PW #363: Young Adult Contemporary: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Manuscript Status: Six Weeks, Maximum

Mentor: Dionne McCulloch & Fiona McLaren
Mentee: Megan Peterson
Category/Genre: Young AdultContemporary
Word Count: 72,000


17-year-old Piper isn’t just the beloved daughter of a freak show family; she also wants to be its main attraction. When she’s kidnapped and held prisoner by a woman who insists Piper call her “Mom,” her world shifts. Imagined and repressed memories surface and she must untangle them or risk never finding her family again. But the only thing worse than never going home is the fear she may already be there. WE WERE LIARS meets LIVING DEAD GIRL.


A bed.

A window seat.

A chipped desk with daisy stickers on the drawers.

These things belonged to me, I’m told.

“Belong,” the woman emphasizes. “You chose the daisy stickers yourself.”

She takes me from the room and down a hallway, the walls so close they want to crush me. She wears all beige and not a stitch of make-up. She’s probably in a religious cult that thinks only whores wear color. My bladder aches, and I can’t remember the last time I peed. Her shoes squeak against the floor, her skirt rustles. My ears ring from the roar of it all.

The woman pushes open a door. “Go on in.” The white walls and floor blind me, and I blink until my eyes adjust. “I’ll leave you alone. There are clean towels in the cabinet and soap in the shower. Use whatever you like. This is your bathroom now.”

She looks at me expectantly.

Finally, the door closes, and the click echoes around the room. The urine soaks through my pants before I can get to the toilet.

I stick out my middle finger, make sure whoever’s watching can see it.

Mom told me this might happen. “The world can be an evil place,” she said. “I’m the only one you can trust. Me and your father. Never forget that.”


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. This is a really intriguing start – I’d love to read on further. Please send your query and first 3 chapters my way, to joan at – thanks!

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  2. I’ve been haunted by LIVING DEAD GIRL for YEARS. SO I’d love to read more of this! Please send me the full as an attached word doc, to Thanks! -M

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  3. Hi Megan,

    I’m so intrigued by 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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  4. Hiya – I’d love to read more. Could you send the query and a full to JennL at AndreaBrownLit dot com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line?



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  5. 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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  6. Oooohh!!! Eerie!!! I’d love it if you could send me the first 50 pages at! As a Word doc/docx or PDF would be fine. Please also include a query and make sure you mention #PitchWars in the subject line.


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  7. I would love to see this! Please include the query and synopsis in the body of the email, attach the manuscript, and send to with Subject line “Pitch Wars Request: NO PLACE LIKE HOME.” Thanks!

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