Entry 4: Saigon Sweethearts
Two hearts, one semester[JD1].
Vivi Nguyen arrived in Saigon, Vietnam, nervous yet giddy for her abroad program. With parents back in the states and freedom at her fingertips, Vivi revelled in the heart of her homeland. It’d be a semester of excitement and adventures—or so she thought, until she met Hang[JD2].
Falling in love was not on the bucket list. The banh mi shop across Vivi’s dorm sells the most delectable banh mi in all of District 1, but it wasn’t the food that captivated her heart. Hang, the young and hardworking shop owner, dreams of becoming an English teacher and providing a better life for her mother.
With only eighty-five days in Vietnam, Vivi finds herself drawn to Hang and the city that haunts her parents. Within bustling Saigon, Vivi must unravel her family history through the tenderness of love; love that is multifaceted and spans through generations of sorrow and hope. From street food dates to kisses in alleyways, the two hearts find themselves alive and in love in the most vibrant city in the world.
I am seeking representation for Saigon Sweethearts, a YA Contemporary LGBT romance novel complete at 65,000 words. Saigon Sweethearts is The Joy Luck Club meets Loveboat, Taipei meets Heartstopper, written for readers who enjoy a fresh, youthful romance set abroad and stories about familial relationships, as well as those who are seeking POC LGBTQ main characters in the contemporary genre[JD3].
[JD2] Your query letter should be in present tense.
First 250 words:
It's 12am in Los Angeles, California. Unlike New York City, LA actually does sleep. The streets are vacant and in a blanket of silence, save for the hum of street cleaners in the early morning down the road.
“Will you be okay?” I wake up groggily from mom’s voice.
“Of course, Mom, I’ll be with Cindy. I’ll be okay.”
Sensing the hint of exhaustion from my voice, mom just squeezes my hand and kisses my forehead. “You know I’ll always worry.”
I slump my head onto her shoulder as she pulls me closer, cherishing our last few moments together before we reach LAX Airport. I try to stretch my arms with the limited amount of space in our small, second-hand Honda. Somehow, dad has managed to sandwich me into the back of the car with mom on one side and the two suitcases containing 70% of gifts for relatives in Vietnam and 30% of my own stuff on the other.
Two more right turns, and it’ll be time for me to board my first ever international flight, and although I should be excited, my head is more preoccupied by not-so-comforting thoughts. My stomach is ridden with anxiety because I thought it was a good idea to stay up late reading about the Malaysian airplane conspiracies. I push the image of plane crashes out of my head while taking a deep breath and mentally calming my nerves. Breathe, Vivi, breathe.