Hello Heather! Thanks for sharing your query! Here's my take on it.
Heather B wrote:
Magical creatures known as deathlings inhabit the earth; and humans, fearful of their powers and their close link with Death are left with one option for a normal life: eradicate them. It doesn’t matter that deathlings were human once – or that most of them still look human now. This is not the right place for this paragraph. Exposition isn't a bad thing, but QueryShark & Miss Snark, among others, suggest your first paragraph brings your MC forward immediately so we know whom this story concerns. Otherwise, we just can't relate or care.
Corvette O’Connor is outspoken, fierce and firmly on the side of humans. As the most popular person at her school she never considers turning to be an option – until it happens. This is not clear. By turning I suppose you mean turning into a deathling? Do people do it by choice? Why would they? What do they have to offer? Since we don't know what she could turn into or what the choice entails, it's difficult to care about her decision or to feel the shock when she actually turns On her seventeenth birthday she wakes as a banshee and suddenly her world shatters as quickly as glass when she screams. I don't know what a banshee is. Shattering like glass is also a clichéd metaphor, try to make your own or invent a new one that conveys the same message and that could convey a voice as well! She loses her golden popularity as her both her family and friends turn their back on her. Why do they turn their back on her? How did she end up turning in a banshee? Is that the reason? Again, the conflict you are setting up we can't relate to because we don't understand the stakes yet. Corvette is left with only the support of her best friend Liz who, despite the prejudice against deathlings, is able to overcome the shock of Corvette turning.
It’s not until Corvette gains the attention of Blaine, a strikingly handsome and seemingly dangerous deathling that she learns how to move between Life and Death – the place human’s souls go when they die. As a banshee, Corvette is expected to help with this transition but her inquisitive nature takes her on a more dangerous path. Too general. Since we still don't know what Banshees do or how they do it, I can't relate. She stumbles upon a pile of dead fairies, witnesses human’s becoming immortal and uncovers a plan to turn Life into Death. I don't know why you capitalize Life and Death. I suppose they're either names of people or life and death in general is so important to the people of this world that they capitalize it? I also don't understand what turning Life into Death means... a genocide? holocaust? It’s just as she's close to finding the one behind it all that Liz and Blaine go missing. Now Corvette has to choose between saving Blaine’s life or saving Liz’s soul.
A LIFE IN DEATH is my completed no need for comma 85,000 word young adult you can use the YA shortcut to streamline the flow a bit more fantasy novel set between the stages of Life and Death. It will appeal to fans of Richelle Mead’s strong, female protagonists, who have a subjective view of right and wrong and just about any fantasy reader that has, at some point, felt the crushing pressure of social rejection. Punctuation is out of whack here. I don't know Richelle Mead's work so I can't say if the comparison is accurate, but you should stop there. Whether your MC is a strong protagonist will be left for the agent to decide and subjective view of right and wrong is also very general and doesn't convey voice or originality.
<Insert personalisation here>
This isn't a bad query, but it needs work. You are too much in your head and you allude to things we can't possibly know or understand without some explaining.
-The link between Banshees and Deathlings is not clear, if there is any.
-You don't explain what a Deathling or a Banshee is exactly... sounds like a banshee is an angel and a deathling is a vampire from the vibe I got? You mention Banshee help in the transition to death, but not what their role is. Since we don't know what these creatures do (except that they're magical) we don't know or care
-The conflict appears to be Corvette's turning, but the stakes don't show up until much later when the sexy deathling and bestfriend disappear. Since we don't know why a family would frown on a Banshee, we don't really understand (therefore care) about Corvette's situation.
My suggestions would be to:
-Take out 1st paragraph, present Corvette immediatly
-In one sentence, explain the role of banshees and their links with deathlings
-There are flow and punctuation issues which you need to fix
You have a good premise and clearly your world building is solid! You just need some distance so you can better explain what your novel is about. As it is now there's too much that's unexplained and convoluted.
I hope this helps!