NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 8th, 2017, 2:20 pm

If you'd like to have your query critiqued for the occasional Query Critique events, please paste your query in a post in this thread. Time permitting I'll use a random number generator to pick the query up for critique. Please limit this thread only to queries entries for critique on the blog.

Please also remember that there are separate forums for peer page, query, and synopsis critiques in case you'd like more instantaneous feedback. All non-query posts in this thread will be deleted.

Please only one entry per human.

Huzzah!

If your need for a page or query critique is more pressing, I am offering consultations!

SarahWrites
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by SarahWrites » April 11th, 2017, 4:19 pm

I am seeking representation for What Stars Are Made Of, a 28k word middle grade contemporary that will appeal to fans of R.J. Palacio and Gary Schmidt.

Libby (age twelve) has a rare genetic condition called Turner Syndrome. This means she was born with an oversized heart, has to take daily growth hormone shots, can never have kids, and can’t do the monkey bars very well. But it doesn’t mean she won’t get an A+ in biology or be a scientist when she grows up, like her latest unsung hero, astronomer Cecilia Payne.

Then Libby’s other hero--her big sister--comes to town with a gigantic surprise: she’s pregnant, and she’s staying with the family while her husband finishes basic training. Libby knows about all the things that can go wrong with a baby or a pregnancy (like miscarriages and genetic disorders and oversized hearts). So Libby makes a deal with the universe, and with Cecilia Payne Ph.D., who Libby knows is looking down and aware of what’s happening. She promises that she will do a favor for Cecilia, honoring her memory, if Cecilia will take care of things from the other side and make sure the new baby is born safe, healthy, and perfect. With an Apgar score of ten. (A+ in biology, see?) So maybe the favor turns out to be more difficult--much more difficult--than she thought. Libby won’t give up. She will do whatever it takes to keep this baby--and her sister--safe.

I have been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest.com. I also received an MFA from Brigham Young University. Like Libby I was born with Turner Syndrome. (The daily shots actually weren’t too bad.)

Thank you for your time and consideration

JenniferEaton
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by JenniferEaton » April 11th, 2017, 5:44 pm

Thanks for offering this, Nathan!


Dear {agent}
I saw on Reader's digest that you were looking for science fiction retellings. I'd love to introduce you to my YA Science fiction novel, CABLE.

What does it mean to be human?

Algebra, history, car repairs, and deciding who to ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance are enough to stress any teenage girl out. Add an explosion over her town and freakish metal parts with a mind of their own showing up in the family barn, and Mollie is up to her ears in weird.

When she and her father start assembling those parts, and their family togetherness project grows arms and legs, Mollie realizes they have more than a heap of rogue scrap metal on their hands. Soon their little secret becomes a big part of their lives, but government officials are searching the town and asking questions. Someone wants Mollie’s new android brother, and that someone might be the same person who blew him up in the first place.

The government doesn’t realize Cable is just a kid in the body of an android, and Mollie and her father will do everything in their power to protect him. However, the more they learn, the more they realize that the Army had an Armageddon-sized reason for blowing Cable up. After being reprogrammed by Mollie’s father, Cable isn’t the android he used to be, but with the fate of the world at stake, that might not be enough to save him.

Cable is a YA loose retelling of The Iron Man/Iron Giant with a touch of Pinocchio, because what highly-intelligent android wouldn’t want to be a real boy?

My three-book YA science fiction series, Fire in the Woods, is currently published by Month9Books in 2014, 2016, and 2017. I have spoken on local author panels and public television in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I have also traveled to New York to sign at BookCon. I spoke on a panel for diversity at NCSLAA (North Carolina School Library Association), and I just returned from the SE-YA Bookfest in Tennessee.

Thank you for your consideration.

RKeelan
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by RKeelan » April 11th, 2017, 10:30 pm

Dear [Agent],

Nathan is a slave for sale. It's a good situation, all things considered. He's well fed, gets plenty of rest. His work consists of talking to people who might buy him, but probably won't. Not if Nathan can help it.

His oldest friend is Celeste. She's either a deposed God or a voice inside his head. Either way, she's crazy. She's convinced she's got enemies, and has plans to deal with them. Plans involving Nathan.

Then Ruth buys him. That's a problem. She's young, lonely, and has no idea how to treat a slave. She confides in Nathan and shares meals with him. She asks his opinion and expects to hear it. She argues with him. It's scandalous.

Now Celeste is jealous. That's a bigger problem. She wants him to run away, but he won't go. Risk mutilation and death on the word of some voice in his head? Insanity. But Celeste is his oldest friend, and she's scared. He's got to do something.

Only, it might already be too late. Ruth's mother is coming back, and she's not going to approve of her daughter's new slave. Not her feelings for him, neither.

Even worse, Celeste really is a God, and she has a God's enemies.

IMMORTAL, a 100,000 word fantasy, is a standalone with series potential. It is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

kbarina113
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by kbarina113 » April 18th, 2017, 8:27 pm

Dear [Agent’s name]:

Two estranged brothers finally meet, only to discover that one must kill the other for the kingdom to survive.

After years with only swords and tomes as companions, seventeen-year-old Prince Vaeldhei finds his first true friend with the arrival of his surly half-brother, Mordred—a boy even more familiar with rejection and loneliness than Vael. However, an ancient prophecy haunts Mordred’s footsteps―he is destined to kill their father in a battle that will destroy Camelot. And Mordred’s sorceress mother, Morgan LeFay, will do anything to ensure that he fulfills his destiny.

Unlike the rest of the superstitious kingdom, Vael may not believe in fate’s power, but that means little to Mordred. Despite finding a kindred soul in his brother, Mordred sees no escape from his grim future or his vengeful mother. Though Vael vows to rewrite destiny, he’s not prepared for Morgan’s immense power or Mordred’s hesitancy to defy his mother. Desperate to overcome the sorceress’ manipulations, Vael resorts to enlisting Morgan’s alluring and mysterious former apprentice for aid—a risky move, especially since her loyalties are as conflicted as Mordred’s. If Vael cannot free Mordred from his mother’s twisted grasp, he will have to watch his father and Camelot fall or kill his only friend—his brother.

THE PENDRAGON’S SON is a standalone young adult Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 92,000 words. An excerpt from this manuscript received the Superior Award from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Creative Writing Contest and the ACSI Regional Creative Writing Festival. I was also chosen by Kelly Hopkins as an unofficial mentee in PitchWars 2016 with this novel. I am a Latina currently living in Pennsylvania with my husband, my reptiles, and my books.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

GJF
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by GJF » April 25th, 2017, 2:28 pm

Thanks, this is a great thread concept.
(I understand memoirs usually require proposals but a query is requested in the submission guidelines)

Dear Peter xxxx,

Outlined in the opening paragraph of your profile, your interest in controversial, out of the ordinary, provocative subjects, as well as authors that are not afraid to challenge the status quo is the understanding team member needed to help launch this project. As an independent person yourself, you will also appreciate the motivation behind this personalized voyage of a lifetime. Skin in the game decisions have challenged the formally educated throughout history and in order to survive, I too had to dig deep and unanchor innate survival skills in order to overrule the textbook rhetoric that merely seemed to want to rule over more than assist success driven efforts. This unique story encompasses some similarity in its lure as “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” (127 Hours), “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, “Into the Wild” and “The Last Lecture” to name a few.

September 9, 2000, a dive in the ocean leaves me floating face down unable to move until life peacefully fades to black. Most people can rationally fear the idea of drowning now combine that with the fear of breaking their neck and becoming a quadriplegic in the process. Not many however would ever consider firing the entire group of normally trusted and respected industries used to help live with the new unique set of conditions. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a wheelchair the rest of my life and this did not seem to be the main agenda of those assigned to my care. After a slowly drawn out, rocky relationship of what appeared to be people just wanting me to stay between the lines, lines they had drawn for me, I was left no choice but to fire them all in order to clear the way so that I could get to the hard work needed, putting together my own team of true health professionals, while setting out on a course to literally, get back on my feet. Today I am the most successful recovered quadriplegic in the world (until proven otherwise) and I did most of the recovery without insurance, doctors and drugs.

“Talk the Walk” is 90% complete at roughly 200,000 words and is ready to enter its own journey of professional editing and the selling of. While I have no other writing credits, I have an inspiring, thought provoking, and embarrassingly truthful unique journey that surely no other has lived. The project also sets the ground work for a few multimedia ideas that could expand on the controversial issues while also introducing a healthy dose of criticism to a Goliath set of multi-industry protocols.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. If you feel that we would not be a good fit, it would be greatly appreciated if you could refer a few other agents that you may think would be looking for a story of this nature.

Jerry

JBC
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by JBC » April 25th, 2017, 2:59 pm

Dear Ms. Bloom,

Stories that re-imagine or plug gaps in the historical record, and reveal the toggling between split selves (so enjoyably and poignantly done in The Royal We) have always appealed to me. When I found out about the group of Appalachian farm girls, who, unbeknownst to them, were essential elements in the creation of the atomic bomb, I applied to write a creative dissertation at the University of Tennessee. The result, my literary fiction novel A Unified Theory of Love, weds two interlocking narratives to produce an ardent quest for home and connection amidst the fallout of war.

The novel begins with a prologue set in 1943. 23 year-old Elizabeth—who had changed her name from Erzebet after fleeing Eastern Europe with her brother—is poised to enter Building 9731 at Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL) for the first time. A few months earlier, she had met Carter at a Harvard dance, married him, and relocated to his hometown, which became, nearly overnight, the newly-minted city of Oak Ridge, TN. Carter leaves to fight, and Elizabeth becomes obsessed with the mysterious science behind her work in the Lab, as well as with her young brother-in-law, as she tries to rehabilitate and re-inhabit herself after years of hiding and running.

Alternating chapters follow Conway, a failed physicist fixated on String Theory, who moves back to Oak Ridge during the 2004 Presidential Election. His steel-toed privacy has kept everyone at bay until he meets a young woman, Mauna, who challenges him to open his heart to unquantifiable love. As their relationship develops, Conway grapples with his sister’s death and the subsequent estrangement from his father, as well as the mysteries behind a cache of notebooks crammed with equations and a flower-topped ring he finds in his grandmother’s basement. What he discovers will change everything he thought he knew about his family, and will help him, and us, move closer to defining the "theory of everything."

With interest piqued by recent nonfiction bestseller The Girls of Atomic City, my novel appeals to readers of Appalachian and Southern literary fiction, the science-as-love stories of Andrea Barrett, and The Signature of All Things—Elizabeth Gilbert and I even overlapped for a semester in Knoxville. The completed manuscript is about 80,000 words. It received a semifinalist nod from the Faulkner competition and was a finalist for the Maurice Prize. I have published critical articles, poems, and a short story, and am co-owner of a writing and editorial company, Bloomsday Writing (www.bloomsdaywriting.com).

Thank you for your consideration,
Jessica

ELL354
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ELL354 » April 25th, 2017, 4:24 pm

Dear {agent's name}

THE GIRL WITH THE RED DEVIL HAND: A novel about that moment when a woman stops fighting the man she hates and begins fighting for all she loves.

Cora Jane Thomason is an outcast, and she's known it since she first understood that the port wine stain on her hand marked her as being in cahoots with the devil in the superstitious backwoods of 1856 Missouri. My novel chronicles Cora’s misfortunes, sacrifices, and victories—from the day her pa loses her in a card game, to becoming an unwilling wife, and then giving birth to a baby she’s not sure she’s worthy of raising. Through it all, Cora holds out hope for a better, stable life, but that dream dies when her scheming husband goes west to seek his fortune and loses their home, their source of income, and his life to a man named Wes Mendlebright.

When Cora can’t find respectable work, she decides to take ownership of her late husband’s western saloon—and while she’s there, plans to kill Mendlebright, a man who has the entire town running scared and under his control. But murder isn’t quite that simple, and in her quest for justice, sovereignty, and a life of her own, Cora ends up dressed as a man, in love with a barkeeper, and fighting for her daughter's life.

THE GIRL WITH THE RED DEVIL HAND, my 106,000 word historical women’s novel, is based on research I conducted on women who went west dressed as men, escaping their limited opportunities due to gender. It blends the historical detail of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS with a powerful woman in the vein of OLIVE KITTERIDGE. Readers who enjoyed Kathleen Grissom's book, THE KItCHEN HOUSE, would also enjoy this book.

I am a writer living in Texas, where I edit and write articles for an international trade magazine, and am writing your agency because of {XYZ}. Thank you for considering my work.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth

Feltenk
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Feltenk » April 29th, 2017, 12:10 pm

Dear (Agent's name)


Counting the Stars, a YA contemporary novel with speculative elements, is complete at 83,904 words.


16-year-old Lucy Andrews knows she's different. No one else fears the color red, secretly draws in bathroom stalls, or blames themselves for the world's problems. Fortunately the people who mean the most to Lucy accept her, quirkiness and all. But then her best friend Janice commits suicide and her father is in a car accident that leaves him in a coma.


Lucy is left with Janice's parents who notice her odd behaviors, worry that she'll hurt herself, and have her committed to a mental hospital. In the hospital, Lucy is given a drug which "cures" her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but destroys her creativity. She realizes she'd rather be so-called crazy than unimaginative.


Along with the help of her new artist friends, Lucy must destroy the drug before it is mass produced and prescribed to teens everywhere.



Thank you so much for taking the time, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Sincerely,


Kristy

nhlowrey
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by nhlowrey » May 8th, 2017, 8:17 pm

Thanks Nathan, I am enjoying reading your blog and getting lots of good tips. My draft query is below.

Dear [AGENT NAME]

On his deathbed, Laina’s father confesses a secret he has kept hidden all her life – the fabled city of Atlantis is real. Orphaned in a foreign country, Laina must decide if she and her little sister Fiona should stay in Mexico and be swallowed into an orphanage, or risk everything to pursue a life in a new, mysterious world.

Reckless to the core, Laina chooses to seek the impossible. The trail leads them beyond the shores of Belize to the Great Blue Hole, scuba diving down the dark, underwater abyss until a haunting figure of a merman appears and everything turns to black. They wake up in an Atlantian world filled with magical creatures, indescribable powers and... is that a catfish sucking on the wall?

Child authorities enroll the girls into Argamantus high school where humans are rare, Atlantians rule, boys suck, and a bit of sass can make you friends or lead you astray. But “fitting in” is the least of Laina’s worries, as a human illness leads to the quarantine of the whole school, and the trail to uncover her father’s past in Atlantis runs cold. Political tension bubbles beneath the surface and it is only a matter of time before the rebel force strikes.

When water dragons attack, Laina discovers she has the power to read animal minds - a power Atlantis has never seen. Laina must learn to control her power, or risk their lives.

My YA fantasy manuscript Beneath the Abyss is complete at 100,000 words and would appeal to readers of Richelle Mead.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

Nicole Lowrey
Last edited by nhlowrey on May 10th, 2017, 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

ELL354
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by ELL354 » May 9th, 2017, 2:52 pm

ELL354 wrote:
April 25th, 2017, 4:24 pm
Dear {agent's name}

THE GIRL WITH THE RED DEVIL HAND: A novel about that moment when a woman stops fighting the man she hates and begins fighting for all she loves.

Cora Jane Thomason is an outcast, and she's known it since she first understood that the port wine stain on her hand marked her as being in cahoots with the devil in the superstitious backwoods of 1856 Missouri. My novel chronicles Cora’s misfortunes, sacrifices, and victories—from the day her pa loses her in a card game, to becoming an unwilling wife, and then giving birth to a baby she’s not sure she’s worthy of raising. Through it all, Cora holds out hope for a better, stable life, but that dream dies when her scheming husband goes west to seek his fortune and loses their home, their source of income, and his life to a man named Wes Mendlebright.

When Cora can’t find respectable work, she decides to take ownership of her late husband’s western saloon—and while she’s there, plans to kill Mendlebright, a man who has the entire town running scared and under his control. But murder isn’t quite that simple, and in her quest for justice, sovereignty, and a life of her own, Cora ends up dressed as a man, in love with a barkeeper, and fighting for her daughter's life.

THE GIRL WITH THE RED DEVIL HAND, my 106,000 word historical women’s novel, is based on research I conducted on women who went west dressed as men, escaping their limited opportunities due to gender. It blends the historical detail of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS with a powerful woman in the vein of OLIVE KITTERIDGE. Readers who enjoyed Kathleen Grissom's book, THE KItCHEN HOUSE, would also enjoy this book.

I am a writer living in Texas, where I edit and write articles for an international trade magazine, and am writing your agency because of {XYZ}. Thank you for considering my work.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth

Tamara Baker
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Tamara Baker » May 10th, 2017, 8:31 am

Dear Ms. Bloom,

My name is Tamara Baker, and I've written a historical novel, Doctor of Physick, that takes place in two eras spaced five centuries apart. The plot is as follows:

In the Yorkshire of 1478, a group of witches and a former monk have been given a vision of the future under the coming Tudor usurpation: a future of witch-burnings, religious oppression, and general tyranny under a string of increasingly absolutist monarchs. There seems to be no way to avoid this bleak future... except for this:

In the Yorkshire of 2013, Kate Larson, an American pediatrician, on a historically-themed holiday after winning a big lottery jackpot, suddenly finds herself flung back to 1478, and into the company of the very historical figure whose lot she would have most wished to improve: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, destined to become the well-intentioned yet ill-starred King Richard III of England.

There are many obstacles in the way, and few people who she can trust. Still, she is a Doctor of Physick, and possesses a good number of other skills in the bargain...

Doctor of Physick is the first novel in what I hope will be an ongoing series featuring Kate Larson. It is my first fully-fledged historical novel, though it is equally at home in the speculative fiction genre and perhaps the young adult field as well.

My previous professional writing experience was as a staff writer for the audio magazine The Absolute Sound. This is my first novel.

I thank you for your kind consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Tamara Baker

abhinavnbhat
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by abhinavnbhat » May 11th, 2017, 5:19 am

Dear Mr/Ms [Agent Name]

Indira Ramsay has studied her entire teenage life for the day she would be recruited to the Reverend Council—the elite corps that runs the Ever Empire. Instead, it is her grandfather, Eldritch, who is inexplicably chosen, leaving Indira shattered and dejected.

The very next day, Eldritch has gone missing and the city is under attack. The exiled heroes of a hundred subjugated races have returned, and they will see the Empire burn. And Indira is among their first targets.

Marked for death as Eldritch's blood, she manages to survive her assailants and learn the truth of the enemy's schemes. They plan to have Eldritch use his newfound power and status to find the Empire's own hero, the man who defeated them centuries ago; they plan to have Eldritch kill him. And for some reason, Eldritch is willing.

The Empire. Above humanity. Above justice. Above all else. This is what Eldritch has taught her. She will live by it.

As the heroes incite riots in the city and stir the underclass to rebellion, Indira will prove herself worthy of the Empire and the validation she was denied. She will find and stop Eldritch from carrying out the enemy's plan, she will save the Empire at any cost.

Even if the cost be Eldritch himself.

THE BURNT STATE is a dual-POV adult fantasy novel about a girl and her grandfather, and the Empire that tilts on their decisions. It is complete at 113,000 words.

I have had a short story titled "Blah Blah Blah" published in Apex Magazine in 2016. I am a member of the Codex Writers' Group, an online community of neo-pro speculative fiction writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Abhinav Bhat

carrollteach
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by carrollteach » May 11th, 2017, 5:42 am

(Nathan, thanks for your invaluable blog and for the open call for query letters!)

Dear [Agent Name],

After discovering your passion for education, through your work as a teacher, literary agent, and [Company], I think you would be the perfect fit to represent my manuscript. DOG GONE DOG is a humorous middle grade detective adventure about a 12-year-old inventor.
Dewey “Mac” McClain is a desk-drumming, creative goofball. Through his love of science, and how cheap his mom is, he has learned to make inventions out of common items. After a former friend’s dog goes missing, Dewey decides to find the dog to repair the friendship. When partnered with loudmouth and overconfident Ched and Betty Bacon and feel like they have it solved until Betty’s dad is framed for the job. Now the three need to hurry and find the real thief, free Betty’s dad, and complete their school projects.
The manuscript contains two parts: a narrative section (30,000 words) and THE HAM DETECTIVE MANUAL (5,500 words). The Detective Manual contains simple step-by-step directions to build STEM gadgets from common or inexpensive items. No project is too hard or too expensive, so all children can enjoy, experiment, and learn.
In late 2015, 2,000 copies were printed through a partner publishing contract with Mascot Books. These were used to fulfill a Kickstarter campaign that was over 300% funded. The book was launched at World Maker Faire, where it was honored with an Editor’s Choice Award and an Educator’s Choice Award. Only a few hundred copies remain unsold. I have retained the rights to all content, characters, and artwork.
As a third grade teacher, I see many students who are currently disenchanted with reading because of a lack of initially appealing books. I also see many students who don’t realize how interesting STEM can be. I would love to team with you to help put DOG GONE DOG, A DEWEY MAC MAKER MYSTERY into children’s hands everywhere.

Sincerely,
Michael Carroll
www.deweymac.com

Wes
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Re: NEW - Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog

Post by Wes » May 11th, 2017, 4:13 pm

Emily Hopkins made sense. She had friends, family, and a future as she entered the final year of junior high. She knew what she wanted to be (a writer), where she would go for college (UC – Irvine), and who she wanted to date (Ben Trainor). She loved her parents (especially her father), her town, and her life.
Then her family moved from Irvine, CA to Walnut Grove, IL. Now, Emily tries to maneuver a new town, a new school, and a new life. No creative writing class. No friends. No Ben Trainor. Her dad works all the time and she never sees him.
One month after she moves, Emily’s life goes from bad to worse. Ella, her 8-year-old autistic sister, is stung by bees the night a toxic spill threatens the town.
Ella gains super powers she cannot control.
Emily is the only one who knows about Ella’s powers. And those powers quickly become a danger to Ella and those around her.
Emily’s life goes from worse to terrible when she realizes Ella is not the only one who gained super powers that night. Mrs. Johnson, the cat lady from down the street, becomes a Cat Lady and attacks their house. A high school student attacked by wolves becomes a Wolf Man and attacks a junior high assembly. Twin boys who pick on Ella at school turn into bear boys and attack the city’s Fall Festival.
Emily’s life goes from terrible to horrific when the government takes charge of Walnut Grove in the aftermath of the toxic spill. It claims everyone in the city is hallucinating about the attacks and needs to get a shot to stop the effects of the toxic gas. Emily knows they are covering up the attacks. She tries to talk to her dad about it only to learn he is involved with the cover up.
Emily must help Ella control her powers, resist the government, and save Walnut Grove, IL from the monsters that begin attacking the town. As she does, she begins to learn how to love her sister, experiences her first kiss from a boy, and loses the close relationship she had with her father.
The Rise of The Bee is a 45,000 word middle grade book. Though The Rise of The Bee is its own story, it compares to The Avengers/Marvel Universe type origin story, with a Stranger Things feel.

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