Emily Forney

BookEnds Literary

My Manuscript Wish List®

Currently Seeking


  • A kid-friendly Drunk History-esque humor book about hidden histories.

  • Black stories about Black women in the vein of Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary. A montage of impactful women, mottos, and teachings. An artistic collage of Black culture.

  • Stories about community (gardening, bodegas, neighborhoods that feel alive).

  • Cozy, Addams Family-like stories with spooks, monsters, especially mythology and lore from non-western cultures. I love monsters that can be read year long and don’t need to have a seasonal window.

  • Books that have the impact of a Carl Sagan theory, but with kid appropriate humor and whimsy. I love science books in the picture book space, but they need to have the ability to be extra unique and whimsical, I know, the irony. Make science feel like magic.

  • Stories about food and identity.

  • Book about tattoos and a cultural significance of tattoos, explorations of symbols or names in various cultures, fictional arcs of festivals and ceremonies.

  • Narrators like Louise Belcher and kids who threaten to burn down summer camps, characters who want to (and do) eat other characters, and sassy protagonists who are kind of the worst.

  • Strong non-fiction that goes outside of just the simple biography. It’s somehow an interdisciplinary approach to history and tackles big ideas with a grounded and strong hook.

In middle grade fiction:​

  • Adventure stories with a lot of movement, exploration, but also have solid grounding in the heart and emotions of the kids within the story. I love Rick Riordan-type novels rooted in epic adventures, cultural retellings, trickster gods, and mythology and lore brought into our time.

  • Something spooky, without horror, and a lot of fun twists. This includes stories where the paranormal and the supernatural are not the traditional villains and can be the protagonists or the everyday character. Books in this vein that I love are Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega, Eva Evergreen series by Julie Abe, The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

  • Camp stories or settings that place several characters in one environment to explore their arcs in.

  • Paranormal and fantasy stories in which the strange is “normal.” Think The Addams Family. I want a supernatural or paranormal Gilmore Girls town with the humor and energy of Disney’s The Owl House. I would love towns full of spooks and magic, tea shops and hotels that hum with energy of their own, and ghostly encounters on the regular. Think of me as a less artsy Tim Burton and more of his cozy, colorful counterpart.

  • Cozy Studio Ghibli-esque stories that feel warm, have a quiet magic, and have such rich environments that are beautiful and lush, similarly to Raiani LaRocca’s Midsummer’s Mayhem.

  • Genre fiction with MCs with disabilities, but their disability is NOT a twist, a fixation for someone abled, or in any way a “someone needs to learn to love someone else with. a disability” story.

  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-like stories about friendship. I would love to see contemporary stories with an ensemble cast in which we spend time with several characters and points of view. I’d love to see nostalgic stories that show off friendships and nuanced, diverse experiences of young people who believe their connection is a sacred bond. Think The Babysitter’s Club or the Camp Confidential series.

  • Coming of age contemporary stories with unconventional family dynamics in the realm of Disney’s Andi Mack and Stuck in the Middle, Nickelodeon’s The Loud House and The Casagrandes.

  • Contemporary stories that explore culture through neighborhood love stories, but with some edge and sass. I want a Bob’s Burger’s family and neighborhood with strange community members.

In YA fiction:​

  • Jenny Han remains, and always will be, my Queen of YA romance. There’s a beauty in capture the essence of being young, in love, and feeling warmth throw small gestures and cozy moments. But she never does so in a plain, lagging way. I love stories where I stay up all night and squeal as I read about the love and feel incredible notes of nostalgia, like a Taylor Swift song. But there is a line between cozy and romantic and cliche and over done. I need fresh takes.

  • Young teen stories where characters are fifteen, awkward, and still growing. I love the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter because we grew up with the characters, saw their firsts, didn’t focus identity on how they will transition to adulthood, and had adventure and voice-driven stories. I’m imagining something with the shenanigans and heart of High School Musical the Musical the Series with lots of relationships in the romantic, platonic, and familial spaces that are intertwined and get explored in a low stakes space. Would also love to see stories with male MCs in this space.

  • Fantasy or paranormal boarding school novels about finding a sense of belonging without the traditional family structure guidance. Boarding schools are my favorite because we allow young characters to explore identity in an isolated space, the school or environment itself should have character to it, and school norms are flipped on their head. I’m interested in found families, rivals to lovers, and deep secrets uncovered.

  • CW-like books. Think Reign, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl. What all of these have in common are highly romantic, glamorized, and rich world building that feels so satisfyingly developed. Each has a unique aesthetic, high stakes stories, but the environment doesn’t sacrifice character, rather only amplifies them. I also love the ensemble casts where I am deeply invested in characters outside of just our “main” protagonist.

  • Witches. Gay witches. Witches with historical-like backdrops. Witches with series potential within high fantasy with romance and grounded ensemble casts. Young witches in modern day, angsty witches in new worlds.

  • High school theatre, high school competitions, high school contests with rivals to lovers. I love the way Becky Albertalli and Leah Johnson master high school life that feels authentic, but also escapist in its fun and incredible writing. You Should See Me In a Crown, Simon Versus The Homosapien Agenda, and Kate in Waiting tackle big concepts, emotional depth, but in a way that doesn’t lose the essence of a young person still being reckless and messy and fun. Within contemporary, the voice really has to pull me in. I’d love Parks and Rec and New Girl-like humor in teens.

  • BIPOC retellings of epic fantasies, adventure, fairy tales, or legends.

  • LGBTQIA+ stories that don’t use identity as a plot twist. I do like explorations that are thoughtful, like Camp by L.C. Rosen. I’m especially interested in adventure, fantasy, or spy stories.

  • I’m a fantasy fan of all kinds, but I’m especially interested in court and royal fantasy, fiction with ballroom scenes with tense almost touch dances. I need solid atmosphere that’s rich and lush. I’m not so much interested in stories where someone is an orphan and happens to discover they have powers, or someone finding a magical cure for their family member, or elemental magic that doesn’t have much of a wider magic system. The magic should already be a part of the story for me, and less a discovery in juxtaposition to the modern world.

Songs I wish I could bottle up in book form:

  • “I Found You” by Andy Grammer

  • “Drivers License,” “Traitor,” and “Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo

  • “Someone to You” Banners

  • Absolutely any Chloe and Halle song

  • “Rollercoaster” by The Jonas Brothers

  • “Freedom” by Beyonce

  • Literally any banjo solo in any Mumford and Sons song

  • “Wait for It” sung by Leslie Odom Jr. in the Hamilton soundtrack

  • “What’s Up Danger” by Blackway with Black Caviar

  • “Familia” by Nicki Minja, Anuel AA, and Bantu

  • “Seeing Blind” by Niall Horan and Maren Morris

  • “Higher Love” by Whitney Houston remixed by Kygo

  • “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart

  • “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

  • “Wonder” by Shawn Mendes

  • Taylor’s version of Fearless

  • “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

  • “Leave (Get Out)” by JoJo

  • The High School Musical The Musical The Series soundtrack??? Because that whole show is perfect???

What I am not a good fit for:

  • Memoir or non-fiction not geared toward young readers. I absolutely love it in the picture book space.

  • I love spooky and creepy, but not gore or horror that has the vibes of a slasher movie or psychological thriller. I don’t want to come out of reading a book in need of a therapy session.

  • COVID or disease themed/inspired stories.

  • YA stories about terminal illnesses.

  • Talking animals. I’m sorry, but I love humans or mythological creatures. I can’t stay with a wolf or a dog lens. There is a difference between monsters and animals though!

  • Generally, thriller and mystery in which bodies are uncovered in a small town or friend group. I’m really not interested in YA mysteries that are too similar to Pretty Little Liars. I’m really not interested in stories in which best friends or schoolmates turn up dead.

  • Dreamscape fantasies. I really am not a huge fan of stories where characters enter into dream spaces. I like lush, real worlds.

  • Christian based heaven and hell stories. This includes grim reaper stories. I receive quite a few queries where someone dies and either makes a deal with the grim reaper, becomes the grim reaper, or falls in love with the grim reaper. It’s just not for me.

  • Portal stories. I love magic that is already a part of the world and not necessarily ones we have to enter into. There is an exception with middle grade, but the magic systems need to be fully developed and I barely want to spend time in the “real world” then. I’m extremely selective in this area.

  • Historical fiction in the WWI or WWII eras (honestly, not a lover American history unless there is a unique take in New Orleans for a Black gothic). I love history, but I don’t care much for U.S. stories.

  • War stories in which humanity fights technology or fantasy groups, military-type groups charge an Other, or really anything that could be comped to modern military systems. I also won’t take stories with a “terrorist” plot line.

  • I am not currently taking science fiction unless in middle grade and even then, I’m pretty picky. I’m truthfully not the best sci-fi person unless there’s whimsy and silliness, like Star Versus The Forces of Evil where the space feels more magical instead of scientific.

  • Stories with too much heavy focus on trauma like sexual assault, domestic abuse, or suicide as a primary storyline. If this is a big element to your book, I am probably not the right fit.

  • Books where the dog or cat dies. For real.

Submission Guidelines

You can query Emily here: http://querymanager.com/emilyforney

Guidelines & Details