Stephanie Stein

HarperCollins Children's/HarperTeen

My Manuscript Wish List

I’m looking for YA and middle-grade fiction in a variety of genres, as well as select graphic novel and nonfiction projects. I am focused on building an inclusive list, and am always looking for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators and underrepresented voices in any genre.

In YA, I look for smart, high-concept books with a killer voice and a deeply immersive atmosphere. I’m a fan of slow-burning romantic tension, snappy banter, the complexities of friendship and family and sisterhood, and retellings--if they bring a new (gender-swapped, feminist, queer, etc.) twist to the table. My first love is YA fantasy, where I look for unique magic and worldbuilding that feels essential to the story, complex moral dilemmas, and compelling characters whose goals are at odds.

In middle grade, I’m interested in multi-layered humor that kids of all ages can enjoy, a great puzzle or mystery, and magical stories with a hopeful lens. I am always looking for more LGBTQ+ representation across all MG genres, and I love fantasy of all stripes and contemporary coming-of-age stories that will make me cry, then put my heart back together by the end.

Please note I am not the best fit for chapter books, very young middle grade, novels in verse, or horror/thrillers (unless they have a strong fantasy element).

A few specific projects I'd love to see in my inbox:

Middle grade:

  • Commercial fantasy/adventure with big series potential
  • New Classic fantasy—literary writing with commercial appeal, in the vein of Christina Soontornvat or Kelly Barnhill
  • Any book with a “witch in training” setup, with or without an entire magical school setting
  • Emotionally grounded contemporary fiction that will break my heart, then put it back together again
  • Contemporary coming-of-age stories with a slight twist of magic
  • A conspiratorial voice and quirky sense of humor
  • A protagonist or adventure with big Artemis Fowl flair
  • Something with the humor and attitude of the Untitled Goose Game (I mean it!)
  • A puzzle/mystery story in the tradition of The Westing Game and The Parker Inheritance
  • Comps to:
    • Kwame Mbalia
    • Claribel Ortega
    • Kelly Yang
    • Corey Ann Haydu
    • Jessica Townsend

Young adult:

  • Sweeping, star-crossed fantasy romance (think Serpent & Dove)
  • Contemporary fantasy, especially reinterpretations of paranormal creatures, mythology & folklore, witches, or magical undercities/hidden worlds
    • I am especially dying for some YA magical school and/or dark academia books!
  • Fun, funny, joyful contemporary fiction, especially from marginalized authors
  • Smart YA contemporary with a commercial hook and an elevated execution
  • A 24-hour whirlwind romance
  • High-concept, genre-bending contemporary fiction with a slight speculative bent (think They Both Die at the End)
  • A serious YA treatment of one of the "soulmate" tropes common in fanfiction (soulmate timers, name tattoos, etc.)
  • A smart, savvy, fresh retelling (think Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series)
  • Witty, romantic historical romps (think My Lady Jane or A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue)
  • I’m also interested in serious queer historical fiction from all eras
  • I would love an anthology that is a strongly interconnected series of stories (i.e. centering on solving one mystery or entrants in one competition, or similar—think The Grimoire of Grave Fates)
  • Comps to:
    • Leigh Bardugo
    • Laini Taylor
    • Tracy Deonn
    • Roshani Chokshi
    • Shelby Mahurin
    • Romina Garber
    • Victoria Lee
    • Jordan Ifueko
    • If you have “a YA version of” NK Jemisin, Naomi Novik, Madeline Miller, or Casey McQuiston—send it my way! ?

Graphic novels:

  • Cozy fantasy (think Ghibli movies, Hilda, or The Tea Dragon Society)
  • Contemporary/realistic fiction or graphic memoir with a sparer art style
  • LGBTQ+ romance
  • YA with paranormal/fantasy elements and a sharp point
  • Comps to:
    • The Magic Fish
    • Squad
    • Tidesong
    • Nimona
    • Check, Please!

Across the board:

  • I love a book with a structural “gimmick”: Epistolary elements, interstitial chapters, countdowns, alternating Now and Then timelines, lists, or any device that breaks the fourth wall!
  • Stories about The Power of Stories
  • Competitions: think The Inheritance Games as well as sports tournaments, TV shows, etc.
  • Time loops
  • Ghosts! (I am not usually the best fit for the “paranormal investigations” framing of this, but yes to horror, romance, magical realism, and/or ghosts functioning as a metaphor.)

Fun facts about me:

Former Southern Californian, barista, and World of Warcraft player who still can't figure out winter, drinks too much coffee, and stays up too late playing video games.

Submission Guidelines

Agented submissions only, but unagented writers may book consultations (see below).

Agents, please email your pitch and the manuscript to me at HarperCollins.

Due to the high volume of submissions we receive, HarperCollins editors are not able to accept unsolicited manuscript submissions directly from authors. If you are an agented author with a manuscript that matches what I've listed here, please have your agent submit it via email. If you are an author who is currently looking for an agent, best of luck; I hope your agented manuscript submission crosses my desk one day!

Consultations

Listen To My Podcast InterviewSchedule A Query Consultation

Vital Info

Editor
Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children's, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Historical, Humor, LGBTQ, Literary, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Non-Fiction: History, Humor, Illustrated, LGBTQ

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary YA, Contemporary Young Adult, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Feminism, LGBTQIA, Literary Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, YA Fantasy, YA Historical Fantasy, contemporary MG, historical, science fiction
I'd like the next...

YA:

  • Legendborn
  • The Hazel Wood
  • Serpent & Dove
  • Crier's War
  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before
  • When Dimple Met Rishi
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue
  • Before I Fall
  • Raven Cycle
  • Code Name Verity
  • a YA The Song of Achilles
  • a YA Red, White & Royal Blue

MG:

  • Alan Cole Is Not a Coward
  • A Wolf Called Wander
  • Savvy
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish
  • School for Good & Evil
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon

My favorites include...

Books: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, anything by Terry Pratchett

Graphic novels: Lumberjanes; Check, Please!; The Tea Dragon Society; Hilda

TV: What We Do in the Shadows, The Good Place, Gentleman Jack, Russian Doll, The Bold Type, Jane the Virgin, Fleabag, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Orphan Black, Doctor Who, The Great British Bake-Off

My Upcoming Events:

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