Alexandra Aceves

Holiday House Publishing

My Manuscript Wish List

I'm an associate editor at Holiday House. My primary focus is YA and MG fiction in prose or graphic novel format. I'm also acquiring very selectively in nonfiction picture books and narrative nonfiction for middle grade.

On the fiction side, I'm particularly interested in fresh-feeling contemporary realism, soft-genre fiction that draws from non-European traditions and/or centers protagonists from underrepresented groups, and research-grounded historical fiction with an unusual setting.

On the nonfiction side, I'm specifically looking for manuscripts with a climate or sustainability focus, a solid research backbone, a knack for explaining STEM concepts in a way that is accessible to younger readers, and an emphasis on creative solutions over scary facts. I would absolutely love to see some projects that bring to light an interesting or unusual sustainability initiative (think vertical farming, solar glass, etc.).

In general, I love:

  • Books that sell me on a tricky high-concept hook (think Adam Silvera's They Both Die at the End).
  • Books that experiment with structure, chronology, or narrative POV in interesting ways (think A. S. King's Dig).
  • Books that defy categorization and push at the boundaries between "realistic" and "speculative" (think Akwaeke Emezi's Pet).
  • Graphic novels with strong visual rhetoric and beautifully realized worlds (think Wendy Xu's Tidesong).
  • Books with a dry sense of humor (think Gary D. Schmidt).
  • Books that handle sad or difficult subjects without feeling like tragedy porn (think Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's Fighting Words).

I'm a sucker for:

  • Campus/boarding school fiction--weird or classic takes!
  • Books that take place in one night.
  • Alternate histories with a strong raison d'être.
  • Diverse Shakespeare mashups.
  • Ballet books, but only if the writing is authentic enough to convince me that the author used to be a ballet dancer.
  • Gothic, Southern Gothic, and Postcolonial Gothic fiction.

I'm actively seeking:

  • Contemporary realist or magic-realist (not genre) YA and MG--this is my top priority right now.
  • Really special graphic novels.
  • Projects that represent experiences from within the Latine/Latinx community, especially projects with Spanish translation potential.
  • Projects that represent experiences from within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially manuscripts with bi, pan, or omni protagonists.
  • Upper middle grade contemporary fiction manuscripts with protagonists who are on the older end of the MG age range (13 or 14 and in 8th grade)--ie, books that bridge the ever-widening and much neglected gap between classic MG and edgy YA.

I'm not the best fit for:

  • Books for adults--Holiday House only publishes kidlit.
  • Board books or early chapter books.
  • Bibliotherapy.
  • Books about wars, especially WWII, unless there's a very unique, compelling, or underexplored angle.
  • Gross-out humor.
  • Books with animal protagonists, or animal-themed books in general, unless they're very unconventional.
  • High fantasy manuscripts with worldbuilding grounded in Western European tradition, especially if they're a planned first installment in a series and don't stand alone.

Fun facts about me:
  • I was born in Mexico City and most of my extended family still lives in Mexico. I emigrated to the US with my parents when I was pretty young, and I've been bilingual my whole life.
  • I'm also proficient in French, which I studied from high school through graduate school.
  • Before I worked in publishing, I was a professional ballet dancer for a few years.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to aaceves@holidayhouse.com

I accept agented and unagented submissions. Please email queries to aaceves@holidayhouse.com and include #MSWL in the subject line. I prefer to see full manuscripts (for fiction) / full proposals (for nonfiction or graphic novels).

Please note Holiday House company policy regarding responding to submissions: Due to the volume of manuscripts we are receiving, Holiday House does not to respond to materials that we are not interested in publishing, and we are unable to acknowledge receipt of unagented materials. We do, however, make every effort to carefully consider each submission we receive. If we are interested in your manuscript, we will respond within four months of receiving it.


Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Editor
Fiction: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Historical, Horror, LGBTQ, Literary, Middle Grade, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
Non-Fiction: Science

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary YA, Diversity, Feminism, Gothic Horror, Historical Fantasy, Literary Middle Grade, Literary Noir, Magical Realism, Multicultural, Social Issues, Soft Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Study Abroad Stories, Urban Fantasy, upmarket genre fiction
I'd like the next...

My favorites include...

Books: 

YA: All My Rage (Sabaa Tahir). Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Sáenz).  Cemetery Boys (Aiden Thomas). Dread Nation (Justina Ireland). Elastoe (Darcie Little Badger). Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (Mariko Tamaki). Live, Laugh, Kidnap (Gaby Noone). Never Look Back (Lilliam Rivera). Permanent Record (Mary H. K. Choi). Pride (Ibi Zoboi). Sadie (Courtney Summers). Sunny G's Series of Rash Decisions (Navdeep Singh Dhillon). The Astonishing Color of After (Emily X.R. Pan). The Grief Keeper (Alexandra Villasante). We Set the Dark on Fire (Tehlor Kay Mejia). Wild Beauty (Anna-Marie McLemore). With the Fire on High (Elizabeth Acevedo).

MG: A Wish in the Dark (Christina Soontornvat). Blackbird Girls (Anne Blankman). Blancaflor (Nadja Spiegelman). Caprice (Coe Booth). Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls (Kaela Rivera). Drum Roll, Please (Lisa Jenn Bigelow).  Thanks a Lot, Universe (Chad Lucas). Miss Quinces (Kat Fajardo). Oddity (Eli Brown). Prairie Lotus (Linda Sue Park). Show Me a Sign and Set Me Free (Ann Clare LeZott). Summer of Brave (Amy Noelle Parks). The Best at It (Maulik Pancholy). The Last Cuentista (Donna Barba Hiiguera). The Line Tender (Kate Allen). The Other Half of Happy (Rebecca Balcárcel). Treasure of the World (Tara Sullivan). When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead).

Adult: A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan). Atonement (Ian McEwan). Bunny (Mona Awad). Entangled Life (Melvyn Sheldrake). In the Dream House (Carmen Maria Machado). Infinite Country (Patricia Engel). Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro). Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman). Red, White, and Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston). Severance (Ling Ma). Spineless (Juli Berwald). Such a Fun Age (Kiley Reid). The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath). The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters). The Old Drift (Namwali Serpell). The Overstory (Richard Powers). The Southern Reach Trilogy (Jeff VanderMeer). The Well of Loneliness (Radclyffe Hall). Trick Mirror (Jia Tolentino). Trust Exercise (Susan Choi). White Tears (Hari Kunzru). The six published novels of Jane Austen.

TV: Black Mirror. Succession. Fleabag. Vida. Mad Men. Stranger Things. The Great. Jeopardy. Reservation Dogs. Watchmen. The Haunting of Hill House. It's the End of the F***ing World. Sex Education. Veep. Fargo. Better Call Saul. Ted Lasso. Lovesick. Feel Good.

Movies: Any Austen or Shakespeare adaptation. Arrival. Black Swan. Center Stage. Clueless.  Coco. Enchanted. Ex-Machina. Get Out. Inside Llewyn Davis. Jurassic Park. Moonlight. Ondine. Pan’s Labyrinth. Personal Shopper. Stranger than Fiction. Ten Things I Hate About You. The Before Trilogy. The Dark Knight. The Fifth Element. The Godfather. The Hours. The Prestige. The Star Wars Trilogy. Wall-E.

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