Oct 28, 2015

NoQS Monster 15 - Jar of Hearts, YA Mystery w/ elements of Fant.

Name: Melanie Stanford
Twitter Handle: @MelMStanford
Genre: YA Mystery with a hint of Fantasy
Word Count: 74K

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession Is:

My main character’s most fearsome obsession is theater. She wants nothing more than to be on stage under the spotlight. She loves to sing, she loves attention, and she constantly dreams of people applauding her and showering her with love. Even though she’s applying to NYU, she’s secretly hoping she’ll be discovered and go straight from high school to Broadway. What she doesn’t know is that someone else’s most fearsome obsession is her.


Someone is stealing hearts. Literally.

Seventeen-year-old Trevi doesn’t know this. All she cares about is escaping her mom’s operatic shadow by nailing the part of Christine in her high school’s production of The Phantom of the Opera.

But getting the part isn’t all she thought it would be. Her Phantom is a secretive boy who might be responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s mysterious disappearance. Her Raoul is a tatted-up jerk who doesn’t even want to be in the musical. At least there’s Hudson, the adorkable rich boy who is painting sets just to be near her. Now if she could just stop obsessing about the boy behind the Phantom mask.

Trevi doesn’t want to think about anything other than Phantom—not college, not the father she’s never met, and definitely not the mean girl who starts acting strange. When this girl goes monster truck in the school parking lot, smashing cars and searching for something she’s lost, Trevi begins to uncover clues about several other girls at school who have gone crazy. Evidence points to the three boys revolving around her world. If Trevi doesn’t discover what really happened to the girls and who’s behind it, her heart will be next.

First 250:


I don’t carry my hearts with me. They are too noticeable. I keep them in clear glass jars of different shapes and sizes. They sit on a shelf in a special room, a special place. Right now I have four. All different.

All beautiful.

All mine.

I don’t steal them. They’re gifted to me, and I take good care of them, my hearts. My beautiful hearts.

All different. All mine.

Whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling.


I’ve never understood why people don’t like random bursts of song. As if life without spontaneous singing is any kind of life at all. When you move around as much I have, it’s only natural to announce your presence on the first day of school with a loud and perfectly on pitch, “I’m here!” This year, on my first day at Camden High, I barely managed to refrain. I blame England. I went to the American School in London last year and went from interesting new girl to social pariah on my first day thanks to my lunchtime rendition of “All that Jazz.”

But I’m a few weeks into school in Connecticut and no longer the new girl. Now announcing my presence is just necessary.

“I’m here!” I sing in my best opera voice, my hands clutched to my breast. Madeleine pantomimes sticking her finger down her throat.

Katie takes my hands in hers and sings back, “Welcome!” Her voice wobbles, then cracks, and she blushes, eyes darting to see if anyone heard.


  1. Shriek! Please send to mallory@triadaus.com with the pitch in the body of the email! Thank you!!

  2. Shriek! Please send the requested pages as a Word or PDF attachment to querysara (at) fuseliterary (dot) com, including "NoQS" in the subject line with your query letter in the email body. Look forward to reading!


    Please do email the full manuscript and query letter to the email address in my signature line.

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