Thursday, 18 July 2013


Twelve year old Aria Miller knows that her family is unusual. Not only are her parents hippies who burn incense, listen to folk music, and wear sandals in all weather, but they also have a monster living in their basement.

When their monster gets out of control one night, Aria's mother decides to move their family, monster and all, to the Hawthorne Asylum for Mythological Healing and Education, a commune deep in the woods of northern Maine. Aria hopes it's a chance to start over and meet other kids like her. Other kids with monsters.

At Hawthorne, Aria finds friends including Kelvin, an unusual boy who walks with a mysterious limp and obsessively studies the science and mechanics of butterflies, and Genie, a beautiful but jaded girl who’s had a few too many run-ins with a manticore.

But The Hawthorne Asylum, with its bizarre No Sacrifice Left Behind standardized tests, lotus medication, and enigmatic leader, Dr. Worms, may be doing more harm than good. And, for Aria and her friends, survival might just mean learning to leave their monsters behind.

Loosely based on the myth of Ariadne, THE TRUTH ABOUT MONSTERS is a middle grade novel, complete at 60,000 words, that will appeal to fans of Roald Dahl’s THE BFG and Adam Rex’s THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY.

Excerpt: (first 500 words)


You ask me why I won’t talk about what happened.  Maybe you think I’m trying to keep the whole thing a secret. Well, I’m not. I sit there in your office, and I tell myself to tell you everything. I think in my head, Talk, Aria! Talk! But I end up just playing with my hair, looking for split ends in the long wavy strands, and I hear the hiss of the radiator behind your desk, and I watch the dust storms swirling in the sunlight through the window. And the words don’t come.

You tell me that it doesn't matter what I say. You just want to hear my voice. Well, maybe it’s listening that’s the problem. I’ve been lied to so many times. Maybe I’m just tired of listening to people. Besides, half of the things I say won’t be true. Not because I’m lying but because I’ve totally lost my sense of what’s real.

So I’m writing you this letter instead.

First, before you read any further, please see the enclosed brochure. It is an advertisement for the Hawthorne Asylum. In one frame, I appear wearing a torn white dress, fleeing, barefoot and terrified, from an angry Minotaur. In the next, the Minotaur and I sit together beneath a tree. He’s gazing down at me, loving, trusting, and protective, a model brother. In the final frame, the Minotaur, now noticeably more tanned, toned, and relaxed, plays tennis, a doubles match, with a Cyclops and two Sirens. The text reads:

At the Hawthorne Asylum, you don’t have to leave your monsters behind. Whoever you are, however fearsome your myth, we will support and embrace you. Here, you and your monsters can stay together. Forever.



It’s easy to spot a kid whose been living with a monster. We are the quiet ones, the ones with dark circles under our eyes and our hands pulled into our sleeves, the ones looking down at our desks when the teacher asks a question, long messy hair falling over our faces.  You see, once a monster chooses you, it expects to become a part of your family, and you’d better just start setting a place for it at the dinner table. Trust me. You don’t have a choice. Anyway, you’ll find yourself becoming strangely attached to your monster. Even as you hate him, even as you fear him, even as you take flying leaps into your bed at night, terrified that he will bite your toes and pull you into the dark shadows below, you know that he is a part of you.

It happened to all of us. Over time, the monsters in our families became our siblings and our friends. We felt protective of them and flattered that they chose us. The truth about our monsters was that we loved them.

Our monster was a minotaur which meant that he had the body of a human and the head of a bull. He had the horns and hooves and everything.


  1. Please send me the full manuscript at submissions at foxliterary dot com with the title and the words "XMas in July Request" in the subject line. Thanks, and I look forward to reading!

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun, I'd love to read further! Could you email me the complete manuscript, along with some more information about yourself? Should be sent to lcarson at friedrichagency dot com with "xmas in July" in the subject line.

  3. Brianne Johnson18 July 2013 at 16:39

    Great concept. I'd love to read more! Please send the full MS along to bjohnson at writershouse dot com. Thanks--excited to take a look!

  4. I'd love to read the full manuscript! Could you please send the ms, and the original query letter, to me directly at adriann [at]

    Thank you!

  5. I love this pitch! Could you please email your query and the manuscript to mverma at Look forward to reading!

  6. Tracey and Josh Adams of Adams Literary would like to see the full manuscript! (They're on the road and having difficulty commenting on an iPad!)

    Please send the full manuscript to both and with Xmas in July in the subject line.


  7. Great pitch and first pages! I'd love to see more. Please feel free to send me the query, a short bio, and the full manuscript at Please write “requested” and “Xmas in July” in the subject line. Thanks!

    Lara Perkins
    Andrea Brown Literary Agency

  8. This sounds perfectly quirky, and I would love to read more! Please send your first 50 pages as an attachment to info (at)—copy your query in the body of the email and put “Xmas in July requested material for Logan” as your subject. Thanks!

    All best,
    The Gernert Company

  9. Oh my goodness, I love this. Can you send the query and full manuscript to Thank you so much! - Victoria Marini

  10. Love the concept and the voice!!!

  11. Wonderful entry. Voice is great. Love the idea of the monster choosing the kid and the kid having no choice but to get on board. I mean, how do you say "no thanks" to a minotaur? Good luck with your requests!

  12. Request from agent Gemma Cooper!

    'Full please to with XmasInJuly in header.'


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