Entry 1: Brainy in Burberry
Since you’re seeking young adult fiction from diverse voices[CR1], I hope you’ll consider my 70,000-word #ownvoices YA[KJ1] contemporary novel, BRAINY IN BURBERRY[BM1] set in present-day New Delhi[CW1].
In this mashup of Devil Wears Prada meets Legally Blonde[BM2][MH1], a teen wannabe model must conquer the tough world of engineering to prove that beauty with brains is no myth[CR2].
Sharmila Sen, aka Mili, dreams of storming the runways as a fashion supermodel, until her businessman-father signs her up for engineering college. Mili, under threat of disinheritance, pursues her modeling dreams in secret. In college, she befriends the nerds, suffers the pathetic lessons doled out by her teachers[CW2], and meets the potential love of her life.
The modeling life trips her up – juggling stilettoes and textbooks is no cakewalk[CW3]. When Mili fails the first semester exams, her parents unleash their fury, and her former “friends” take to taunting[CW4] her for her dumbness[BM3]. Mili takes stock[CW5], and sets her target high – she plans to ace all her exams, and fulfill her modeling ambitions,
as the proverbial cherry on top[CW6]. If she doesn’t succeed, she’ll lose that one thing most precious to her – her self-respect[KJ2][CR3][BM4][MH2][CW7].
Hilary's comments: None
First 250 Words
As dawn broke on a hot July morning[CR4], the denizens of Chittranjan Park were stirring awake, groping for their iPhones and flinging the sheets off their sweaty bodies[BM5].
But[MH3] in my house, tucked away in a corner of K-block, my family and I had brushed our teeth, scrubbed our bodies with Pears soap, and swooped into our seats at the breakfast table[CR5][BM6].
I had just grabbed a slice of bread when my father cleared his throat. “I have made a decision[CW8].”
I groaned. Baba lorded over a thousand employees at the company he ran, so why did he have to poke his nose into our lives at home too[BM7]? I toyed with the idea of derailing his train of thought, but resolved against it[CW9].
Baba continued: “Mili will study engineering at DICE.”
A crushing silence fell upon the table. My knife stopped mid-yolk. Ma set her fork down. My elder brother Saurav, probably sensing the sudden absence of chatter, looked up from his phone[KJ3].
“You’re right, Dad[KJ4]!” He bobbed his head up and down as if he’d just been thinking the exact same thing.
I rounded upon him. “Do you even know what he’s talking about? Because I don’t!”
Ma wiped down her rosebud lips with a napkin. “I think your father is referring to the Delhi Institute of Computer Engineering,” she said, enunciating each word as if the rest of us were either stupid or deaf.
“There you go!” Saurav leaned back and resumed playing games on his iPhone[KJ5][CR6][BM8][MH4][CW10].
Hilary's comments: I thought the pitch here was solid and loved the comp titles, but I wasn’t as drawn in by the voice as I’d hoped to be. I also think this would probably sit more squarely in the adult market, since the protagonist is primarily college age.
Results: [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name here or at the top of this post for submission instructions.]