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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.
PW2021 MG #15: POPCORN AND PROMISES (Contemporary)
Lisa Clewner-Newman
Mentored by:
Darlene P. Campos
Book Title:
Middle Grade
Word Count:


Ari can’t wait to finish seventh grade and get to Jewish summer camp—the one place where she doesn’t feel different. But when her BFF crashes her camp—and upstages her—Ari must overcome jealousy or risk losing her friend and the chance to find her voice.



Organize my gel, sparkle, and extra-fine tip pens—check. Write my additions onto the camp packing list—check. Pick three new song lyrics to learn—check. In thirty-six minutes, I had almost filled my to-do list with sparkly turquoise checkmarks. Only the last task had an empty space by it. At this rate, I’d still be writing thank yous at camp.

No. I couldn’t let that happen. What about all those thank you texts I sent my friends and cousins? I picked up my pen to check them off, then set it back down. Mom would never be okay with a thank you text.

There had to be a way to get these notes done faster.

Done so Emily and I could hang out. Done so I could pack and get ready to spend another summer with my besties at Camp Taglit. Done so I could write songs and pretend I was brave enough to perform them.

Below EpiPen, I added songbook to my packing list.

Its black spine, part of the black and white patterned cover, and bits of stickers were peeking out from the bookshelf next to me. Tempting me. Maybe just a quick look. For inspiration, I told myself. I grabbed my songbook and flopped onto my bed.

I flipped through pages of ideas, refrains, and scraps of songs. The ones towards the end were more recent. I thumbed backward, watching as themes, and even my handwriting, changed and became younger. In the beginning, my songs were simple little rhymes.

15 responses to “PW2021 MG #15: POPCORN AND PROMISES (Contemporary)”

  1. Sarah N. Fisk says:

    I am a sucker for summer camp stories *and* special pens. Please submit the query, synopsis and first three chapters here: https://querymanager.com/query/sarahnfisk/PitchWars

    If multiple agents at Tobias request your materials, please submit to the one you think would be the best fit.

  2. Amanda Rutter says:

    I would love you to submit your Pitch Wars entry to me, using my Query Manager form: QueryManager.com/Amanda_Rutter/PitchWars Please send through the query letter and the full manuscript. If more than one Azantian agent requests materials, please pick the one you feel would fit you best.

  3. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Lisa! I love a good gel pen and summer camp story. This sounds right up my alley. I’d love to request the full manuscript!

    If you’d like to send it my way, please upload it here: QueryManager.com/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2021

    ​Alexandra Weiss (she/her)
    Azantian Literary Agency

  4. Jennifer Herrington says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Wow! This sounds fabulous! I would love to see more if you were comfortable sharing. Please submit your query, synopsis, and the full manuscript to: QueryManager.com/JenniferHerrington/PitchWars2022.

    I hope to see your submission!

    Jennifer Herrington
    Associate Agent
    Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

  5. Allison Hellegers says:

    This sounds very relatable, and I’m a Jewish summer camp gal myself. Plus, I know your mentor pretty well:) I’d love to take a look! You can e-mail a query, a full synopsis, and the first 50 pages to alli@sls-submissions.com

  6. Zabé Ellor says:

    Hello! This sounds so sweet–I would love to see more! Please send the query (in the body of the email) synopsis (an attachment) and the first fifty pages (an attachment) to zrellor.books @ gmail.com (remove spaces.) Please include “PitchWars Request” in the subject line, and please only query one JDLA agent at a time!

  7. Alex Rice says:

    Would love to see this manuscript in my inbox! Please send over the full manuscript and a synopsis to me at alex.rice@caa.com, using the subject line of “Pitch Wars Query // TITLE.” If another agent at CAA also requests, please include their name in the query as well. Looking forward to reading! All my best, Alex Rice

  8. Hi, Lisa,

    Such a great concept! I love that Ari must overcome jealousy–so relatable for so many kids that age. 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). Send 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.



  9. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this manuscript! Please submit it along with a query letter here: QueryManager.com/Carlisle/PitchWars2022

    If more than one agent from Fuse Literary requests your work, please choose one of us to submit to.

    Good luck, and I look forward to reading your work.

  10. Dawn Dowdle says:


    I would like to read more. This sounds like a fun manuscript. Please go to http://www.blueridgeagency.com, click on Submissions, and then click on my name. This will provide a button to take you to Query Manager. Please complete the form and upload your first three chapters. Please mention Pitchwars for who referred you. I look forward to reading your chapters. Thank you!

    Dawn Dowdle
    Blue Ridge Literary Agency

  11. “I’d like to see more— please send query letter, full manuscript, author bio, and synopsis to EWRquery@mcintoshandotis.com. Please attach all materials as Word documents, and include “Pitch Wars” in subject line. Thanks!”

  12. Becca Langton says:

    Hi Lisa

    I loved your opener and I’m actively looking for stories that elevate Jewish voices. Please do query me through my email, becca@darleyanderson.com and include #Pitch Wars in the subject line. Darley Anderson is a well established global agency and I am so pleased to be building a US focussed list in a team that includes a Film and TV agent and a well experienced international rights team.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  13. Christa Heschke says:

    Hi Lisa!

    This sounds fantastic–my assistant Daniele and I would love to read it!

    Please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/christa_heschke/PitchWars2122

    Thank you!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  14. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hi Lisa!

    I love your voice, and as a camp kid growing up, this hits so close to home. I’d love to read your full manuscript, if you wouldn’t mind sending it to me. This link will lead you to my Query Manager, where you can upload your query, synopsis, and full manuscript: QueryManager.com/KellyPeterson/PitchWars

    Wishing you the best of luck, and hoping to see your manuscript! =)

    Warm Regards,
    Kelly Peterson
    Rees Literary Agency

  15. Kristin Ostby says:

    I’d love to see this! Please query me at https://querymanager.com/query/kristinostby! If my colleague Chelsea Eberly has also requested it, please choose one of the two of us—whomever you think would be the best fit. Thank you so much!