it + query + synopsis to LBiagi (at) jvnla (dot) com, with Pitch Wars in the subject line. Excited to read!

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  9. Hi Sarah,

    Ohh I am so into this! Can you please send the complete manuscript – as either a Word Doc or PDF – to victoria.queries@irenegoodman,com with “pitchwars” somewhere in the subject line!

    Thank you so much!


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  10. I’d love to read! Please feel free to send the query + full manuscript (as a word doc) to w/PitchWars in the subject line. Thank you!

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  11. This premise is really intriguing! Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc or PDF with your query in the body of the email to, and be sure to put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.


    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

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  12. I love the premise – and anything historical is my sweet spot! Please send the full manuscript as a Word document with “YA: (title)” as the subject line to amy (at) aplusbworks (dot) com. Thank you!

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  13. I’d love take a look at the full manuscript. Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
    Andrea Somberg
    Harvey Klinger Inc.

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  14. I’m intrigued!! Please feel free to send the first 30 pages along with query, synopsis and chapter summaries to nicole [at] goldenwheatliterary [dot] com.



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