P2P16 Wish List

I’m so excited to be participating in the October round of Pitch to Publication. Here is my wish list along with some of my favorite books.

Wish List

  • YA is my main jam. I read anything and everything YA. All subgenres welcome! Especially historical fiction and fantasy.
  • MG: I would like thoughtful contemporary and historical pieces in the vein of The Penderwicks, Wonder, and The Breadwinner. I also like unique/quirky premises such as The One and Only Ivan, When You Reach Me, and The Sound of Life and Everything.
  • Adult: I’m tempted to say I’m not doing adult, but I did choose an adult manuscript last go around, and loved it. That said, I’m extremely picky with my adult books. Please only send contemporary or historical fiction. I’m not a good fit for adult speculative fiction (I don’t read enough of it to help you!). I also am not great for period romances or women’s fiction. Some adult books I love includeHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Girl You Left Behind, The Thirteenth Tale, and The Rent Collector. There are a lot of great editors who are maybe better fits for adult entries than I am. I’d suggest subbing to them unless your novel really fits something on my wish list.
  • No NA or erotica, please. Sorry. I’m not a good fit for these genres.
  • I love funny books. If your book is funny, please send it to me. Also sass. I’m all about that sass.
  • I like a great high concept book with a strong X meets Y formula. The weirder the mash-up, the better. I also like books that don’t conform to one genre (Under the Never Sky, for example). Books with non-standard narrative style are great.
  • This should go without saying, but I care very much about representation. Diversity is important to me.
  • I’m particularly interested in religious diversity. Show me characters who find their faith or lose their faith or struggle with their faith. As long as it’s not didactic, I’m interested.
  • I would really love to see LGBT+ characters. I’m especially looking for characters on the ace spectrum (asexual, demisexual, grey asexual, etc.).
  • Body type diversity. Give me fat characters. Or characters who are somewhere between fat and skinny. Give me characters who lose weight and are happy about it or who stay fat and are happy about it. Also, any and all submissions with disability representation (mental or physical) are welcome.
  • I love historical fiction. Here are some time periods/ events I would especially love to see: French Revolution, American Revolution, Mughal India, Heian or Edo periods Japan, pre-Imperial Russia, Incan or Aztec Empire, 1950s, ancient Persia, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt.
  • Other random things I would love: Geek culture romance (The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, All the Feels), wordplay, enemies to lovers, characters with interesting extracurricular activities, an ensemble of misfits, unreliable narrators, anything that can be compared to a Taylor Swift music video.
  • I am NOT a good fit for books with: the chosen one (probably, unless it’s subtle), a portal that takes the main character to a new world, third person present POV, fairy tale retellings (retellings of classic literature are fine!), or animal protagonists.

Favorite books

Middle Grade

  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Wonder by J.R. Palacio
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dozler

Young Adult

  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lilly Anderson
  • These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  • A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockheart
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • All She Ever Wanted by Lynn Austin
  • The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

YA Recs: The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa



When Meghan Chase’s brother is kidnapped, she must venture into the world of the fey. She soon discovers she is the daughter of the legendary Oberon and a pawn in the war between rival faery factions.

Why I liked it:

I was a little wary of this book when I started it. I’m still a little burnt out on paranormal love triangles and portal fantasies have never really been my thing. However, Julie Kagawa has a crisp writing style that drew me in instantly. This book is basically A Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Labyrinth. I appreciated Meghan’s evolution as a character. A lot of the other characters are very powerful, so it would be easy for her to take a back seat to them. I may add that after book one, I legitimately don’t know who I’m rooting for in this love triangle (besides Meghan. I always root for her). I’m excited to pick up the next book and keep reading.

YA Recs: Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson




Acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson recounts her younger years in verse. A vivid account of an African American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.

Why I loved it:

You may notice from the cover that this book has won all the awards. There’s a reason for that. Jacqueline’s story is powerful and moving. Through her stories she gently imparts wisdom. Also, the verse itself is brilliant and beautiful.

Win a Query/ First Page critique!

Hello authors! I am in need of some bad essays for my writing students to revise. Please submit a poorly-written 200-400 word essay to thoughtsfromtheagentdesk@gmail.com by September 6th at noon. One submission will be chosen to win a query or first page critique.

By submitting, you agree to allow me to use your essay with my students.

Thank you for your help. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

YA Recs: Orchards

Orchards by Holly Thompson


Summary: After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg’s parents send her to live on her grandparents’s orchard in rural Japan. Kana struggles with guilt over her friend’s death as well as her clashing half-Japanese, half-Jewish heritage.

Why I loved it: Lately I’ve been interested in novels in verse. I think that Thompson’s writing is absolutely lyrical. I also think that she does a remarkable job fleshing out several large conflicts in a very small space. I felt that both the issues of identity and suicide were well addressed in the book.

My Positivity Project

I’ve been thinking a lot about Internet rage culture lately. It seems like every time I log onto my Twitter or Facebook, there’s somebody (and not infrequently, a lot of somebodies) being angry about something.

The Internet can be an incredibly useful tool for discussing important topics and widening our perspective on various issues. I fully believe that reading thoughtful responses to big issues has made me a better person.

But I also have noticed that a constant stream of negativity can be toxic. Some days I just have to log out of social media before it drags me into a storm cloud of negative thinking. Because somedays I get so caught up in the rage that I can’t be productive because I’m too busy being angry.

In life, there’s always something to be upset about. That’s just the way it is. The Internet sometimes magnifies this, though. Now I’m not saying we should stop trying to tackle tough issues. I’m not saying we should be all rainbows and sunshine all the time.

But maybe we do need some rainbows and sunshine.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to try a little experience. Everyday for the month of September, I’m going to make a point of complimenting or appreciating 5 people a day. Not all of these people will be online or public. But that is my goal.

I’d love it if you decided to participate with me (even if it’s a scaled back version, like just one person a day).

Let’s spread a little positivity.


Also a picture of my dog, Monty (or Montie, we never could agree on a spelling) because it just seemed like a fitting way to kick off a positivity challenge.

YA Recs: A Girl Named Faithful Plum

a girl named faithful plum


This nonfiction account follows Zhongmei Lei, a girl from the country who defies all odds to become a student at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy.

Why I loved it:

I’m just in absolute awe at all the things Zhongmei overcame. Reading her story made her an absolute inspiration to me. I also appreciated the author’s ability to give readers some insight into the historical and political setting in which Zhongmei’s story takes place. This is the kind of book that makes you want to push your own limits.