Okay, first of all, sorry I'm late. I had to stick around at home this morning, and wait to find out whether school was closed in our county (it is). Having grown up in Minnesota, it's a little ridiculous to see school closings simply because the temperature drops below freezing, but I suppose when the community has no cold weather infrastructure (ice/salt trucks, plows) it does make some sense.
Anyway, let's get back to work. Here is Christine's query again, this time with my feedback, in blue.
Junior year sucks for Sadie Perkins, this is an independent clause. she creates a dream world (hot guy included) to escape her far-from-perfect life, but when monsters try to enslave her, she must fight to leave her growing nightmare alive. Okay, so you've got some very cool elements here, but this isn't really working for me as your opening hook. First of all, we don't know anything about Sadie, except that she's a girl, and a junior. The fact that her year sucks means nothing, because we all know high school sucks for everyone. Moreover, we don't have any understanding of the logistics of this dream world, or how literally you mean what you're saying here.
Does Sadie have the power to literally create a dream-like world? If there are monsters trying to enslave her (and not just in her nightmares when she's sleeping), and they're actually threatening her life, then it sounds like she does. How did she get this power? How does it work? Is it only a curse, or are there some elements of blessing to it as well?
Falling through the ground and waking up in the world of your dreams ruled by the hottest guy around would seem awesome if your ex wasn’t with you. It makes more sense now, as you start to expand on this concept, but do you see how the vagueness leaves the rules of your world making no sense in the opening paragraph? Seriously, trying to figure out how to get accepted by your parents is hard enough, but when you are asked to stay in a world you dreamed up with a super hot guy, this is the third time you've mention Nameless Hot Guy. Normally I'm all good with not naming too many characters in a query, but now I'm starting to wonder. Should you name him? Maybe. But I think you should definitely say a bit more about him. He rules the dream world? How so? Like a king or something? the decision can be harder than you might think, especially when he may swipe your imagination(,) making you a slave(,) or you just might flat out die.
Sadie must resist the temptation of her dream world, why? It seems mostly horrible. You may need flesh it out more, so we can understand why whether to leave or stay is such a sadistic choice. and face the reality of her real one before the Dream Thieves catch up to her. Now this I like. Brief, succinct specificity is at the heart of most good queries.
DREAM THIEVES is a young adult paranormal novel with fantasy elements, complete at 70,000 words. I am an active member of SCBWI.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
The rest of this is perfect.
Now, to summarize. Your query has some awesome elements, but you really need to work on explaining the logistics better. The writing is strong, the stakes and conflict build to what I'm sure will be an excellent choice at the end, once you can explain how this other world works.
It's your story, so how to go about it is up to you, but I would suggest you make it clearer right up front how this wold connects to Sadie's dreams, how much control she has over it's creation (you say "she creates a dream world (hot guy included) to escape her far-from-perfect life" in the beginning, but then it seems like she doesn't have control), and how exactly she enters it (and how or whether she is able to leave at will). The other world sounds cool (hot guy included), but with all your stakes and conflict tied to it, we need it to be clear that it's not just a dream (unless, you know, it is).
Finally, more about Sadie in the opening would be great. We can infer a bit about her character from her struggling with being a junior, and her choice to escape her troubles by dreaming (in other words, she's probably not the assertive, alpha personality type), but you could add another word or two of characterization here and there, and that would really help us sympathize with her from the get go.
So, what do you all think? Are you as confused by this dream world as I am, or am I missing something?