The Team: Heather Howland, Managing Editor

In today’s installment of Quick Questions, Managing Editor Heather Howland discusses the types of Young Adult fiction Entangled publishes, and explains the differences between traditional YA, upper YA, and New Adult.

Take it away, Heather…


Would you explain the difference between traditional YA, upper YA and New Adult.  Which of these is Entangled focusing on and why?

HH: Ah, yes. The $20,000,000 question! I know every editor and agent will have a slightly different take on this, but here is mine:

  • Traditional YA: Focuses on problems common to average teens. The voice tends to be younger, the stakes minimal (though still devastating in the protagonist’s mind). These books generally take place in high school and show much of the high school life, from classes to homework to cliques.
  • Upper YA: Higher stakes, focuses on more universally relatable issues rather than average high school woes. These books tend to be deeper and/or darker reads which adults and teens can sink their teeth into. Can be referred to as “crossover YA,” and very hard to get right!
  • New Adult: Protagonists in NA are typically in the 18-25 range, though we only consider 18-22 year olds for this category. These stories focus on that precarious time in life when the protagonist is no longer a child, but not quite an adult, and is trying to make it in an adult world.

Entangled Publishing only considers Upper YA and New Adult. If your story is high school-centric, it’s probably not for us.

The response to Entangled’s upcoming YA titles has been phenomenal.  What do you think today’s YA reader is looking for in both cover and content?

HH: As far as content, I think readers are looking for something fresh. They went crazy for love triangle and immortal-boy-falls-for-mortal-girl books after TWILIGHT came out, then chased down every dystopian they could find after finishing HUNGER GAMES. Angels and werewolves have also had their heyday, so what’s next? Will it be fairytale retellings? Superheros? Aliens? It’s my job to find the freshest stories readers won’t be able to put down. I love my job 🙂

Covers have to be eye catching and capture the mood of the book. The artistry of some of the more recent YA covers astounds and inspires me! A picture really is worth a thousand words.
What’s in the YA pipeline for EP?

HH: We currently have two paranormal YA series (beginning with THE MARKED SON and TOUCH), a contemporary YA thriller/horror (HUSHED), a steamy upper YA sci-fi series (beginning with OBSIDIAN), a NA fantasy series (beginning with WARD AGAINST DEATH), an enthralling YA dystopian series (THE CHOSEN – coming Spring ’12), and a NA epic fantasy series (SWORDMAIDEN – coming Fall ’13) in the catalog. These books feature half-blooded fae, kids with supernatural abilities, a serial killer you can’t help but love, necromancers and assassins, hawt alien boys, star-crossed lovers taking down the government, and a girl on a quest that will lead to a whole lot more than unlocking her stolen memories. We also have several very exciting new series in the contract stages, so be on the lookout for those announcements!
What is EP currently looking for?

This changes fairly regularly, so authors will want to check out our month Wish List feature here on the blog. I can answer for right now, though! Keeping in mind all of Entangled’s books must have romantic elements, we’d like to see more YA and NA submissions in the following subgenres:

  • Contemporary romance that will appeal to adults as well as teens (think Jennifer Echols’ GOING TOO FAR and FORGET YOU, anything by John Green, Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, Barry Lyga’s BOY TOY, Sarah Ockler’s TWENTY BOY SUMMER, Simone Elkeles’ PERFECT CHEMISTRY series, Stephanie Perkins’ FRENCH KISS, etc…)
  • Contemporary thrillers that don’t let up until the last page (Kelley York’s HUSHED rocked our world!)
  • Fresh paranormal romances with new creatures or elements readers haven’t seen before
  • Fascinating characters that keep us up late at night and set our interns a-twittering


If you’re interested in querying us with your YA or NA manuscripts, check out our submissions guidelines. We look forward to hearing from you!



In addition to holding the Managing Editor position at Entangled Publishing, Heather Howland is an award-winning young adult author in love with all things dark and romantic. She spends her days editing, herding feral demon spawn, making book covers, wrangling release schedules, and hunting for the next great voice in EP’s slush pile. You can find her at or right here on Entangled’s blog.

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