Kelsey Horton

Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House

My Manuscript Wish List

I’m drawn to high concept stories in both YA and MG, and it is safe to say I love escapism plots and compelling characters across all genres.

In YA I am always looking for smart contemporary romances with swoon-worthy set-ups that are the ultimate wish fulfillment such as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I’d also love to find a book with an unexpected magical twist such as The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Before I Fall. In Fantasy, I am on the lookout for stories with magic that hasn’t been done before, fantastical competition, and accessible writing that reads like realism. I also enjoy psychological thrillers that feel very “teen”—meaning the story is grounded in high school.

As for middle grade, I have an affinity for smart or quirky protagonists such as Willow in Counting by 7s as well as “voicey” stories about friendship and fitting in à la Posted, The Girl in the Well is Me, or anything by Lauren Myracle and Wendy Mass. I am also on the lookout for realistic worlds tinged with magic—think Savvy and A Snicker of Magic. I’m drawn to subversive school stories like The School for Good and Evil, portal fantasies with original new worlds (who wouldn’t want the next Narnia?!), fresh retellings, and literary animal tales like Pax or The One and Only Ivan. I’m a fierce defender of the “wish” trope if done in a fresh way, and the only sci-fi element I don’t shy away from is time travelbut that’s until someone pitches me BLACK MIRROR for kids.

 

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Fiction: Middle Grade, Young Adult

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