Tuesday, March 16, 2021

March 2021 Pass or Pages Entry #2

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agents Silvia Monteni, Jess Dallow, and Lucy Irvine for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 2: Humbly Yours, Juliet


Seventeen-year-old Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast Gage loathes Shakespeare. But when an assignment forces him to join the tens of thousands of people who write a letter to “Juliet” in Verona every year, he asks the Bard’s greatest heroine for advice about his growing feelings for his gender nonconforming best friend, Remy.

Instead of receiving a reply from the Secretaries of Juliet, Gage sees the letters he and his classmates wrote posted anonymously on a website. Remy ignores Gage’s attempts to discuss the epistles, leading a crushed Gage to believe Remy isn’t interested in more than friendship. A mysterious “Juliet” starts responding to the letters and inadvertently reveals a secret of Remy’s that makes his true feelings known, but Gage views the lie as an act of betrayal[JD1]. Despite Remy’s insistence that, like in the Hallmark movies he adores, the deceit is just a big misunderstanding, Gage fears they may have missed their chance at a happy ending. Without a D&D Player’s Handbook to guide him, Gage must decide whether to protect himself from more potential heartache or forgive Remy and roll the dice on romance.

HUMBLY YOURS, JULIET is a contemporary young adult novel (65,000 words) that will appeal to fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda[JD2]. It’s a multiple-POV story that also follows a Latina baker trying to use the letters to figure out whether her boyfriend loves her or cheated on her and a goofy actor with a penchant for puns who isn’t sure if the girl of his dreams likes him or his twin brother[JD3].
Silvia's comments: None
Jess's comments:
[JD1] This is a little confusing. What is the lie? 
[JD2] The titles of these books should be capitalized. 
[JD3] If it’s a multi-POV story and these people are important enough to have POVs, I’d like to see how they are included in the plot of the story. It gives good indication if their perspective is necessary.
Lucy's comments: TBD

First 250 words:

Shakespeare is the worst[JD4].

I can’t stifle the sound that escapes when Mr. Bookman announces we’ll be starting Romeo and Juliet. (And no, the irony of an English teacher named Bookman isn’t lost on anyone.) My groan joins a chorus of disapproval. Not from Remy, though. I look at him—today he’s wearing a brown and white striped skirt over green leggings and a green fabric headband thing—and he smiles.

Always one for romance. He might be excited, but I won’t have a clue when the romantic parts are happening, for all the sense the “Bard” makes to me. (I wanted to like Macbeth last year, but the language killed my enthusiasm for the witches and murder.) Flipping quickly through the book, I slump in my seat. It’s hard to say if I’m more depressed by the pages with lots of footnotes or the ones with just a few.

Without wasting any time, we go over the characters, then Mr. Bookman calls two guys to the front and assigns them parts. To read out loud. On day one[JD5]. I could be wrong, but shouldn’t reading Shakespeare have a little foreplay? Maybe some 16th century English lessons before reciting iambic pentameter in front of a crowd?

The guys take the toy swords Mr. Bookman hands them, and the first thing Finn does, of course, is hold it in front of him like a penis. Dick.
Silvia's comments: I found the blurb in the query letter a bit confusing, I struggled to follow who was who, as well as the link between D&D and Shakespeare. I’m also not a fan of To All the Boys I Loved Before, though I appreciate the LQBT angle of this particular query. I also wasn’t entirely convinced by the tone of the opening and was put off by the swearing.
Jess's comments:
[JD4] Love this opening sentence.
[JD5] Day one of what? School or just reading this play?   
Lucy's comments: TBD
Silvia Monteni: Pass
Jess Dallow: Pass
Lucy Irvine: TBD

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