Ask Daphne! About My Query XXXXVIII and XXXXIX

duelingshoesI’ve got a special About My Query for you this week (and apologies that it’s a day late). Tying into Rexroth’s post about the numbers game that can be an agent’s perusal of the query pile, I’d like to give YOU a chance to play agent. Today, I’m posting not one but TWO queries, and I’d like you to tell me which one you would want to read more, and most importantly, WHY. (This is a learning exercise, after all.) What works for you? What doesn’t? What compels about one query versus the other?

Now yes, I do judge every query on its own merits, and not in comparison to any other one I receive, so this is a purely theoretical exercise. But I’d like to know — which query works for you? I look forward to reading the comments! Query number one:

Dear Daphne:

College freshman Chloe Shepherd is resolutely ordinary and, unbeknownst to her, explicitly forbidden. It explains a lot, once she understands – like why after an amazing first date Dylan doesn’t speak to her for months. And why he drives a car, shovels snow and orders pizza.

Dylan and his family are part of the great Rayhm clan of witches. The edicts of the clan clearly state that falling in love with an outsider is prohibited. His real life is full of magic and myths and the symbol of the clan burned into his skin is testament to how powerful he is.

The fact that Dylan is falling in love with Chloe is only slightly less surreal to her than what he tells her about the Rayhm. He’s not any different now that she knows. They are just two ordinary people falling extraordinarily in love. Who knows how long it might have stayed that way if Chloe hadn’t eavesdropped on him in the library?

Even as she listens, Chloe is filled with guilt and immediate regret. She realizes why he hasn’t told her now, what he’s been keeping from her. It’s not his power, it’s hers. She is the catalyst; because of her Dylan will be forced to defend his birthright. Chloe is the one person in the world who can give Dylan everything he’s never wanted – the power to rule the Rayhm.

Snare is a YA/New Adult paranormal romance, complete at 95,000 words.

I have a background in journalism, as well as magazine editing (American City & County Magazine), and spent several years using my BA and MA in English — from teaching English in Japan to Rhetoric & Composition at Binghamton University and just a little high school English — before (wisely) deciding I would rather read books than teach them. I would welcome the opportunity to send you pages. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
B.B.

Or Query number two:

Dear Daphne,

Kate Donovan lives everyday with a ceaseless chatter of voices in her head. She’s not schizophrenic; Kate can read minds, an ability she’d gladly be rid of, were she able. Kate successfully keeps her ability secret by trying to appear as ‘normal’ as possible. Until an attempted school shooting forces her into action.

Kate’s heroics trigger a series of bizarre events, culminating when a mysterious stranger named Alex reveals to Kate that he shares her ability. Kate can’t read Alex and struggles to trust him, so when he insists she leave home and come with him to learn to control her talent, Kate refuses.

Alex presses her further, disclosing the darkest secret yet. Kate’s long-dead mother was murdered by assassins who hunt Readers like Kate, and they will likely return for her. Determined to keep her family safe and find her mother’s killer, Kate chooses to follow Alex into the world of Readers. Here, Kate will have to learn how to trust without reading, how to love amidst betrayals and how her mother really died. But eventually, Kate must choose who she will be: one who will hide––or one who will stand and fight?

READ MY MIND is an urban fantasy for YA, complete at 98,000 words. I’ve enclosed XX. Thank you for your consideration. May I submit the manuscript for your review?

Best,
D.W.

You can only request one. Which will it be, and how do you justify your decision?

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