Gianna Lakenauth

Penguin Random House, Knopf BFYR

My Manuscript Wish List®

I love cinematic stories across all categories. Stories that can transport me through language, with lush vibrant description of its settings, stories with characters that haunt me long after the first page, and stories that cover the full spectrum of human emotion. I am all about the feels as they say.  I am also a sucker for lyrical, beautiful writing. Some things I am looking for overall, are more BIPOC stories, especially stories by or about Caribbean people or stories that feature Guyanese characters. Stories about navigating multiple identities, for example being mixed, or being an immigrant, or practicing different religions (Hinduism / Islam). Stories that explore different socioeconomic classes, city stories, LGBTQ+ stories, friendship stories, and intergenerational stories. Historical fiction in MG and YA. I am building my list with a focus on middle-grade and young-adult, graphic novels included, with select picture books.


Action and adventure! I am always a fan of Rick Riordan type of stories. I would love to see something that explores Caribbean myths and legends, and/or Hinduism or Islam. I love magic in this space and fairy-tale retellings. I am also looking for contemporary stories with a lot of emotional resonance, like WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER by Tae Keller and FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang.

Young Adult

Do you know in teen movies where the pivotal moment is orchestrated by a swelling background song and as a viewer you are filled with an onslaught of emotions? That is what I am looking for in the contemporary YA space. I want stories that capture the messiness of being a teen, but also all of the great things. I want stories that are cinematic like THE HALF OF IT (on Netflix) and stories that capture the bittersweet feeling of growing up—of being a kid on the verge of becoming an adult. Stories that capture a pivotal moment in a character’s life, that changes / cements who they are. Stories about friendship and grand loves. I want a grand, take my breath away romance, a complicated and layered romance.

I also LOVE fantasy. I am looking for lush, beautiful writing, and great world building. Fantasies that are as much character driven, as they are plot driven. Some of my favorites are the CARAVAL series by Stephanie Garber, and SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim. I also love a touch of romance in my fantasies.

On the look-out for a character-driven, emotional-rollercoaster, nail-biting dystopian in the vein of HUNGER GAMES, THE LAST OF US.

Graphic novels

Will only take a look at graphic novels with an attached artist at this time. However, I am on lookout for lush, vibrant art in the style of Demon Slayer, Howl’s Moving Castle, Witches of Brooklyn. Please see category descriptions for chapter books, middle-grade and young-adult on what might peak my interest in this format.

Chapter books

I would love to see a chapter book series with a BIPOC protagonist. I would especially like to see a city setting, but would love to acquire a contemporary chapter book series with a touch of magical realism, a lot of heart and humor, and one where the characters shine.

Picture books:

I especially love intergenerational stories in this category or stories that tackle identity in some way. Here, especially, I am looking for writing that I can pour over or art that takes my breath away. Some of my all-time favorite picture books in this category are ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME by Juana Martinez-Neal, CARL AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Deborah Freedman, LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson, JULIAN IS A MERMAID by Jessica Love.

**Not a good fit for sci-fi or books that deal heavily with suicide and/or rape.**


Submission Guidelines

At this time I am only open to agented submissions.

Vital Info