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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.
YA #41: DROWN THE MERMAIDS (Contemporary)
Kaitlin Bartlett
Mentored by:
Jamie Howard
Book Title:
Drown the Mermaids
2018 Entries
Word Count:


Best friends and co-captains become enemies when swim star, Laurel, unexpectedly quits the team due to her escalating panic attacks, abandoning Sloane with no explanation. As rumors burn hotly through the hallways and cyberbullying takes center stage, the girls learn one of the hardest lessons of all: some friendships don’t sink or swim — they drown.

Laurie Devore meets TINY PRETTY THINGS.



I am underwater and the hands on me are iron. Unyielding. I cannot rise. I’m thrashing, chest on fire. Clawing at skin, at arms, at ribcages. Ripping at bathing suit straps.

I used to think I was a mermaid.

From my first swim lesson onward, my mother joked about it. How she had to drag me out of the water when it was time to leave the pool. I moved more swiftly, breathed easier while swimming.  My mind cleared underneath the surface, the dull roar of water pressed against my ears.

Just me and the water. That was all I thought I needed.

But mermaids always swim in packs.

Fingers twist in my hair and shove me farther down, toward the black stripes marking the racing lanes at the pool’s bottom. I’ve stared at those lines through pinched tight goggles countless times. Today they blur, chlorine scalding my eyes.

I think about mermaids who lured sailors to the water with intoxicating voices and then wrecked their ships against the rocks. I should have plugged my ears the day a man in a Watson-Grant swim jacket approached me in middle school and said, “I hear you swim fast.” And again when my co-captain linked our high-five fingers and swore we’d be an unstoppable pair. Best friends.

I used to think I was a mermaid. But really? I was the prey they enticed closer. The thing they were waiting to drown.

13 responses to “YA #41: DROWN THE MERMAIDS (Contemporary)”

  1. Jess Dallow says:

    Hi Kaitlin,

    This sounds awesome! I’d love to take a look at the full manuscript. Can you send it – as well as your query letter – to me at jess@browerliterary.com with PITCH WARS and your title in the subject? Thanks! Can’t wait to read.

  2. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds wonderful – I would love an opportunity to consider! Can you please send the query letter and manuscript to queries@parkfine.com with “Pitch Wars submission – Pete Knapp” in the subject? Thank you!

  3. Colleen Oefelein says:

    Hi Kaitlin,

    I’d love to read this! Please see my bio at JDLit.com, and if you’d like, please send your query + synopsis pasted into the body of an email with your full attached to: colleen@adventurewrite.com with the subject, #PitchWars – DROWN THE MERMAIDS .

    If more than one agent from JDLA requests your manuscript, please feel free to submit to the best fit.

    Thank you and looking forward to reading!
    Colleen Oefelein

  4. Natascha Morris says:

    Hello Kaitlin,

    I love your voice here and I love books about friendships! I feel like I might need to have tissues handy. If you would like to send me your manuscript, I would love to read it. You can upload it here: QueryMe.online/1067/PitchWars2019.

    Thank you!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  5. Ginger Clark says:

    Hi, I would love to see this. Please send the full manuscript as an attachment (a PDF, RTF, or Word Document is fine) to my email address which is gc@cbltd.com . Please include “Pitchwars 2019 Request” in the subject line. Thank you very much.

  6. Zabé Ellor says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to see more! Please send the query, synopsis, and first 30 pages to me via QueryManager (http://queryme.online/ZabeEllor)

    If more than one JDLA agent requests your project, please submit to the one you feel will be the best fit!

  7. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Kaitlin,

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

    All best,

  8. Katelyn Uplinger says:

    I would love to take a closer look at this. Please send the full manuscript and synopsis via my Pitch Wars form please: QueryMe.online/QueryKatelyn/PitchWars

  9. Jessica Errera says:

    Hello Kaitlin! I would love to see the first three chapters/synopsis of DROWN THE MERMAIDS. If you could email them to jerrera(at)janerotrosen(dot)com–pasted into the body and please mention PitchWars in the subject–that’d be great!

  10. Erin Harris says:

    Dear Kaitlin,

    Erin Harris at Folio here. What an opening! Loved it. Please send the first 50 pages of your ms to eharris@foliolit.com, using the subject line “Pitch Wars Submission.”

    Looking forward!

  11. Stacey Donaghy says:

    Hi Kaitlyn,
    This sounds amazing! I would love to read the full MS.
    Please send your query to http://queryme.online/Stacey_PITCHWARS
    Be sure to add #PitchWars In front of your book title on the query form. Once your query arrives, I will request the full!
    All the best,

  12. Hi Kaitlin,

    After reading your pitch and excerpt, I would love to read more of this story! If you’re interested in submitting to me, please go to QueryMe.Online/SavannahBrooks and follow the instructions for how to do so. In the title space, please put “Pitch Wars: [your manuscript title]” so I can keep track of your submission. You can paste exactly what you submitted here in the corresponding categories. After you submit, you’ll receive and automated message saying I’ll be back in touch within six weeks, but I’ll be back in touch within two.

    If more than one JD Lit agent requests from you, please feel free to submit to the agent you think is the best fit, and we’ll exchange materials among ourselves.


  13. Annie Hwang says:

    Please send query letter in the body of the email and attach the full manuscript and a brief 1-2 page synopsis as word docs with the subject line: Pitch Wars: [Title]. You may send to me at: annie@foliolit.com. Thanks so much, I look forward to seeing more!