Publishers Weekly gave STARFISH a starred review! They wrote, “In an empowering novel that will speak to many mixed-race teens, debut author Bowman has created a cast of realistically complex and conflicted characters.” You can read the full review here if you’re interested.

Needless to say, I’m so excited I’m borderline vomiting rainbows. Is that a weird thing to say? Probably.* Basically, I’m thrilled beyond words. Thank you, Publishers Weekly!

*NOTE: Okay, I re-read it. It was weird.

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The Pitch Wars blog hop goes live in a few days (ahhh!), and while I was scrolling through the hashtag, I noticed some of the mentors sharing their old query letters. I decided to join in and post the one I submitted for I AM THETA, just in case it’s any help to those of you currently in the querying trenches. This is the query letter that ultimately found me an agent. (Random side note: This manuscript didn’t end up selling, but it did go through some massive changes, including a change in terms. “Pirates” eventually became “bounty hunters,” and “Shadows” became “Glitches.”)

 

Query Letter for I AM THETA:

Being a pirate might make seventeen-year-old Theta Belacour a mercenary, but with a twelve-year-old brother to care for in a world that is not kind to poor, orphaned children, she doesn’t have much choice.

Hired by the government to track down Shadows—psychically enhanced people who have been deemed a danger to society—pirates are expert hackers, lethal with a gun, and the exact cover Theta needs to protect her younger brother. When an altercation exposes him as a Shadow, Theta defects from the dangerous organization and will stop at nothing to keep her brother safe.

Hunted by the people she once worked for, Theta and her brother are two of the most wanted people in the city. Knowing the only place her brother will be safe is with others like himself, Theta tracks down the Shadow refugees who have gone into hiding. When the handsome Noah Atlas welcomes them into the refugee camp, Theta realizes the only way to survive is to hide the truth about who she really is. As she grows closer to Noah, she becomes attached to the new life her cover provides her—a life that doesn’t just revolve around being her brother’s protector. But when the pirates begin closing in on their elusive hiding place, her fresh start is jeopardized, and Theta must find a way to stop them before her true identity is revealed.

I AM THETA is a 75,000 word Young Adult fiction with futuristic and sci-fi elements. It is a stand-alone novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Sincerely,

Akemi Dawn Bowman

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I am so excited to announce that STARFISH is a Junior Library Guild selection! I genuinely don’t have words. Thank you thank you thank you to JLG for this honor. My heart feels like it’s going to explode, but in the best way possible!

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Barnes & Noble is talking about STARFISH and I just face-planted on the floor. They even said it’s “being tipped for its gorgeous prose and resonant emotional landscape,” and seriously I can hardly breathe. Thank you so much B&N Teen Blog for including STARFISH on this incredible list!

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