| Libba Bray. |
Photo: Cheryl Levine.
Libba Bray, hot off her Printz win for Going Bovine, has landed a major book deal at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Bray's agent-husband, Barry Goldblatt, sold North American rights, in an auction featuring six houses, to a new YA series called The Diviners to LBBYR senior v-p and publisher Megan Tingley, deputy publisher Andrew Smith, and senior editor Alvina Ling. Ling is set to edit the planned four-book series, which will bow in hardcover in fall 2012. The sale also marks a shift for Bray, whose last four novels were published by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers. Though LBBYR wouldn’t discuss the amount, rumors from other publishers participating in the auction placed the selling price at around $2 million.
In The Diviners, a supernatural fantasy series set in Manhattan during the 1920s, Bray follows a teen heroine she says is reminiscent of two of the era's most famous literary women—Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. Bray, who admitted to having always been fascinated by the Jazz Age, said she's looking forward "to offering readers a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.”
Bray, who found wide critical acclaim with last year's Going Bovine—a dark comedy about a teenager who goes on a trippy (and possibly hallucinatory) cross-country jaunt with a dwarf, after being diagnosed with mad cow disease—released her first standalone novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty, with Delacorte in 2003. That book performed well with readers and reviewers alike and went on to become the first title in Bray's bestselling Victorian fantasy series featuring protagonist Gemma Doyle; the trilogy has sold more than 1.25 million copies.