Lee Kelly

Lee Kelly

March 12, 2015

LeeKelly2This query letter resulted in a contract with agent Adrian Ranta of Wolf Literary Services and Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for her debut novel CITY OF SAVAGES–available February 3, 2015.


Dear Ms. Ranta,

I read on Publishers Marketplace that you are currently seeking young adult fiction, and have a particular fondness for dark stories with unique settings rooted in the real world.  I thought you might be interested in my YA crossover novel, MANHATTAN SAVAGES, a prison-escape thriller steeped in family secrets and betrayals.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp ruled by Central Park warden and city native, Mary Rolladin.  For 17-year old Skyler Miller, Manhattan is just a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders.  But for Sky’s 16-year old sister, Phee, the P.O.W. camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the outbreak of the war, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan – and their mother – than either of them had ever imagined.  And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual P.O.W. census, the girls grow desperate to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets.  Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that ends in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards.  Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strangers on an escape mission through Manhattan.  Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.

While primarily a thriller, MANHATTAN SAVAGES is also a story about the many meanings of sisterhood, told across two generations of New York women – those who survived a terrible tragedy, and those who were raised to live in its aftermath.

I am an active member of the SCBWI, and was a news writer prior to trying my hand at writing fiction.  MANHATTAN SAVAGES is my first novel, complete at 100,000 words.  Per your submission guidelines, I have attached the first fifty pages below.  Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to hear from you.


Lee Kelly