Alyssa Jennette, Stonesong

Contemporary YA


I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing from a small liberal arts school in Georgia in 2010, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching secondary English at the same school in 2011. I now teach 9th Grade Literature at a specialized STEM Magnet school in Georgia, where I am surrounded by the upper echelon of weirdness in students and coworkers. More than once in my teaching career, I have inadvertently become the faculty overseer of an informal cult, one honoring cats and one honoring ducks. I live outside Atlanta with my husband of 6 years, cat, dog, and one foster fish. I have a Simpsons reference for every aspect of life.

Not counting the ones I wrote by hand in blank journals in middle school, I’ve written four contemporary YA novels. I finished my first official novel in February of 2015, and immediately queried too early. After two freelance editors and a Write Mentor’s summer program, I transformed the book into something that was query ready… and still didn’t get an agent for that book. At some point between querying and revising, I wrote a sequel/companion to this book. I still love these two novels and hope they find their way to bookstores one day, but more importantly, I value the learning experience of writing them!

In May of 2016, I started writing my third book, which is about dangerously codependent friends, mental health, and finding your place in the world. Writing occasionally took a backseat to revising/querying my first book, and I finished it in January of 2019, thanks to a road trip to Utah and the writing time it afforded me. I queried a little, then did AMM, which was absolutely life-changing.

I received my offer of representation in February 2020, and I signed with Alyssa Jennette in March. We went on submission with this book in June, and here I will sit until I get the call.

It was hard to accept that my first book wasn’t The One. I want this one to be, but nothing in this industry is certain. I do know this: the only way I’ll fail is if I stop writing.

I have a Bachelors of Arts in English with Creative Writing concentration. I’ve lived through my fair share of pretentious literature discussions, along with painful, demoralizing workshops. I’m also a Literature teacher, which has helped me hone my method of constructively giving feedback. My background as an English major and Literature teacher help me dive deep into those universal themes and statements about what it means to be human, an insight I’ve used to help several CPs revise their manuscripts.

In addition, I have experience on both sides of a mentorship, twice as a mentee and once as a mentor. I LOVE helping writers take their work to the next level!


I’m a teacher at heart. Nothing beats that feeling of seeing the spark in someone’s eyes, whether it’s a student who’s just realized Shakespeare doesn’t suck, or a fellow writer having a breakthrough about their story. Books have absolutely made a difference in my life, and as a writer, I aspire to create one of those life-changing stories for someone else one day.

As a mentor, I want to use my love of stories to help other writers. I will work just as hard as my mentee to make sure this book is query-ready. Writing can be such a lonely, isolating process, and through programs like AMM we are able to reach out to one another. For me, this mentorship doesn’t end. Once I’m your mentor, I’m yours for as long as you need me!

I love books that dig deep into the human experience. Show me our darkest parts, and find the light in them. Show me something hopeless, irreparably broken, and then leave me with hope that it can still be fixed. I love character-focused stories, voicey writing, and anything that will make laugh and cry.

I’m fine with darker topics (mental illness, trauma, sickness, etc) as long as they feel real and honest and aren’t gratuitously thrown in for drama.

I’m a sucker for any unconventional storytelling: multi-pov, non-chronological timelines, letters/emails/texts — I’m your girl for anything unusual or quirky!

I especially love stories that show me something new or introduce me to a corner of humanity I’ve never seen. Bring me your oddball interests and passions!

Above all else, it’s the WRITING for me. If your writing leans more toward poetry than prose, if you can tell a story in a way that feels like looking at a painting, I hope you’ll consider submitting to me!

  • Contemporary
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

My heart belongs to contemporary YA, especially character-driven stories with heart and humor. I’m not the best mentor for heavy sci-fi or fantasy, though I’m not against some magical/sci-fi elements.

I want a story that reflects the diversity of our world and feels like it could be about real characters, even if they’re doing unreal or impossible things.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

When I read a mentee or CP book, I take notes on my e-reader and transfer them to the document when I’m finished. On my first read/revision pass, I won’t worry too much about line-level proofreading, in case you make major changes after reading my edit letter. My in-line comments are usually reactions, praise, pointing out favorite lines, and questions I have as I’m reading.

While transferring, I keep a post-it open on my computer for bigger-picture notes and questions. These typically go into my edit letter, which will be several pages (8ish pages is not unusual for me!).

I don’t necessarily use the “compliment sandwich” method because I approach this process through questions. I might start with what I love about a character/concept, then explain what I’m not sure about, what I wonder, what I’d love to see happen, etc… I’ve found that asking questions is effective for revisions because it puts the focus on the story YOU are telling, not the story I want it to be. It also shows you what’s working and what’s not, without outright dismissing anything that might not be working *yet*.

I’m also available to discuss my notes through skype or whatever, and I love brainstorming!

I’d love a mentee who is equally passionate about learning and writing. I prefer someone who has worked extensively on their story but just doesn’t know where to go from here. That said, I’m not totally against the idea of helping with a less-finished project.

I will work best with someone who knows the story they’re writing, knows what to fight for and where to dig their heels in–but who will also have an open mind and consider my suggestions. I LOVE helping writers brainstorm and work out story issues, and I will always listen to you when we’re workshopping. Your book is yours, after all!

Together, we will find a solution you’re comfortable with.


  • Voicey, character-driven contemporary stories that I won’t forget.
  • Tight girl gangs, soft boys, bad boys, bad girls.
  • Family or friendship stories, especially found family.
  • Something where the side characters have fully-realized stories of their own.
  • Friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers, exes-to-lovers, and all iterations of the XX-to-lovers trope.
  • Redemption arcs or destruction arcs are always on my list.


  • No incest, please (ew).
  • I’m not an easy sell for a cheater redemption story (though a reclaiming-your-life-after-being-cheated-on story is so my jam).
  • Entitled cis-het white boys getting what they want is also unlikely to draw me in.
  • I’m not the best mentor for immersive high fantasy or sci-fi (basically, anything with intense world-building), though I’m fine with some magical/sci-fi elements if done well.
  • Please, no time travel (I can’t wrap my head around it).
  • Nothing that perpetuates negative stereotypes, especially against people from marginalized communities, though if you want to put society under an unapologetic microscope, I could be down with that.
  • Unless I’m familiar with the source, I’m probably not going to be good with a retelling.
  • No pet death. I mean it.

Movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I know it’s “entitled cis-het white guy gets what he wants,” but it’s a classic), Lion King, Memento, Les Miserables, Superhero movies (pretty much all of them), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dead Poets Society, The Princess Bride, Rashomon

Shows: The Simpsons, Gilmore Girls, Good Girls, The Good Place, Scrubs, Supernatural, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Degrassi: TNG, Avatar: TLA/Korra, Pushing Daisies, Psych, Galavant, You Me & the Apocalypse… basically if it’s funny and sad with good writing and unforgettable characters, I love it!

Theater: Dear Evan Hanson, Hamilton, Rent, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Something Rotten, Les Miserables, Wicked

Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Jandy Nelson, Jennifer Niven, Neal Shusterman, Patrick Ness, Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, Julie Murphy, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sean David Hutchinson, Adam Silvera, Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiley, Sabaa Tahir, Becky Albertalli, Markus Zusak