I am a Young Adult mentor interested in contemporary, romance, and thrillers/mysteries. I am not looking for fantasy, science fiction, or historical works. Contemporary stories with light fantasy elements are okay.
Welcome, Pitch Wars hopeful! Please take a sip of bubble tea and settle in. I’m so excited to read your submission!
about pitch wars
A little about Pitch Wars: it’s a mentoring program where published and agented authors, editors, and interns each choose a writer to help out! They’ll spend three months honing the writer’s manuscript before going on to the Agent Showcase, where literary agents will read a pitch and first page, with the potential of requesting more. This year, I’ll be mentoring Young Adult.
My debut contemporary novel, You Had Me At Hello World, sold to Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers earlier this year in a six-figure auction, two-book deal. It's a romantic coming-of-age story set at a hackathon. I’m represented by Penny Moore of Aevitas Creative Entertainment.
Fun fact: I submitted to Pitch Wars twice and was never chosen as a mentee! My first year submitting, I got one partial request but was not selected. My second year, I got some requests but withdrew after getting an offer of representation from Penny. Even though I was never a mentee, Pitch Wars was a wonderful way to stay motivated and befriend the writing community.
I'm open to stories from writers of all identities, especially those underrepresented on shelves. However, I'm lucky that both my agent and editor are Asian-American women, which has made me feel so seen and understood. If it helps you make a decision, I identify as a Chinese-American queer cis woman.
I'm also an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in math!
my mentoring style & what you can expect
If you're my mentee, I'm here to be your champion. I can't wait to brag to everyone about your incredible book, and even after Pitch Wars has ended, I hope we'll stay in touch so I can continue to hype you up. You'll get an edit letter, but we'll also set up a call afterwards to answer any questions you might have. Craft-wise, I love working on character development, plot structure, and style. I've professionally edited before and am here to work with you to elevate your vision. You can check out a critique I did for the Pitch Wars blog here. I'll give you extensive edits on your pitch and first-page as well to ensure you'll shine during the showcase.
I'm happy to communicate with you in whatever method is best for you, whether that is through email, text, call, Zoom, etc.
I can also offer a steady supply of Pusheen!
what I'm looking for
- I want alllll the YA contemporary! I’m a huge sucker for coming-of-age stories, girls who are exactly like other girls, chosen families, and queer joy. Give me all the eye-roll-inducing puns, teenage awkwardness, sex positivity, and complicated families. Sarcastic, sassy voices get me every time. Bonus points for wit.
- Contemporary manuscripts with a larger-than-life concept—a televised competition, an unusual occupation, etc.—are so fun. I'd love to see it!
- Twisty mysteries and thrillers that will keep me up all night or make me *gasp* are my first love, so please send those my way. If somebody dies in the first chapter, that’s a surefire way to get me to keep reading. Books about rich kids who play dangerous games are my guilty pleasure. If your manuscript has ever been described as unputdownable, please give me the opportunity to not put it down.
- Stories that touch on big social justice issues—especially immigration, incarceration, and racial justice—are near and dear to my heart.
- Gorgeous, lyrical writing is lovely. I'm always in the mood for beautiful imagery and poetic sentences.
- I'm open to a wide age range. If your protagonist is just starting high school or grappling with college life, I'm here for it.
my favorite books
- Frankly in Love by David Yoon
- Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
- Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily danforth
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
- Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
what I especially love
- The enemies-to-lovers or rivals-to-lovers trope
- Academic competitions and college applications
- Cinnamon roll love interests
- STEM nerds (I'm one myself!)
- Intersectional feminism as a central theme
- A university or boarding school setting
- Nuanced explorations of diaspora experiences
- Strong we-would-die-for-each-other friendships
- Queer happily-ever-afters
- Stories that feature sexual assault or rape are fine if the subject matter is necessary to the story you're trying to tell and handled delicately. I'd love to see a book like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.
- Contemporary stories with magical elements, such as The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, work for me if the fantastical elements are not featured prominently and are tied to a character's emotional development.
- Romances that involve cheating/deceit need to be side-eyed and interrogated.
- I'm a staunch feminist, so if there's girl hate, it needs to be called out within the book.
- Internalized homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, and racism have to be checked hard. I'd prefer if the protagonist didn't have these hang-ups; a supporting character with them is probably okay.
not for me
- I’m not looking for anything paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or historical.
- Books that focus on mental disorders/illnesses are likely not right for me.
Regardless of what happens, a huge congratulations for finishing a novel draft! That's an achievement that deserves to be celebrated. It takes a lot of courage to submit to Pitch Wars. And hey, I never got selected, but landed an agent and book deal anyway. You never know where life will lead you!