Wednesday, February 8, 2017

SVS Agent Round 15: THE ART OF INSANITY, YA Contemporary OwnVoices

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction - OwnVoices
Word Count: 77,000 

Is Your Main Character hot or cold?

Natalie has bipolar disorder, so she knows both hot and cold very well. She’s suffered through the dark wasteland of depression, which taught her that a cold brain is infinitely worse than a cold body.  She’s also known mania when her brain is hot – white hot – and she is completely unstoppable.  To know the temperature of someone with bipolar disorder, it depends when you ask. Today, on the verge of having her story told, she’s hot.


Sun vsSnow,

The car accident last summer wasn’t an accident. Natalie, a high-school senior, will do anything to keep her suicide attempt (and her bipolar disorder diagnosis) a secret.  But the one person at school who knows the truth blackmails her, and the complications from keeping her secret are distracting Natalie from what is most important to her: her art.

Natalie has always used art to cope – to cope with the fact that her dad died when she was a toddler, to cope with her delusional panic attacks, and now to cope with the fact that some doctors have labeled her “crazy.” Her talent is about to upgrade from being a coping skill to being a money maker if she can win the biggest art show of her life and secure a college scholarship.

When her secret is spilled at school, people start treating her differently. She’s not sure which she hates more: the reactions of curious fear or of pity. In her frustration, Natalie denies the rumors about her mental illness so well that even she starts believing her story. The doctors must have gotten the diagnosis wrong. She decides to stop taking her medications.

Once she’s off her meds, the symptoms return. A manic episode puts her scholarship in jeopardy with almost no time left before the art show. She fights her brain to prove that she can be okay on her own, but she will need self-acceptance to be successful in the end. 

This novel is Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story meets Amy Zhang’s Falling Into Place

First 250 words:

The car accident last summer wasn’t an accident.

Secrets have weight, and that one’s heavy. It’s not the fun kind of secret for late-night sleepovers or hallway gossip. It’s the dark kind of secret that is kept in shadows, and I spend my days making sure it never comes into the light.

I step out of my new-to-me Toyota Camry and run my fingertips along the metallic silver of the fender. I won’t let anything happen to this car. I grab my backpack and head across the parking lot to my last first day of school. Do I look like a senior? I don’t feel like a senior.

The purple Barney keychain on my backpack clinks against the zipper. When I was five years old I got that keychain, and I was so happy that I held it up and said, “I love this keychain so much that I will keep it on my backpack forever and ever and ever!”

“You’ll lose it in a week,” said my older brother. We constantly try to prove each other wrong, and I’m winning this one.

My new blue shirt matches my eyes, and I’m hoping people will notice that instead of my slight limp. People say I have beautiful eyes. I’m wearing jeans and old tennis shoes because I don’t want anyone looking at my legs – or my limp. Look at my eyes, people! Remember how beautiful my eyes are?

I take a deep breath and walk into the school.


  1. Don't leave me out in the cold! Please send along a synopsis and the first 3chs to crubinobradway AT lkgagency DOT com. Thanks!

  2. Wow, I'm getting chills! Please send query, synopsis, chapter summaries and first 3 chapters to nicole [at] goldenwheatliterary [dot] com.


  3. This sounds intriguing. Please, send the full as an MSWord attachment to :

  4. That gave me shivers! Please send query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to

  5. I'm f-f-freezing. Please send the query, along with the first 50 pages and a synopsis attached as a Word doc, to queryjennifer[at]lizadawson[dot]com.


    Jennifer Johnson-Blalock

  6. Ooh, just got the chills. What a terrific first line! I'm dying to know what really happened with the car. Please send the query and the full manuscript as an attachment to mention "REQUESTED: Sun vs. Snow" in the subject line

    Looking forward to reading!

    Jennifer March Soloway

  7. Thanks, please do email the manuscript and query letter my way!

    To tell you a little bit about our literary agency, which closes more deals for authors than any other agency worldwide:

    Trident Media Group (TMG) is a prominent literary agency located in New York City that originally formed in 2000. TMG represents over 1,000 bestselling and emerging authors in a range of genres of fiction and nonfiction, many of whom have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers Lists and have won major awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the P.E.N. Faulkner Award, the P.E.N. Hemingway Award, The Booker Prize, and the L.A. Times Book Award, among others. TMG is one of the world’s leading, largest and most diversified literary agencies.

    For more than ten consecutive years, TMG continues to rank number one for sales according to in North America. TMG is the only U.S. literary agency to consistently be in the top ten in both UK fiction and UK non-fiction and has ranked as highly as number one in UK fiction deals.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,


    Mark Gottlieb
    Literary Agent
    Trident Media Group, LLC
    41 Madison Avenue, Floor 36
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 333-1506

  8. It can be a cold, cold world. I'd love to read more! Please send your query, first 50 pages, and synopsis in the email body to whitley[at]inklingsliterary[dot]com. Thanks!

  9. I'm intrigued! Please send the full to mallory[at]triadaus[dot]com, thank you!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This sounds great! Please send the full MS to attached as a Word doc with the query pasted into the beginning of the doc. Put "SUN VS SNOW - PETE KNAPP" in the subject. I look forward to reading!