Some great news about a good writer!

Once again, I find myself in the delightful position of having excellent news to report: please join me in a gigantic round of applause for wonderful writer and fun human being Phoebe Kitanidis, who has just sold her YA novel, WHISPER, to Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins. Congratulations and many happy returns of the achievement, Phoebe!

It couldn’t happen to a nicer person, either. Those of you who attended the late lamented Pitch Practicing Palace at the Conference-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named may remember Phoebe — she was one of the generous and intrepid agented writers who kindly agreed to spend three solid days listening to conference attendees’ pitches and giving useful feedback.

Strong girls who read may already be familiar Phoebe’s nonfiction work, including her recently-released Fab Girls’ Guide to Friendship Hardship. This little gem sounds like a book I would have LOVED to have had in my hot little hands in junior high school:

In kindergarten, friendship was easy. She’d set her snack down next to another little girl, and by the end of recess, they’d be the best of friends. Fast-forward to middle school and suddenly fashion matters, mean girls rule, and everyone wants to join the coolest clique. Now more than ever, she needs best friends forever — girls who knew her better than anyone and who stick by her no matter what. Whether she’s stuck in a fading friendship, caught in the popularity trap, or dealing with mean girls, the Fab Girls Guide to Friendship Hardship will break down the solutions to her friendship problems step by step. Best of all, it will teach her how to free herself from poisonous friendships forever and be the best friend she can be. Soon, she’ll be on her way to meeting new people and making room for friends who truly respect and understand her … because she deserves nothing less!

WHISPER — due out in the summer of 2010, to give those of you new to the game some idea of the usual time lapse between sale and publication — is Phoebe’s first YA novel, and it sounds like a hoot. Since I’m always eager to show my readers good examples of brief (say, query letter-length) synopses, here’s how Publishers’ Marketplace describes it:

A 16-year-old can hear wishes — every woman in her family can – but for her older sister, this gift is a curse, and when her sister runs off, trying to find a way to get rid of her power, the girl is the only one who has the ability to find her.

That’s a heck of a book keynote, isn’t it? Phoebe’s own description is even better, I think:

It’s a teen paranormal about a girl named Joy who is the ultimate people-pleaser. Joy can psychically hear other people’s secret wishes–from “gee, I’d wish I had a glass of water” to (later in the book) the darkest of human desires.

Come on, admit it — if were Millicent and saw that in a query letter, you’d immediately ask for the manuscript, wouldn’t you?

Congratulations again, Phoebe, and I’m looking forward to announcing your book’s publication here on Author! Author!

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