On the fiction side, I’m actively seeking upmarket fiction, mystery and suspense, and contemporary YA. I’d describe my wish list as coming-of-age stories that flirt with danger, suspense, and death: juicy adult novels tinged with darkness that explore the sinister side of friendships, relationships, and lost innocence, in the vein of My Dark Vanessa, You Will Know Me, The Girls, or The Secret History. I love well-crafted family relationships with twisted secrets that propel the plot forward, and I’m always a fan of multiple narrators with distinctive voices whose differing perspectives let me see the story in a new light, a la Beartown or Little Fires Everywhere. I love books that play with format in a way that elevates the plot without being distracting, from shifting timelines to epistolary novels to transcripts. Leaning more into genre fiction, I’m always on the hunt for brilliantly crafted, tightly plotted mysteries where the writing is as satisfying as the twists. This can range from more commercial—Riley Sager, Lucy Foley, Paula Hawkins—to the more literary end of the spectrum—Tana French, Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn. I’m a big fan of contained settings—whether that’s a college campus, a small town, a secret society, or an isolated cabin in the woods—and atmospheric novels with a strong sense of place.
On the lighter side, I’m always looking for big-hearted, body-positive, representative rom-coms that tackle the ugly and beautiful bits of love. Give me a wry, observant heroine who often finds herself a fish out of water and regularly makes me laugh out loud. I particularly love anything with a Hollywood/pop culture angle, a plus-size protagonist whose happy ending doesn’t include losing weight, and a good slow burn enemies-to-lovers story.
In YA, I’m drawn to contemporary voice-driven projects that feel authentic to how today’s teenagers experience the world. I’m especially eager to find a great mystery with a strong investigative drive in the vein of Truly Devious or Ace of Spades that brings the traditional, Christie-esque tropes to YA audiences and puts our teen protagonists in a position of power—give me a Gen Z Nancy Drew I’d actually want to hang out with. I love an academic setting, winks to Midwestern culture, and road trips with unlikely passengers. I’m eternally seeking my light-hearted Jewish rom-com and a really great John Hughes retelling.
In non-fiction, I’m looking for thoughtful, well-researched narrative nonfiction that sheds light on larger cultural issues and makes me rethink the world around me. I’m particularly interested in powerful investigative crime nonfiction with a literary edge, historical or contemporary, that encapsulates not just the crime but its societal impact. I’d also love to see wilderness and adventure stories (think Jon Krakauer from a female point of view), pop culture, and pop science/psychology.
I’m not the right person for: science fiction, fantasy, traditional romance, political or international thrillers, memoirs, police procedurals, or essay collections (I’ve tried!!).
Sarah Grill is an Associate Editor at St. Martin’s Press. She has been working in publishing since 2016, interning at Harvey Klinger, Janklow & Nesbit, and Writers House before joining the editorial staff at St. Martin's in 2018.
YOUNG ADULT CONTEMPORARY,