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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.
PW2020 YA #30: GANG (#OwnVoices Thriller)
Gabrielle Aku
Mentored by:
Michaela Greer
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#ownvoices Thriller
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Death, Domestic Abuse


A powerful story about American exceptionalism and the lengths one will go to fit in, perfect for fans of They Wish They Were US:

When Nigerian-American Anne is tapped to join the most popular group at her ‘whiter than white’ private school, she’s skeptical. She’s known them since they were kids and they’ve never offered friendship before. Now they want something in return: the group leader wants Anne to help kill his ex-girlfriend, who also happens to be Anne’s former best friend. And Anne doesn’t hate the idea… or the boy behind it.



There was a fight. Not a back alley, neo-noir, “He’s gotta knife!” fight. But a viral video, “Why were you talking to my man?” Bad Girls Club kinda fight.

Kacey Baker’s body slammed into my side, knocking me, her, and my desk onto the floor.

“Answer me, bitch!” a faux-ghetto voice roars over Kacey and me.

Ah! Of course, it’s Kelly Young. The cause of any, if not all, of the drama in third-period Physics class. I should have anticipated this though, considering that our teacher, Mr. Hill just squat-waddled out of class for his mid-morning piss. Staring up at Kelly, underneath Kacey and my desk: she looks anywhere between sixteen and forty-three, from her rosy cheeks to her frown lines. And despite having a family line that’s lived and died in Forsyth County since the Civil War- a fact she never lets any of us forget- she recently swapped out her telltale southern drawl in favor of an accent you’re more like to hear in downtown Atlanta.

The only thing that sucked more than being catapulted onto the floor. Pinned down by local government-issued classroom hardware from at least the Nineties—Aw shit, is that gum? —was that Kacey’s fat ass landed on my arm.

18 responses to “PW2020 YA #30: GANG (#OwnVoices Thriller)”

  1. Jennifer Weis says:

    Would love to read! Also wrote to you on Twitter.
    Hope you will send the manuscript to me: Jenniferweis@rossyoon.com
    I published a number of YA titles as executive editor at St. Martin’s Press, including the bestselling House of Night series by PC Cast..

  2. Chelsea Hensley says:

    Hi Gabrielle! I love this and I’d love to read more! If you’re interested, you can send the full manuscript and a complete synopsis to chelseaquery@kliterary.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line.

  3. Mary C. Moore says:

    Would love to read more! Please use this link to send: QueryManager.com/Mary_C_Moore_KCA/PitchWars

  4. Shannon Snow says:

    Hi Gabrielle!

    Your story definitely caught my eye. I would love to take a look. Please send the complete manuscript, synopsis and a short bio to shannon@cmalit.com. Please put “Requested Materials-Pitch Wars” in the subject line so it will be sure to stand out in my inbox.

    If more than one person requests materials from my agency (Creative Media Agency, Inc., or CMA) just pick one of us. If it doesn’t work for that person, we will share it around.

    Thank you and I look forward to seeing your story very much! Best of success with Pitch Wars!!


  5. Jenny Bent says:

    Hi! I’d like to see the full on this please. Please send to pitchwars@thebentagency.com with “pitchwars” in the subject line. It’s fine to submit to other agents at the Bent Agency if they also request, just please let us know so we can coordinate responses.

  6. Hi Gabrielle,
    I’d love to read the full of Gang. Please use this link to submit your pages: QueryManager.com/1353/PW2021

  7. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Gabrielle! This sounds like exactly the sort of story I’m looking for. I’d love to consider. Please do send the full manuscript to claire@inkwellmanagement.com. Can’t wait to read!

  8. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi Gabrielle,

    This looks great! I’d love to take a look. Please email the ms as a double-spaced doc to medwards at stonesong dot com with PitchWars in the subject.


  9. Rebecca Eskildsen says:

    Hi! I would love to see this story in my inbox. If you would like to submit your manuscript to me, please send a query letter and the first 50 pages to reskildsen@writershouse.com. Please include “Pitch Wars” and your title in the subject line, and please only submit to one agent at Writers House at a time. Thank you!

  10. Jackie Williams says:

    Hi Gabrielle,

    I’d love to see more! Please send the query in the body of an email with the full MS attached to jackie.williams@knightagency.net. Please mention Pitch Wars in the subject line!


  11. Hi Gabrielle,

    One word: incredible! What a great pitch, and a great opening! So excited for this one! I’d love to see the full… Could you please send it via QueryManager.com/JenniferWills/PitchWars2020? I’d also love to see your query letter and synopsis if you have one.

    Thanks so much!
    Jennifer Wills
    The Seymour Agency

  12. Andrea Somberg says:

    I really loved these opening pages and would love to take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea@harveyklinger.com. Include the query letter in the email, and put “Pitch Wars Requested Manuscript” within the subject line. And if multiple agents at Harvey Klinger have requested, please feel free to send along to all of us but just let us know who else is considering. Thanks! – Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Inc.

  13. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Gabrielle,

    I’d love to see this! If you’re interested, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with PitchWars in the subject line? Thank you!

    All best,

  14. Laura Bradford says:

    Ooooh, I’d love to read more! Please email me the full manuscript + synopsis at laura@bradfordlit.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line and paste the pitch into your email. Thank you!

    Laura Bradford

    *If more than one agent from the Bradford Literary Agency has requested this, go ahead and send it to those agents and just let us know

  15. Zabé Ellor says:

    Wow! This voice absolutely blew me away. I can’t wait to see more of Anne’s story.

    Please could you send the query and first fifty pages to me, as an attachment, at zrellor.books@gmail.com? Please paste your query on the first page of your attached sample pages, and also in the body of the email, and include PITCH WARS in the subject line. If more than one JDLA agent requests, feel free to first submit to the one you think is the best fit.

  16. Chloe Seager says:

    Dear Gabrielle,

    I love this idea – it’s giving me serious Heathers vibes! Please email the synopsis and first three chapters to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com, including ‘Pitch Wars submission’ somewhere in the subject line.

    All best,

  17. Analieze Cervantes says:

    Hi! I would love to read more 🙂 Please paste your query, synopsis, and upload the first 15 pages of your manuscript, here QueryManager.com/AnaliezeCervantes/PitchWars

  18. Lee OBrien says:

    I would love to read the rest of this!

    To query me, you can send the query and full MS to lee.queries@irenegoodman.com with the words “Pitch Wars” in the subject line! If another agent at Irene Goodman requests your manuscript, please submit to just one agent at a time. If they pass, you are welcome to resubmit to another.