Kristin Ostby

Kristin Ostby represents authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as picture book author/illustrators. She is primarily seeking voice- and character-driven contemporary middle-grade and young adult fiction, with a focus on BIPOC creators.

Prior to becoming a literary agent, Kristin moved from Michigan to New York to begin her career in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She has edited children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). She also edited bestselling I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. She loves guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Kristin is currently seeking primarily BIPOC creators of MG and YA fiction.

Top of her wish list are:

  • MG and YA mystery, including contemporary mystery, mystery-comedy, whodunits, cozy mystery, paranormal or supernatural mysteries, historical mysteries, and thrillers
  • Hooky, feel-good MG and young YA with light fantasy elements like Freaky Friday, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or escapist fare like The Princess Diaries
  • Native and indigenous stories of all kinds

In MG, she would love to find:

  • adventure featuring a boy protagonist, a richly developed world, and a cheeky sense of humor
  • friendship stories a la Lisa Greenwald, Sarah Weeks, and Wendy Mass
  • novels in verse (where the verse serves a function and is more than just prose with line breaks)

In YA, she is looking for:

  • romance with a speculative element or an unusual form/structure/timeline
  • Insecure for teens, i.e., frank, funny contemporary stories about romance and friendship
  • historical romance from a BIPOC perspective
  • YA of all genres with distinct settings outside of school—for example, stories that take place on vacation or in summertime, or a road trip or workplace story

She is also open to upmarket adult mystery with potential for series. Some I’ve loved include Thursday Murder ClubGirl Waits with Gun, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, the Cormoran Strike novels, the Inspector Gamache series, and of course, Gillian Flynn.

She always loves:

  • humor
  • rich ensemble casts
  • coming-of-age stories
  • fish-out-of-water stories
  • friendship stories
  • subplots built around nuanced family dynamics, particularly parent-child or sibling relationships
  • MG with an accessible, classic literary sensibility like When You Reach Me
  • books with descriptions of elaborate feasts

She is interested in chapter books but they can be a challenge; however, she’d really like to see a funny, character-driven chapter book in the vein of Dory Fantasmagory and featuring a BIPOC main character.

She is also seeking illustrators who write picture books and graphic novels to my client list. For graphic novels, I’m particularly interested in works for the younger end of the spectrum (5–7 years) like Narwhal and Jelly.

She is NOT accepting picture book manuscripts, graphic novel scripts, issue books, or nonfiction at this time. Greenhouse does not represent poetry collections, short story collections, screenplays, erotica, or titles for the Christian/inspirational market.