Examine Great High-Concept Hooks for Children's Books

Author:
Publish date:

Whether you're writing a kids novel, adult genre novel or screenplay, you're ahead of the pack if you have a good "hook." By that, I mean a story that is easily summarized in one, intriguing sentence (a logline).

Teen writer Jay Asher recently went through the Fall 2009 preview in Publishers Weekly, examining upcoming titles for teens (mostly YA, it appears) and then posted his choices for the most interesting books coming out. After looking over the list, I immediately noticed that almost ALL these books have an amazing hook. They're great ideas for stories - plain and simple. If you ever wondered what constituted a good hook or high-concept story, read Jay's picks below (then visit his blog) and you will start to get a sense of how to pique an agent's and reader's mind with just a one-sentence logline.

Image placeholder title

Jay's suspense novel for teens,
Th1rteen R3asons Why, is
available now.


EXAMPLE OF GOOD HOOKS

Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman. A high school underdog’s tarot card readings become strangely accurate.

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. A teen falls in love with the genie sent to grant her three wishes.

Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix centers on a young TV star who can hear whatever anyone in the world says about her.

DupliKate by Cherry Cheva. An overscheduled teen starts seeing double: suddenly there are two of her.

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer centers on a matchmaking barista who links up her friends based on their coffee orders.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev centers on a girl who lives in a magical theater inhabited by characters from every play ever written.

Ex-mas by Kate Brian. Two teens embark on an unexpected vacation when they learn that their younger siblings have gone off to save Santa.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Valerie’s boyfriend opens fire in the school cafeteria, killing students who were on a list she unknowingly helped create.

I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb. A boy discovers it’s easier to make a fortune and dominate the world than convince his classmates to like him.

Legacy by Tom Sniegoski. A teen discovers his deadbeat father is actually a superhero.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey tells of an orphan who is an assistant to a doctor specializing in monster hunting.

Nelly the Monster Sitter by Kes Gray, illus. by Stephen Hanson, introduces a girl who “monster sits” after school.

Powerless by Matthew Cody. A boy learns that his friends are superheroes who mysteriously lose their powers when they turn 13.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund offers a fantasy about killer unicorns and the teenage girls who must hunt them down.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Sam spends his summers as a human and winters as a wolf.

The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow by Tim Kehoe, illus. by Guy Travis and Mike Wohnoutka. A boy who creates his own toys has a chance encounter with an eccentric toy inventor.

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser. High school students mysteriously disappear after being mentioned in a blog.


Want more on this topic?

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a "from where you're sitting" poem.

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Writer and editor Matthew Daddona explains how to easily create tension in your poems and how that adds weight to your message.

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

Natalie Lund: On Grief and Unanswered Questions in YA Fiction

YA author Natalie Lund shares how she handles the subject of death for a YA audience in her latest novel The Sky Above Us.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Lucky and/or Unlucky poem.

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

What Is a Plotter in Writing?

The world of storytelling can be broken into many categories and sub-categories, but one division is between plotter and pantser. Learn what a plotter means in writing and how they differ from pantsers here.

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Waist vs. Waste (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of waist vs. waste on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Bridget Foley: On Writing Psychologically Potent Metaphors

Novelist Bridget Foley explains the seed that grew into her latest book Just Get Home and how she stayed hopeful in the face of rejection.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a six words poem.