Children’s and Young Adult Newsletter 2: June 2011

Upcoming for Submission
Middle Grade

For some fifth graders, getting turned into a zombie by a magical amulet would be bad. Very bad, in fact. For Nick Braithwaite and two monster-loving friends, it’s the chance of a lifetime. How many kids can hold their breath indefinitely, talk to ghosts, and frighten the school bully by pretending to be dead? It’s not even too bad when Nick starts to smell sort of funky and begins imagining how good his best friends’ brains would taste. But when his little finger falls into the mashed potatoes during an important family dinner, he realizes it’s time to return from the undead. Unfortunately, that turns out to be easier said than done, sending the boys on an adventure to grapple with a voodoo queen, a tuxedo wearing skeleton, and ultimately, the dangerous Zombie King himself. Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage is the first in a series of middle grade horror novels that combine equal amounts of laughs, chills, and gross out humor that will surely delight. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

After being transplanted from Ohio to Omaha, sixth grader Mitch McCarthy can’t seem to find a group of friends to hang with. Not even the losers want much to do with him. What’s worse, his F.A.C.S. (Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher has paired him with the school’s biggest dork–Romy St. John–for a major project due the week after Christmas break. The assignment is for the class teams to create a new business and then craft a Web site for it. Mitch and Romy decide on a design that will match students with their mythological counterparts. While doing some research, Mitch inadvertently places a bid on a unicorn being sold on eBay. Which would be fine and all if it didn’t turn out that the unicorn was actually real. And arriving at Romy’s house by UPS. And accompanied by a troll, a dryad, a brownie, and a fairy. Soon Mitch and Romy are up to their eyeballs in creatures they never believed existed. In an effort to get to the bottom of things, Mitch discovers the fabled Horn of Endar – from the first unicorn – and learns that the horn has chosen him to be its master. When faced by a deadly threat, the horn will transform into the mightiest of swords. But what Mitch is to do with the sword and how his assignment turns out is the focus of New York Times bestselling author Victoria Laurie‘s delightfully fun and suspenseful middle-grade adventure Myth Match. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

Upcoming for Submission
Young Adult

When Marybelle Lane woke from a vivid nightmare to find her father dead on her bedroom floor, she learned one thing: if she sleeps, those close to her will die. Doing everything in her power to stay awake has left her ragged and terrified. Though she feels bad lying to her mother and secreting away a stash of caffeine pills to keep her going, she knows that the alternative is much, much worse. When she does accidentally drift off, she dreams of three little girls singing a nursery rhyme about a young boy whose games trap girls in the world of dreams from which they can never escape. Haunted by the dreams and by images of her father calling to her from beyond death, Marybelle knows that something has to give. She’ll sacrifice anything: her health; her friends; her sanity, just to make sure that it isn’t her mother’s life. E.S. Moore‘s young adult, Little David Lost, is a deliciously macabre horror novel about a young woman haunted by the unseen and whose sanity is doubted by those closest to her. It’s a delightfully creepy, feel-bad debut. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. They do not return. And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret-some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Those are the rules to live by for seventeen-year-old Joss. But, Joss is also just a teenage girl with a mad crush on Dylan, the gorgeous bad boy who seems to be guarding his own set of secrets, and when she befriends the beautiful, fierce Kat, she realizes she can’t stay in the shadows forever. Turns out there are more Talents around her than Joss suspected and they are going to need to band together to resist the dark forces that want to suppress their gifts. Susan Bischoff‘s Hush Money, the first in the Talent Chronicles series is currently a Kindle bestseller. She is working on the next book in this dark, compelling and romantic series to which we will be offering publication rights. Please note, Jane Dystel is the agent on this project.

Alexa Brooks had it all figured out. Study hard, nail the extracurriculars, stay focused, and life would follow the carefully crafted plan. The plan that would always keep her away from heartthrob actor Cayden McKnight. Most girls would give anything just to see the guy in the flesh, but Alexa had plotted to never see a single film, interview or magazine cover. Because to Alexa, Cayden would always be Carson Knight, the boy she met at summer camp. The boy who quickly became her best friend. The boy that she so cruelly and publicly betrayed. An innocent-enough school assignment suddenly brings Cayden to the forefront of Alexa’s mind, and she soon discovers that her once-friend has turned into quite the Hollywood bad boy. Determined to somehow make things right, Alexa goes on a quest to remake Cayden’s image, doing good deeds in his name. But nothing is as it seems in Hollywood, and Alexa can’t break through to the Carson she once knew. Is it really too late to make amends? Debut novelist Heather Buchta‘s charming, endearing and oh-so-readable debut, Chasing After Knight, is contemporary commercial YA at its best. Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

Sixteen-year-old Brianna Taylor hasn’t come by her bad girl reputation or her star position on the Varsity cheerleading squad easily: It’s taken a lot of dedication and tormenting of classmates and teachers to overcome the obstacles that have stood in her way – obstacles like an absent father and a self-absorbed and absent mother, not to mention the converted laundry room in her sister’s house she calls home. Her partner in crime, Jules, isn’t the best influence, and when Bree tries to escape the truth of who she really is with a single, impulsive decision, her delicately crafted world comes crashing down around her, and Jules is the first one to jump ship. In Brianna on the Brink, Brianna finds herself lost, alone, and pregnant after a one-night-stand with her teacher’s husband (let’s just say it’s complicated). Just when she’s got nowhere left to turn, help arrives from the very person who is so closely connected to her big mistake, and Brianna will have to choose between clinging to the ledge of fear and abandonment–or jumping into the unknown where a second chance at hope might just be waiting. Like Sara Zarr did so well in Story of a Girl, debut author Nicole McInnes really nails Brianna’s difficult dilemma, and the reader is left with a sympathetic, realistic, three-dimensional character who is totally relatable and likable, even if her situation is unique and extreme. By the story’s end, you’ll be cheering for Bree and loving how she’s managed to slowly but steadily step away from the brink. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

Sylvie and Cassie have been best friends since they were five. Now sixteen, their bond is tested by their shared attraction for golden boy Kevin. Sylvie has considered Kevin her property since he stood up for her against a bully when they were both in grade school. She’s had a silent, raging crush on him all these years and is heartbroken when she realizes that Kevin is smitten with the suddenly beautiful Cassie, who blossomed physically over summer vacation while Sylvie remained the skinny art nerd she’s always been. Adding to the pain of seeing the boy she loves mooning over her best friend is the fact that Sylvie’s dad has moved out of the house, her mom is crying all the time, and she’s starting to have out of body experiences. When Cassie and Kevin become an item, Sylvie is devastated and enraged. She decides to use her increasing mastery of astral projection to follow Cassie around and undermine her relationship with Kevin. All the while, the indisputably hot Nelson sees through Sylvie’s bitterness and insecurity to the beautiful, vulnerable young woman underneath. But, in the midst of so much change she can’t control, Sylvie clings desperately to her longstanding love for Kevin, her anger at Cassie for growing beautiful and popular and deserting her, and her talent for astral projection which opens up the universe to her in way that is both intoxicating and dangerous. Just how dangerous she will come to know when she tries to use her gift to project herself into Cassie but finds herself trapped in Kevin’s body instead. Untethered by Katie Hayoz is a gorgeous coming-of-age novel narrated with perfect pitch by the intense, sensitive, and maddening Sylvie. It is the story of friendship, romantic awakening, and learning how to use one’s powers in a complicated world. Please note, Jane Dystel is the agent on this project.