Krista Vitola, Executive Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

VOICE. Voice, voice, voice. This is what I immediately look for in a narrative. I will fall head-over-heels for any story with a great voice. Draw me in!

Commercial narratives, preferably ones with a dark and twisted plot, where someone may or may not be dead.

Emotionally-layered complex stories that are multicultural and feature diverse characters. I love a cast of characters that features distinctly unique individuals and sheds light on the unique features that make us all so imperfectly human. No one group of friends is completely alike. That would be a super boring book.

Sports! Even though I was (and still am) not very good at them, I love a good sports novel with lots of action and gumption.

Besides that: strong friendship stories, sister stories, conflicting relationships, and environments that spark one’s imagination. I was always going on adventures in my backyard.

Sadly, I’m not a fan of high fantasy or science fiction.

Currently, I’m acquiring literary middle-grade novels with commercial appeal.

Ultimately, I always hope to find more beautifully written, visual stories that will steal my heart.

Twitter: @kav_tepedino

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