Not After Everything was the third manuscript Michelle Levy queried. Her previous manuscript got more (a lot more) requests but ultimately ended in seventy-nine agent rejections—it was a paranormal and paranormal wasn’t selling anymore.
In addition to traditional querying, Michelle was also a member of YALitChat, which, at the time, offered paying members forums to critique query letters, first chapters, and synopses, as well as a chance to submit to a panel of agents.
Michelle started another manuscript with a brilliant query. When all was said and done she had fifty-one agent rejections, four full requests, and two offers of representation (one via YALitChat) for Not After Everything which was repped by Laura Bradford and sold to Dial/Penguin.
Michelle’s takeaway advice: Keep writing the next one so you don’t stress about the one you’re querying. And then, worst case scenario, if you think you’ve exhausted all options, query the next one. Just keep swimming.
Dear Ms. Bradford,
When seventeen-year-old Tyler Blackwell came home from summer football training to get a change of socks and some Advil, the last thing he expected to find was his mom floating in a bathtub full of bloody water. She didn’t even bother to leave a note. And she left him alone to deal with his abusive, asshole father who now refuses to give him money for extravagant things like clothes and shoes and food. Disillusioned, Tyler fumbles through school with minimal effort and a complete disregard for maintaining his 4.3 GPA. He had planned to go to Stanford, but that was his mom’s dream and she didn’t have the guts to see it through so why the hell should he?
Thanks to dear old Dad’s refusal to feed him, Tyler is forced to work with Jordyn – an estranged childhood friend turned goth chick with a chip on her shoulder. Jordyn refuses to tiptoe around Tyler’s situation, which he finds refreshing. So when she begins to show interest, he’s unable and unwilling to stop himself from acting on his feelings. However, Jordyn’s patience with Tyler’s self-destructive behavior only stretches so far. She begs him to stop throwing everything he’s worked for away just because he’s pissed at his mom. But pushing him too hard might only make him follow in her footsteps.
A NECESSARY END, an edgy YA contemporary in the vein of Gayle Forman’s Where She Went, is complete at approximately 85,000 words.
I am a member of SCBWI. I live in Los Angeles with a very old pug and a giant cat, and I spend the rest of my time wrangling a whole different breed of animals: actors. (I work as a casting director for film and television.)
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Praise for Not After Everything:
“Tough and uncompromising . . . The voice of a real teen searching for answers while walking a razor-thin fence between salvaging what remains or throwing it all away . . . Raw and unforgettable.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Levy has delivered a dramatic narrative that manages to be tragic and intense, but ultimately hopeful. The protagonists are fully developed and three-dimensional teens and their story is captivating.” –School Library Journal
“Believable dialogue and emotions—especially Tyler’s simmering rage at the outset of the novel—make this a solid first showing.” –Publishers Weekly
“If you never thought a single book could make you laugh, cry, scream, ache, throw things at the wall, and then beg for more, the you’re never read Not After Everything. Michelle Levy doesn’t just join the all-star pool of contemporary young adult authors, she rises straight to the top.” –Jessica Brody, bestselling author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and theUnremembered trilogy.
“One of the best young adult novels I’ve ever read.” –Jennifer Echols, award winning author of Endless Summer and Forget You