Crystal Castro

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Manuscript Wish List®

Submission Guidelines

Hello! I’m Crystal Castro, an Assistant Editor at  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. I am so excited to be considering YA and MG fiction titles for my list! Below is an ever-evolving outline of things I’d like to see in my inbox.

I am actively seeking:


  • Character-driven narratives
  • Thrillers, mysteries, horror, fantasy, adventure
  • Debut projects from BIPOC authors (this year especially I am hoping to bring more Puerto Rican voices to LBYR!). 
  • Voicey manuscripts– I want to get a sense of the main character’s personality from the very first page!


  • Anything that feels dark and feminist. Give me girls who are angry, vengeful, and powerful. If you have something with a Bunny by Mona Awad (from the Bunnies POV), The Craft, girl-squad-that-eats-people vibe, I want it. 
  • Books about cults/cult-like groups. Bonus for dark academia vibes (think The Secret History by Donna Tartt or We Were Villians by M.L Rio, but with a punchy YA voice), or cannibalism as a metaphor for something OTHER than consumerism.
  • Books about mermaids/sirens (these could SO easily be horror!)


  • Humorous stories about middle-grade issues (puberty, friend breakups, etc.)
  • Fantasy, especially if there is some sort of school/academy element
  • Realistic, contemporary adventure
  • Quippy narrators (think Lemony Snicket!)

Things I love:

  • Sisters. 
  • The ocean. Storms.
  • Coastal aesthetics (dark and light).
  • Nature as character.
  • Rivals-to-lovers (not to be confused with enemies-to-lovers)
  • Lovers-to-rivals/enemies but they still have feelings for each other despite outside circumstances forcing them to fight on opposing sides.
  • Books that take place in a short period of time (1 day to 1 week).
  • Seeing the same event from multiple POVs.
  • Short chapters.
  • Books with BIPOC narrators that aren’t about being BIPOC. 

I am NOT looking for:

  • Adult manuscripts. I work at a children’s publisher and I am unable to consider projects for adult audiences (yes, even if they’re really good). 
  • Picture books.
  • Graphic novels.
  • Unagented submissions. 
  • Novels in verse.
  • Books with racism plot lines. 

Vital Info