Query Critique #8: The Insect Collector

First off, be sure to stop by Regan Leigh’s blog, where I’ve done a guest post weighing in on the negative book review “controversy”.  Quick summary: Don’t do it.  Period.

Also, this week is Query Week on Let the Words Flow!  We’re offering in-depth critiques from ourselves and several agents, so you’ll definitely want to stop by!

Today is we have the awesome Katharine Owens on board, so please leave your feedback in the comment section.  If you leave nasty comments, I will destroy you.  Now go out and spread the word so Katharine an get loads of helpful feedback!


Dear Dream Agent,

(Personal sentence describing why I am soliciting this agent.)

Beatrice Thompson is sixteen, worried about Darfur and climate change, and quickly getting in over her head with her summer job.

Beatrice loves insects. She loves watching their behavior, capturing them, and pinning them. Spending time in their world helps her ignore her own. It helps her forget that she’s been left out both at school and in her own family. At school, her bug-craziness doesn’t fit in with everyone’s boy-craziness. At home, her mom and sister are perfectly-matched BFFs.

It is summer, and Bea has a babysitting gig working for her idol scientist Mrs. Anderson. After a few days of work, Bea realizes that things are not rosy in the Anderson home. As Bea takes a closer look, she realizes the Anderson family has serious problems. It could be a divorce, but it could be something far worse.

If the issues with the summer job aren’t enough, she’s also developing feelings for her close friend Willem. Whether with the Andersons or with Willem, Beatrice’s choice is the same: to decide to keep her distance from life or to dive in.

When five-year-old James Anderson gets pulled into the mystery, she no longer has a choice. She has to risk it all, if only to save him.

A young adult novel, THE INSECT COLLECTOR, is complete at 41,000 words. I include the first chapter below, as instructed by your website.


Katharine Owens


Leave your comments below, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more queries!  Everyday for the next two weeks, I’ll be posting another query, and it’s up to YOU all to help each other.  Thanks, friends and fellow writers!!