PW #316: Young Adult Contemporary: FLORENCE LEARY’S THEORY OF FLIGHT

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Sonia Hartl
Mentee Name: Annette Christie
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 65,000


Outsmarting the airlines is the only thing getting Florence through senior year. When she uncovers a loophole that’ll give her elite status with a big airline, Florence has six weeks to amass the necessary points and grab that perfect first class salve for her loneliness. She just needs her guidance counselor, her neurotic parents, and that cute-in-a-weird-way guy to stop pulling her feet back down to the ground.


Sometimes home was a Boeing 757. Other times it was an old school Airbus. The type of craft was mostly inconsequential. The only thing that mattered was when Florence stepped over the gap between the jet bridge and the plane, she was buoyant. Free. Florence was gooooood. Goooooood with a buttload of extra o’s.

On hour twenty-one of travel, bone-aching fatigue was just around the corner. She avoided it by flicking from airport vignette to airport vignette as though LAX’s inhabitants were channels on her own personal television.

Florence slurped iced tea, chuckling as a nearby silver-haired fox teased his wife about the bodice-ripper she was reading. Florence downright guffawed at a three-year-old who was pointing to every stranger she saw, declaring with authority what kind of genitalia they had. Surrounded by flocks of tourists, most of whom the ghost of Walt Disney had gleefully vomited on, Florence never lacked for free entertainment.

Retrieving her phone from the hidden silk pocket of her clyde red typewriter bag, she checked the time. Five minutes until pre-boarding. Thirty-five minutes until the cabin doors would be locked. Approximately forty minutes until take-off.

Florence clicked her phone off and put it away, the idea of ascension melting through her brain like the sweetest meditation. Life was fine now. In approximately forty minutes, life would be really good again. Good with all those extra o’s.

Author: Nikki Roberti

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  1. I love the idea of hopping on a plane to escape the world! Please send the full manuscript (as well as a synopsis if you have one) to with “Pitch Wars: [YOUR TITLE]” as the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email. I look forward to reading!
    -Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS

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  2. So intrigued by a YA wanderlust story. Please send the first 50 pages of your manuscript attached as a Word doc with your query in the body of the email to queryjennifer[at]lizadawson[dot]com.

    Thank you!
    – Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, Liza Dawson Associates

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