Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners

YA Fantasy


Adalyn Grace graduated Summa Cum Laude when she was 19-years-old. She spent four years working in live theater, and acted as the youngest ever managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper. During and after college, she studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular animated show, The Legend of Korra (sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender). She was a participant in Pitch Wars 2016, and is a former literary agent intern for an established agency.

Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full time while trying to find the city’s best burrito.

She has several projects in the works, and hopes to continually push the boundaries and explore the limits of upper young adult fiction.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH was the 4th manuscript I wrote, and the 2nd I queried. Back in 2016, my YA sci-fi was picked for Pitch Wars. While its request rate was high, it ultimately ended up with a track record of over 100 rejections throughout the course of 2 years. When I queried ATSAT, I was expecting a similar situation (in that I’d probably have to get agent reads, get it rejected, wait forever, edit, query again . . . You know, the normal process), but the process for this book actually ended up much differently. Within 24 hours of querying, I had multiple agent offers. Without going into too much detail, I ultimately signed with Hillary Jacobson at ICM, who pre emptively sold my debut to Macmillan! And now I’m eagerly awaiting it to come out so that I can share it with everyone 🙂

I’m a YA author represented by Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners. My debut novel, ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, will be published by Macmillan early 2020.

I’m a former literary agent intern at the Bent Agency. I earned my BA in English Literature, and studied storytelling as an intern on a little show you’ve probably never heard of over at Nickelodeon Animation: The Legend of Korra. It’s the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Another super small show that, again, you’ve probably never heard of.

I worked as the managing editor for a nonprofit newspaper, and have reviewed YA ARCs for Little, Brown. About a year and a half ago I started freelance editing, and have worked on around 70 projects since then. Several of my former clients have gone on to get agents, which I am VERY PROUD OF ❤ (you all are the best, seriously.)

This is my third time being a mentor. In 2017, I co-mentored in Pitch Wars with my CP, Tomi Adeyemi, and our mentee (Ciannon Smart) has since signed with an amazing agent, Taylor Haggerty. I am currently mentoring Chelsea Beam in this year’s PW.

When I was selected as a mentee for Pitch Wars, it completely changed my life. I learned so much from my mentor and peers during and after the contest, and the community I gained from it was invaluable. I feel like, since I was given an opportunity to work with someone and really grow and develop as a writer, that it’s my duty to now give that back to other writers. I love watching writers develop their skills and really strengthen their manuscript; it’s honestly such an amazing feeling to feel like you’re helping someone get closer to achieving their dreams. Or when you actually see them get an amazing agent and sell their book! Especially when that person is genuine and eager to learn, like I hope my next mentee will be!

I’m really looking for something a bit weird and different. Fantasy is typically my jam, but it’s very saturated right now and I’ve been reading so much of it. I’m still open to fantasy, just very picky! For fantasy. I’d love something that’s a bit over the top, and just super magical and fantastical. Something dripping with magic.

Apart from fantasy, other genres I’d love to consider:

  • thrillers
  • mysteries
  • paranormal (seriously, give me your vampire books. But only if they’re something fresh)
  • retellings
  • contemporary fantasy
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices*
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I don’t have any major preferences. All I’ll note is that if you’re doing enemies to lovers, I’d really like to see them be enemies, and not just have like . . . mild tension between them. Would also love to see that trope reversed, and read a lovers to enemies book!


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I’m incredibly open and honest with my feedback, because I want your story to be as strong as we’re able to make it.

In my past two years of mentoring in Pitch Wars, I asked my mentees for a complete rewrite. My 2017 mentee changed the tense, added a POV, and completely altered the structure of her plot. My 2018 mentee dropped a POV, completely restructured her story, and changed the inner workings of her magic system and character motivations.

Of course, I didn’t ask either of them to do this alone. In 2017, my co-mentor and I spent 4.5 hours on our first Skype call with her (yes, really), discussing scene-by-scene changes, and helping our mentee form a new outline. If she wasn’t feeling something or didn’t agree with a change, we took the time to mutually discuss the underlying issue with the plot, and talked it out until we found a solution we were all comfortable with. This year, my mentee and I went back-and-forth with multiple notes and beat sheets until we identified those underlying issues and found ways to address. Both years it was a lot of work, but it was worth it. (Though, this is not to say I will suggest a rewrite for the book I pick. Not at all! The ones I fell in love with for PW just happened to both come with a lot of suggestions)

Ultimately, this is your story, and only you can know what’s best for it. But for whoever I choose as my mentee, I’m going to push you. I’m going to be there to provide raw and honest feedback, industry experience, and a critical eye. I’ll totally be a cheerleader, but I’m also going to be a bit tough on you, because I want you to learn and grow, and want to help my mentee get their work into the best possible shape for querying.

I’m going to be critically analyzing your characters, world building, plot, pacing, writing, setting, etc etc, to focus on big picture developmental changes.( Does the character need more of an arc? Does the magic make sense? How are the mc’s motivations? Is the story gripping and fast-paced? Why not? Would it be stronger if we cut this POV or changed the tense? Would it be stronger if you completely overhauled the second act?) The edits will be very thorough, and will hopefully encourage the mentee to really push themselves and grow as a writer.

My ideal mentee is someone who is not married to their writing. It’s someone who might not be perfect, but who actively wants to learn, grow, and develop their skills and style as a writer. Someone who is open to feedback and criticism of all levels, but who is also able to think critically about their own work, and form their own ideas apart from my suggestions. I absolutely do not need a mentee who just wants to please me and do everything I suggest! This is your work, your art, and your career. I’m just here to help push.


  • Russian (or Russian inspired) fantasy
  • Asian (or Asian inspired) fantasy
  • Stories that empower women (gimme your feminist stories)
  • A whimsical fantasy that reads like a fairytale
  • Stories that feel like a Miyazaki movie
  • Unique magic systems
  • A damn good vampire book
  • A mystery full of twists and turns
  • A thriller that keeps me turning the pages
  • A story that reads like Full Metal Alchemist (specifically the sibling bonds, unique magic/science, and action scenes)
  • A world reminiscent of Baccano! or Amanda Foody’s ACE OF SHADES. Something 20’s-40’s inspired
  • A unique take on a witch story
  • Stories that push boundaries
  • Unique settings that feel like they’re their own character. Atmospheric
  • Empowering female characters. (Note: This does NOT mean that they have to be a bad ass with a sword. They can be squeamish around blood and rather play with lipstick than a sword, and be just as empowering.)
  • Complex, morally gray female characters. Give me an Azula. Give me the “unlikable” girls.
  • Powerful and diverse girl gangs!


  • Contemporary.
  • Horror. Weirdness is fine. But I don’t want to have to sleep with my lights on at night.
  • Pirates or mermaids.
  • Anything over 110k
  • Dystopian
  • Body shaming
  • Stories with toxic relationships that are presented as romantic or sexy
  • Stories that pit female characters against each other
  • Stories with unchecked sexism
  • Books about race or oppressions from the perspective of the oppressor (even if they magically learn their thinking is flawed at the end).
  • NA. (New Adult is a category that’s pretty much died in traditional publishing. I would highly suggest making your manuscript either adult or young adult, specifically if you’re interested in traditional publishing.)
  • Assassins

Note: If your book comps Children of Blood and Bone and/or Ember in the Ashes, it’s probably not right for me at this time, but I wish you the best of luck. 

Books: Anything Leigh Bardugo, Children of Blood and Bone, THUG, Ember in the Ashes, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Starfish, The Name of the Wind, The Scorpio Races, Cinder, The Cruel Prince, Uprooted, Legendary

TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Jane the Virgin, The 100, Riverdale, Once Upon a Time, Sailor Moon, Angel, Haikyuu!!, Attack on Titan, and obviously Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

Shows: Phantom of The Opera, Footloose, Sweeney Todd, Next to Normal, Wicked, Les Mis.

Movies: Anything Miyazaki. Anything Disney, but especially Moana, Aladdin, Mulan, and Lion King. Hook. Avatar, Get Out.

Games: Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Starcraft 2, Overwatch, Fire Emblem, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Harvest Moon