Sally was six years old when she watched her drunken father murder her older brother and their mother. The event not only landed her in an orphanage, but left her with a broken mind. Unable to deal with the reality of her past, she stored the memories away in an imaginary friend, Johnny.
Four years later a psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Gray adopts Sally from the orphanage. Instead of becoming the father that Sally had always dreamed of, Dr. Gray studies Sally and her relationship with Johnny by indulging Sally’s delusions that Johnny is real. However, before Dr. Gray can diagnose or even attempt to cure Sally, Samuel, her sadistic father, escapes from prison.
While attempting to cope with the return of Samuel, Sally and Johnny befriend a kind elderly woman who provides them with the accepting and protective atmosphere necessary for them to at last confront the truth about the past. Finally safe and cared for, Sally is able to release her imaginary friend and safety blanket, Johnny.
On Our Own is a 62,000-word work of fiction that follows the journey of an imaginary boy as he struggles to come to terms with being imaginary and protect the girl who’s memories he holds from harm.
A: Does that make sense, or are you lost by the end?
B: Is it too dark?
C: Is that too much explanation? Or still vague?
If he's imaginary, then he doesn't have any self-awareness, everything he is comes from her, and he can never be more than a figment of her imagination. However, if you're going to take this into the paranormal, then I could see him having self-direction.
It's much better than the first go, no doubt. Much clearer. Good job.
It's not dark at all.
Just about the right amount of explanation.
But there are other problems.
"Sally and Johnny befriend a kind elderly woman"...tell me how this woman befriends someone who doesn't exist. Johnny doesn't "struggle" with anything; it's Sally who struggles and manifests that struggle in her imaginary friend. The book is not about the journey of Johnny, but of Sally. Johnny is a non-entity. Do you need to talk to Dr. Gray? Lol.
Sally is not “attempting to cope with the return of Samuel”. She’s trying to dodge the craziness and possible wrath of a fugitive until the authorities capture him and put him back where he belongs, right? He has not “returned”, he’s on the run.
Use better verbs. That last sentence is pretty poorly constructed and untrue. Read it when I address all those problems and cut it by about 25%:
Sally was six years old when she witnessed her drunken father murder her brother and mother. The event not only landed her in an orphanage, but unhinged her mind. She stored the horrible memories away in an imaginary friend named Johnny.
Four years later, a psychiatrist named Dr. Gray adopts Sally, but instead of becoming the father she desires, he studies Sally and her relationship with Johnny by indulging her delusion that Johnny is real. However, before Dr. Gray can diagnose Sally, her sadistic father escapes from prison.
While hiding from her father, Sally befriends a kind, elderly woman who accepts and protects her long enough for Sally to confront the truth about her past. At last, Sally can release her imaginary friend Johnny and embrace reality.
On Our Own is a 62,000-word novel that follows the journey of an young girl who learns it’s good to lean on trustworthy friends on the rough road of life…even imaginary ones.
To be honest, your query sounded good - nearly good enough for me to be interested - but then when I got to the last line, it grabbed me:
"On Our Own is a 62,000-word work of fiction that follows the journey of an imaginary boy as he struggles to come to terms with being imaginary and protect the girl who’s memories he holds from harm."
It's about the imaginary boy!?!?! WOWZA! There's your hook. I haven't seen that done. If you send this query to an agent they'll never make it to the last line, though - because your plot doesn't sound up-to-scratch. It doesn't seem like an awful lot happens - they're in an orphanage, they're adopted, then a kind woman looks after them. If it's a character-driven novel (which I'm guessing it is) then don't write a plot-driven query. Because it doesn't hold water. Write a character-driven query, and pull out what makes your book different and awesome (IMAGINARY FRICKING PROTAG!!!) and put it at the beginning:
Johnny has spent his life protecting Sally. In the cramped, filthy orphanage which has become their home, he protects her from the darkness and terror of the outside world. But Johnny can't protect Sally forever, because although he doesn't know it, Johnny doesn't exist.
That's what I'd run with. I'd keep reading that query. Just a suggestion.