I am seeking agent representation for my YA contemporary fantasy FINDING FOLKSHORE, complete at 94,000 words.

Seventeen-year-old Fola goes on a school trip into London for a university taster weekend. She’s anxious about uni because of what her parents want her to study.Also, she’s scared about leaving her brother, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, behind. Pressurised by her best friend to sneak out to a midnight tour of the British Library, she’stransported into Folkshore, a hidden part of London.

Imagine Grimm’s Fairy Tales with some extra seasoning. Rapunzel is a black teen activist sporting a shaved head, while Prince is lacking the Charming —he’s a tattooed Irish teen hellbent on decorating Folkshore’s plain walls with his animated graffiti. Let’s not forget widowed Cinderella, assertive Red Riding Hood and the police pigs trotting around. In Folkshore, time isn’t linear as it runs on a different timeline.

But Fola finds Folkshore in chaos thanks to erratic weather, riots and people mysteriously going missing. Worse still, Fola’s memories disappear. When Fola overhears a conversation between members of the local council, aka The Assembly and the mysterious Rumpelstiltskin, she discovers that the council’s regeneration campaign may be more than just unwelcome gentrification.

Fola has flashbacks and starts to piece together the life, and the sick brother, she left behind. But the main portal out of Folkshore is destroyed in astorm! With the homes and lives of her newfound friends at stake, Fola must expose the Assembly’s corruption and figure out a way home before she misses her brother’s life-or-death surgery, and the possible chance to say goodbye.

This story is A BLADE SO BLACK meets THUG. Readers who loved the themes of community and finding your voice with a badass black girl will enjoy this book. I am keen to explore the topic of gentrification in my writing because I grew up in inner London and I experienced the effects of it firsthand. Also, I haven’t read many UK YA books centred around it. This is an #ownvoices novel as both the main character and I are Nigerian.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best wishes,

Rachel Faturoti

 

Chapter 1

 

“FOLAAAAAAAA! OMOWAFOLAAA! Iwo kii yoo pa mi loni,” Mum screams.

Translation: You will not kill me today!

I can tell when she’s mad because her Yoruba starts showing. Can I ever get any peace in this house?

“I’m coming mum.”

Turning back to the mirror, I try to style my afro. It’s summer so my hair’s on a break from weaves and braids. My hair care ritual is solong. I did all the heavy lifting last night with the shampooing, conditioning, parting my afro into sections and twisting it. The end result is a twist out. As I take my hair out of the twists, black curls bounce on my dark brown skin.

“Fola, come out of the bathroom! What are you doing in there? Why must it take you so long?”

“Mum…I’m coming!”

I open the door to find mum and Bisi waiting outside.

“You’re actually wasting my time,” Bisi moans, trying to push past me into the bathroom.

I screw my face at my sister. “What are you smirking at?”

“I’m laughing at that mop on your he—”

I don’t let her finish as I swat her ear. She cries out.

Dad emerges from his bedroom, frowning. “Ah ah.” He’s dressed for work in his smart trousers and ‘strong’ shoes as he likes to call them. Dad’s shoulders are so wide that he takes up more space than me and Bisi put together. “Stop fighting. Bisi, you need to learn how to respect your elders. And Fola, stop hitting your sister. You better hurry up and get dressed if you want to drive with me!”

He shakes his head and stomps off. My dad teaches at my school, which I’m still not used to. I put on a clean Primark shirt, button it up and tuck it into my black trousers. My sixth-form took it too far. You don’t have to wear uniform in many other sixth-forms but we actually have a list of do’s and don’ts on what to wear.

I fix my hair in our full-length mirror, loving the way the tendrils fall around my face like a flower blossoming. Maybe I should start a YouTube channel about hair? Yeah, nah — forget that! I’ll just get drowned out by all the other YouTubers.

Once I’m done, I follow the sweet smell of yam and eggs down the narrow corridor. Sometimes I swear this house feels bare small for the six of us, but at least it’s bigger than that flat we had in London. I guess moving to Kent wasn’t that bad — actually nah, I’m still sharing a room with Bisi. My older brother Deji and my younger brother Roti still share too. Why did we move again?

I continue down the orange corridor with plaques of Bible verses all over the walls. The ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ one is always crooked. Stopping at Deji’s closed door, I raise my hand to knock but change my mind.