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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 YA #07: WHAT IF WE ARE THE STARS (Contemporary #OwnVoices)
Kelis Rowe
Mentored by:
Book Title:
2019 Entries
Contemporary #OwnVoices
Word Count:


JENNY HAN meets POET X. Memphis. Summer. Jupiter Ray is a poet, carting around ignored wounds of losing her father too soon. Orion is the star athlete his father pushed him to be and a hopeless romantic, virgin, terrified to talk to girls. Being with Ray is the safest Orion's ever felt. And Ray’s starting to believe love might actually be worth the risk... Until she pieces together the truth about her father's death. A truth her own mother kept from her. A truth Orion knew. Ray must face the past that's been controlling her future, while Orion fights to ensure love wins.



Just once I’d like today to be about the day I was born, not the day my father died.

I pretend not to hear her the first time Momma calls my name. I know she’s standing at the foot of the stairs, but I wait for her to say it twice before I shuffle onto the porch of the treehouse. She knows not to come up to my art space uninvited. I keep my headphones on, on purpose. My own way of exercising some measure of control over my life today, of all days.

She smiles at the sight of me, which has the annoying effect of making me smile back. She taps her ear. I take the hint, but make a show of stopping my Walkman and slipping my headphones off.

“Hey, little girl.”

“Hey, momma.” There is just enough edge in my voice to not be disrespectful, yet still let her know I’m peeved.

“Happy Birthday, baby.” She holds up my favorite tumbler, purple with pink stars, filled with fresh-squeezed lemonade.

“Thanks. One second.” It’s easiest to take the treehouse stairs down backward. I take the mug from her and she kisses my cheek.

24 responses to “PW2019 YA #07: WHAT IF WE ARE THE STARS (Contemporary #OwnVoices)”

  1. I love everything about this pitch. I love the voice in the opening. And an art space in a treehouse? That’s a dream come true! If you could please send your query, full manuscript and a complete, detailed synopsis to hilaryquery@ktliterary.com with “Pitchwars: Your Title” in the subject field. Can’t wait to dive in!

  2. Brent Taylor says:

    I’d love to read this! Please send the full manuscript as a word document to Brent(at)triadaus(dot)com.


    Gorgeous opening! Ray is immediately engaging. I’d love to read more. Please put ‘Pitch Wars Requested’ in your subject line and send the full manuscript and query letter to me at rebecca@defliterary.com. Ms can be an attachment. Thanks so much!

  4. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi Kelis,

    I’m intrigued. I’d love to take a look! Please send the ms as a doc to medwards at stonesong dot com. Thanks!!

    All best,

  5. Ashley Blake says:

    Hi Kelis, I’d love to see more of this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com. Hope to hear from you soon!

  6. Samantha Wekstein says:

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

  7. Andrea Cascardi says:

    Wow, this is a powerful and intriguing pitch and a very compelling opening to what sounds like a complex and un-put-downable book! I’m so eager to read the full manuscript! andrea@transatlanticagency.com

  8. Beth Phelan says:

    Heyyyy 👋🏼

    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

  9. Natascha Morris says:

    I love the sample writing here. I’m curious to see where this story goes. Kelis, please feel free to upload to QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars. Can’t wait to take a look!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  10. Jennifer Unter says:

    This sounds great – I’d love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages to jen.nadol(at)theunteragency(dot)com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  11. Jess Dallow says:

    Hi Kelis,

    I love what I’ve read so far and would love to see more! Please send the full manuscript and query to me at jess@browerliterary.com with PITCH WARS + title in the subject line.

    Thanks and I can’t wait to read!


    Jess Dallow, Brower Literary and Management

  12. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Kelis! This sounds great — I’d love to consider! Please do send your query letter + first 50 pages to claire@inkwellmanagement.com — CF

  13. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Kelis,

    Congratulations on successfully completing PitchWars! I can’t imagine how thrilled you must be. J.Elle has spoken so highly of your work and reading the pitch and excerpt, I can see why! I’m SO HERE FOR a cinnamon roll athlete, black love, and the unique inserts of poetry. It’s about time some POC main characters found healing and fell in love! Would you please send me your query in the body of an email, with the full manuscript attached as a Word doc? The subject of the email should be “PITCH WARS REQUEST: WHAT IF WE ARE THE STARS” and you can reach me at sfabien(at)LDLAinc(dot)com. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!

    If more than one LDLA agent requests your book, you are welcome to send to as many or few of us as you like. Just tell us in the query, and we’ll chat amongst ourselves.

  14. Jana Hanson says:

    Hi, Kelis —

    I would love to read more of WHAT IF WE ARE THE STARS. Please send the first 5 chapters to me at your earliest convenience (jhanson@metamorphosisliteraryagency.com).

    Thank you so much, and best of luck to you in Pitch Wars!

    Jana Hanson

  15. Danielle Burby says:

    This is exactly my jam and I am so excited to read more! Please send me the full manuscript at this Pitch Wars query link QueryMe.online/1352/PW20192020

    Danielle Burby

  16. Penny Moore says:

    Hi Kelis,

    This sounds amazing and like something I’m looking for! I’d love to read more. Please follow the directions on my query form and submit your MS here: QueryMe.online/LiteraryPenny/PitchWars2020. Thanks!

    All the Best,
    Penny Moore

  17. Alexandra Levick says:

    Hi Kelis,

    I would love to take a closer look at this! Could you send the query and first 50 pages to me at alevick(at)writershouse.com? Please label your email with ‘PITCH WARS’ if you wouldn’t mind!

    So excited to dive in!

    Alexandra Levick
    Literary Agent, Writers House, LLC.

  18. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Kelis,

    I would love to see this! Can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  19. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear Kelis,
    It was so wonderful to read your pitch and PitchWars blog post. I would very much love the opportunity to read WHAT IF WE ARE THE STARS! If you’re interested in sharing, could you send the full manuscript to me at amorrison@writershouse.com? I really hope to hear from you!
    My best,

  20. 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!

  21. Christa Heschke says:

    I’d love to see this. What a great opening line! 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

  22. Alyssa Henkin says:

    Hi Kelis,
    I would love to read 50 pages of this! Would you please email me and my assistant, Alice, the first 50 pages as a Word document or a PDF, and please make the subject line “Pitch Wars 2020”? We look forward to reading! ahenkin@tridentmediagroup.com and henkin.assistant@tridentmediagroup.com. https://www.tridentmediagroup.com/agents/alyssa-eisner-henkin/
    Alyssa Henkin

  23. Shannon Hassan says:

    Hi Kelis, this sounds terrific and I would love to read more! Please send a query + 50 pages to shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com (with PitchWars in the subject line). Thanks, Shannon

  24. Chelsea Eberly says:

    I love the voice here in the opening and high stakes in the pitch. Great comps. I hope you will send me the full manuscript with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line to: submissions (at) greenhouseliterary (dot) com. Thank you!