I have a new query that has been generating some feedback from agents:
I have an 83,000-word YA novel set in Oakland, California called JULIA MILAN AND THE CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES, about an overshadowed 14-year-old named Julia who agrees to help her dying grandmother solve the mystery of young Max Carter – her grandmother’s first love – who vanished without a trace 75 years ago. With help from an old diary, a peculiar new classmate from Perth, Australia, and an unusual mausoleum designed by the architect of Hearst Castle, Julia digs up a haunting piece of her grandmother’s past, exposing a dangerous secret that startles local historians. Finally, Julia feels as special as her precocious younger sister, but when Max’s story threatens the safety of Julia’s family, Julia wonders if being exceptional is worth all the trouble.
I like this paragraph a lot. I took out all the fantasy elements, dropped the urban fantasy label, and gave the book more of a "mystery" feel. We'll see if that does the trick. I've sent out 120 queries and plan to send another 80 more if I have to. I'm not stopping until I get an agent, damn it!