I run a wide gamut of interest for young adult readers, but the most important thing to me in this space is a high concept and a strong YA voice, beautiful writing on the line level, and character-driven arcs that remind readers they're all the center of their own stories. One of the biggest elements I am looking for in YA is books that aren't necessarily written for to satisfy a dominant majority -- whether that is race, social class, gender, sexuality, or something else. I want books that are unapologetic and honest in their execution, and know exactly the audience they're writing to, even if that audience is niche or small.
I'm looking for horror with depth and nuance, especially those that frame the world in new and terrifying ways. I love a good body horror, well-executed gore, creepy psychological mind games, a good murder, and having to wonder which characters are going to make it to the end. I want to be deeply invested, and then to throw the book across the room at least once.
I'm always looking for high-concept contemporary fantasy or second world stories, non-European fairytale retellings or adaptations of Western fables through a non-Western sense, near-future science fiction that isn't necessarily dystopian, weird dystopias rooted in science or science fiction, stories that embrace the horrible, beautiful power of creatures we've come to think of as whimsical. I love an externalization of emotion or personality — think familiars, or daemons form HDM — or other approaches that serve as physical manifestations of heart vs head conflicts.
Finally, I'm looking for romance or romcoms, with a few twists. I would love to see more stories featuring Indigenous or Black leads, male perspective romances where the lead might surprise me, and love stories featuring the platonic soulmate. I'd love more agender or aromantic protagonists whose journey leads them to understanding that loving differently isn't loving wrong, cheesy, sappy romcoms with emphasis on the comedy (especially if it feels like the anecdote of a poor, confused poster found on /r/relationships), and romances that work for it.