The Love You Take, YA Contemporary

Name: Daniel Alemán

Genre: YA Contemporary

Title: The Love You Take

Word Count: 81,000

Themes: LGBT (#ownvoices)

 

Your 35-Word Pitch:

When a hate crime ends in a tragic death, Chris must prove he and his boyfriend were not to blame for what happened.

 

First 500 words:

NOW

By the time I’m given a voice to tell my story, it’s already too late.

A red light blinks on the tape recorder, but the room is filled with nothing but silence. In the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of how ironic it is that now that someone is willing to listen, I can’t speak. Even though I’ve finally been given the voice I fought so badly to obtain, I can’t use it. Even though it’s all right there — all the fear, all the pain, so close to the surface that it’s clogging up my airway — I can’t let it out.

“Maybe we could do this another time,” the author says, shifting in her seat. She reaches for the tape recorder, but I gesture her to stop.

She lifts her eyebrows, staring at me through her glasses without blinking. I look up at her hair, which was the first thing I noticed when she arrived. It’s shoulder length, dry as straw. The half that is closer to her head is light gray. The bottom half is blond. I wonder when and why she made the decision to stop dyeing it. Maybe she woke up one morning and decided to stop pretending to be someone she’s not. Maybe she chose to welcome the gray hair like an old friend she hadn’t seen in a while. After all, I don’t think anyone could deny that gray hair is a privilege — a sign that you have lived.

I meet her eyes and find kindness in them, which reminds me of the reason why I agreed to this in the first place. It wasn’t because of her fancy journalism degree or because she’s a bestselling author. What helped me make up my mind in the end was that she had kind eyes, even in the pictures of her I found on the Internet.

“Why don’t we start with something a bit more simple?” she says. “Could you tell me a little about the town where you grew up?”

When I don’t answer, she leans forward in her chair. “Chris,” she says, “I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to revisit the past. But I know you have a story that deserves to be told.” Even though her voice is soft, there’s a hint of desperation hidden somewhere. I can’t blame her for it — not when she traveled hundreds of miles only to come sit in front of a mute man. “If you tell me your story, I can help you share it with the rest of the world.”

I take a deep breath that makes me feel as though I’ve taken all the air from the room. “All right,” I say finally. I don’t really know where the words are coming from, but it doesn’t really matter. I just let them escape my mouth without thinking. “I’ll tell you my story.”

 

THEN

I was sixteen years old the fall that my parents finally decided to buy a microwave.

“My own mother never had a microwave in her kitchen, and she managed just fine,” Mom would say.

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26 thoughts on “The Love You Take, YA Contemporary

  1. Natascha Morris says:

    Hi Daniel, I’d be happy to take a look! Please send your manuscript along to this addres: QueryMe.online/1067/PitchAmerica. Thank you!

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  2. Quressa Robinson says:

    This is lovely. I am eager to see more. Please query me at queryquressa@nelsonagency.com. In the subject line, write REQUESTED QUERY (Pitch America) and the title of your project. This will help ensure that your query isn’t accidentally deleted or caught in our spam filter. In the body of your email, include a one-page query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript.

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  3. Sarah LaPolla says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I’d love to keep reading! Can you please send the full query + 1st 3 Ch. to sarah @ bradfordlit.com? Please put “PitchAmerica: [title]” as the subject. Thank you!

    Sarah

    Like

  4. Roseanne Wells says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I’d love to see this. Please send the query and 30 pages using the guidelines on jdlit.com and put PITCH AMERICA in the subject line. I can’t wait to read!

    Best,

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

    Like

  5. Jennifer Azantian says:

    I’d love to read more! Please send your query, 1-2 page synopsis, and the first 25 pages in the body of an e-mail with “Requested” and “Pitch América” somewhere in the subject line (along with your name and the title of the work). You can reach me at queries@azantianlitagency.com. Thank you! I look forward to reading!

    Like

  6. klcarleton says:

    I’d love to see more of this! Please send the first fifty pages, along with the query and synopsis, to kirsten[at]prospectagency[dot]com with “Pitch America” in the subject line. Can’t wait!

    Like

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