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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2019 MG #06: DOWN THE RIVER (#OwnVoices LGBTQ Contemporary)
Lin Thompson
Mentored by:
Nicole Melleby and A. J. Sass
Book Title:
2019 Entries
#Ownvoices LGBTQ Contemporary
Word Count:


Best friends Aubrey and Joel have spent most of sixth grade planning to run away. It’s just a game, Aubrey figures—a distraction from Joel’s bullies and Aubrey’s gnawing feeling that Aubrey might not be the gender everyone assumes. But when Joel disappears for real, Aubrey treks after him on a journey that might push Aubrey to finally acknowledge what they've been scared of: they’re nonbinary.



Sometime in the last two days, ever since Joel Gallagher disappeared, I became a liar. I didn’t mean to turn that way. I didn’t even realize I was lying as I did it—not at first, anyway. Mine were mostly lies of omission. I lied by not saying things. Those kinds of lies feel like a different category, if you ask me. They feel like something you just let happen instead of something you actively do.

But Father Jacob says lies of omission are still lies. They count with God just the same. Which is too bad, I guess, because the more I think about it, the more sure I am that even before Joel disappeared—even before any of this—I’ve been lying by omission all over the place.

It’s Monday morning now. Joel disappeared from the woods behind my house sometime late Friday night, or maybe early Saturday morning. Disappeared isn’t the right word, but no one in town can come up with a better one. Disappeared sounds like a magic trick. It sounds like Joel just up and vanished, poof, from a patch of woods in the middle of Kentucky. There one minute, gone the next, like a miracle but not the good kind.

“He can’t have just disappeared,” everyone in town keeps saying. But no one can figure out what actually happened to him, either.

Except me, I guess. I have a pretty good idea.

46 responses to “PW2019 MG #06: DOWN THE RIVER (#OwnVoices LGBTQ Contemporary)”

  1. Tara Gilbert says:

    I love the premise and would love to see more! Please use the link below to submit the full along with a synopsis and query letter.

    Thank you for considering me! If more than one Corvisiero agent shows interest, please choose one of us submit to and let them know who else liked the pitch, so that we can share it with each other.


  2. Saba Sulaiman says:

    Hi Lin,
    There’s something so enchanting about your opening — I’d love to read more! Please send a query, synopsis, and the full manuscript (Word documents will suffice) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net — and don’t forget to mention #PitchWars in your subject line. Thanks—can’t wait to read on!
    Good luck,

  3. Patricia Nelson says:

    Hi Lin,

    I would love to take a look at this! Could you please send me your query + the full manuscript as a Word doc attachment to patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com? Please make sure to put “PitchWars Request” in the subject line.

    I’m looking forward to reading!

  4. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hi Lin!

    I love this premise and your voice, and would be thrilled to see more!

    Could you send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to Kelly@reesagency.com? You can simply attach the manuscript as a Word document and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Requested Submission” in the subject title! =)

    Looking forward to reading more, and wishing you all the best of luck!

    -Kelly Peterson

  5. Megan Manzano says:

    Wow, I absolutely love the voice here and seeing a nonbinary MC in a middle grade story!

    Please send your query, synopsis, and first 30 pages to the following link: https://querymanager.com/query/MeganManzano/PitchWars

  6. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to keep reading. May I please see the full manuscript + synopsis? It would also be great if you could include ‘Pitch Wars Request’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! 

    Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS Literary Agency

  7. Brent Taylor says:

    This sounds wonderful. I’d love to see the full manuscript. Please send it as a word document to brent(at)triadaus(dot)com.

  8. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there! I’d love to take a look at the first 50 pages. Please send them attached as a word document to rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com


    – Rena Rossner

  9. Marlo Berliner says:

    Such a strong beginning!! I’d love to read more! Please send the full with Pitchwars Adult in the subject line to marlo.jdlit@gmail.com. Looking forward to reading!

  10. Natascha Morris says:

    I’m so intrigued by this! And this voice is right up my middle grade alley. I’d love to see the pages. Please send them over to QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars. Can’t wait to dive in!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  11. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Lin! This story sounds absolutely incredible and your sample has me hooked. I would love to read more. Please send the full manuscript to me at http://queryme.online/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2019.

    Thanks so much!
    Alexandra Weiss
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  12. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to have a look. Kindly send the manuscript along to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible.


  13. Naomi Davis says:

    This looks fantastic! I’d love to see this. Can you please send me a query, synopsis, and full manuscript to ndavis@bookendsliterary.com? So excited to read more!

  14. John Cusick says:

    I love this voice, Lin! Could you please send a query and ten pages to john [@] foliolit.com? I look forward to connecting.

  15. Adriann Ranta Zurhellen says:

    Hi Lin,

    Am loving what I’ve read so far! Please submit the full manuscript and a 1-2 page synopsis to arsubmissions@foundrymedia.com, cc’ing in flmasst@foundrymedia.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars: Down the River.” Thanks so much, and looking forward to diving in further!


  16. Quressa Robinson says:

    This feels like something that will probably make me cry and I’m def down for that! Please query me at this link (QueryMe.online/QueryQuressa/PW20192020) and follow the directions. If more than one NLA agent requests work from you it is okay to query more than one of us, just give us a heads-up. Good luck!

  17. Jennifer Mattson says:

    Dear Lin,
    Thanks for your participation in Pitch Wars! I’m intrigued by this, and would be happy to look at the full manuscript. If you’d like to share it with me, please send to jmatt[@]andreabrownlit.com via email attachment, with subject line that includes the phrase Pitch Wars Request.

    Note, if one of my colleagues at Andrea Brown Literary Agency has also requested the manuscript, please choose just one of us, but note the other requester in your submission.

    Thanks very much, and best of luck with all!
    Jennifer Mattson, Agent
    Andrea Brown Literary Agency

  18. Beth Phelan says:

    i love this

    please send the first 50 pages (word doc) to querybeth@galltzacker.com with your query letter in the body of the email and “pitch wars” in the subject line. looking forward to reading!

    <3 beth

  19. Peter Knapp says:

    Hi Lin,

    This sounds wonderful – I’d love to keep reading! Can you please send the full manuscript to queries@parkfine.com attached as a Word document, along with a 1-3 (or so) page synopsis if available (in the same document as the MS or attached as a separate doc is fine)? Please include a query letter in the body of the email and put “PitchWars Submission – Pete Knapp” in the subject of the email. Thanks so much for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading!

    With warm regards,

    Pete Knapp
    Park & Fine Literary and Media

  20. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Lin,

    This sounds great, I’d love to read more! Could you please send a query and the full manuscript to ebauman@aevitascreative.com, and put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line?

    Looking forward!


  21. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Lin! Your sample grabbed me right away — your voice is so lyrical and unique! I’d love to read more. Please do send through your query letter + first 50 pages to claire@inkwellmanagement.com — CF

  22. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great pitch and voice – would love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol (at) theunteragency (dot) com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  23. Ashley Blake says:

    Hello Lin, I’d love to read more of this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com and put QUERY PITCH WARS in the subject. Hope to hear from you soon!

  24. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this! Please send a query letter and 10 pages to carlisle @ fuseliterary .com with the subject PitchWars: TITLE. Thanks!

  25. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Lin,

    I would love to see this! Can you send the query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with #PitchWars in the subject? Thank you!

    All best,

  26. Adria Goetz says:

    What a sweet character + voice. I’d love to read more. Will you send the first chapter my way? adria@martinlit.com

  27. Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds AMAZING! Please send the full manuscript and query to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com. Please put “Pitch Wars request” and the title in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!
    –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  28. Bobby O’Neil says:

    I would love to take a look at a full manuscript!

  29. Wendi Gu says:

    Hi Lin,

    I love this opening salvo and would be interested in seeing the rest. At your convenience, please send the full manuscript in Word to wgu@sjga.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

    All my best,
    Wendi Gu

  30. Laura Bradford says:

    Love the sound of this one! The voice is great…please email me the full ms + synopsis and make a note in the subject line that this is a Pitch Wars entry. laura at bradfordlit dot com. Can’t wait to see more!

    Laura Bradford
    Bradford Literary Agency

  31. Ginger Clark says:

    I would love to take a look at this. Can you email me the first fifty pages as either a PDF or DOCX or RTF? Put the words “Pitchwars 2020 request” in your subject line. Thank you so much!

  32. Dana Murphy says:

    I am completely gripped by this excerpt and would love to read more. Please send the first 50pgs and a query letter to submissions@thebookgroup.com, with my name in the subject line and #PitchWars somewhere in the body of the email.

  33. Samantha Wekstein says:

    I would love to see the first 50 pages of this! If interested, please send them as an attachment with your query in the email body and #pitchwars in the subject line to samantha@thompsonliterary.com. Thank you!

  34. Clelia Gore says:

    Hi, Lin! This has certainly caught my attention! Please send the full manuscript (Microsoft Word doc format) along with a query letter to my email at clelia@martinlit.com. Please put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I look forward to taking a closer look!

  35. Hi, Lin,

    I love this pitch! Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Sent to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime

    Looking forward to reading more.



  36. Alec Shane says:

    Would love to read the full – please send as a Word doc to ashane@writershouse.com with “Pitch Wars request: DOWN THE RIVER” as the subject.

  37. Johanna Castillo says:

    Hi Lin,

    I’m intrigued! I’d love to see more. Would you send me the first 50 pages to jcastillosubmissions@writershouse.com?


  38. Kari Sutherland says:

    I love the voice here! Can you please query me here and include “Pitch Wars” in the title line? https://querymanager.com/query/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form Looking forward to reading more!

  39. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    This sounds amazing! So here for this nonbinary rep. I’d love to read the full. Please send to QueryMe.online/KaitlynJohnson/Contests. Looking forward to diving in!

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Literary Agent
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  40. Zabé Ellor says:

    I love, love, love, love, LOVE this! What a great idea and what a compelling voice. I can’t WAIT to see more!

    Please send the query and synopsis (in the body of an email), and full manuscript (as an attachment) to zrellor . books @ gmail . com. I’m looking forward to diving in

  41. Laurel Symonds says:

    Hi! I’d love to see this. Please send a query and 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  42. Chelsea Eberly says:

    Strong opening, and I love that there’s a mystery to follow and a heartfelt question of gender identity at the core–especially since this is MG. I hope that you will send me the full manuscript with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line to: submissions (at) greenhouseliterary (dot) com. Thank you!

  43. Allison Remcheck says:

    Dear Lin,

    I would love to have a look at DOWN THE RIVER. Please feel free to be in touch with me–with a synopsis and your first three chapters–via my box at this link:


    It would be great if you could write REQUESTED MATERIAL at the top of your e-mail.

    Thank you so much; I’m looking forward to it!

    Best wishes,

    Allison Remcheck

  44. Elizabeth Bewley says:

    Dear Lin,
    I’d be happy to read your full manuscript. Can you please email it to me at ebewley@sll.com?
    Elizabeth Bewley
    Sterling Lord Lit

  45. Kelly Sonnack says:

    I’d really love to read this! It sounds like something I’m going to love. Please send to me at kelly@andreabrownlit.com.

  46. You’ve hooked me for sure! Please send this pitch in the body of an email, synopsis and first fifty pages attached as a Word doc, with MG PITCHWARS and your title in the subject, to Jennifer@theseymouragency.com.