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What I’m Looking For: Jas Perry

My inbox is open to middle grade and young adult fiction, including graphic novels and novels-in-verse. This encompasses a very wide range, I know, but I will say this: a compelling voice is the first thing I’ll look for when I read a manuscript, so what I list below will be appreciated, but not by any means a requirement:

I personally love unsettling but expressive and lyrical writing like Daniel Kraus’ ROTTERS, Andrew Smith’s THE MARBURY LENS, and movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and Let the Right One In. A MG equivalent would be something in the vein of Spirited Away, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, or A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. Generally, I enjoy children’s literature that recognizes when adults in the MC’s life make mistakes despite their good intentions.

Close platonic friendships and familial relationships are a joy to read. Narratives with romantic elements and queer romance submissions are more than welcome; Adam Silvera, Junauda Petrus, Kacen Callendar, and Nic Stone are particularly excellent at this.

In terms of SFF, I was a Twilight Zone and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine kind of kid. I also grew up on high fantasy like CS Lewis’ THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW and urban fantasy such as Suzanne Collins’ GREGOR THE OVERLANDER, David Lubar’s HIDDEN TALENTS, and P.B. Kerr’s CHILDREN OF THE LAMP, so anything along those lines would be a good fit, i.e. #OwnVoices mythology or eerie supernatural phenomena in contemporary settings. (As a native New Yorker, I’m always seeking books that can capture the city.)

If you’re looking for shining examples of dialogue, favorite playwrights of mine include David Henry Huang, Stephen Karam, Martin McDonagh (please, somehow, give me The Pillowman as a YA book), Dominique Morisseau, and Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles has the most beautiful representations of Black masculinity). I’m also fond of Ben Jonson’s Volpone; or The Fox. My kind of humor exists somewhere between Atlanta, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Boondocks, and What We Do in the Shadows.

For contemporary drama, I’m into thoughtful (and accurate!) explorations of adolescent issues of all kinds, such as LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds, CHALLENGER DEEP by Neal Shusterman, STOLEN by Lucy Christopher, MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork, THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon, ODD ONE OUT by Nic Stone, and THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH by Bill Konigsberg.

Finally, these are the dream manuscripts I’ll be fantasizing about:

    A middle grade like SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL with students of color.
    A young adult mystery – especially one with an unlikely friendship like HAP AND LEONARD.
    Afrofuturist adventure like my childhood love, THE EAR, THE EYE AND THE ARM — but #OwnVoices.
    A thriller that makes me sweat like I did while watching Whiplash (2016)