In a six figure deal, Dutton Children's Books bought a debut YA novel by a young editor at another Penguin imprint. Don Weisberg pre-empted North American rights to Razorbill editor Jessica Rothenberg's The Catastrophic History of You and Me.
Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media closed the deal, which is for two books, just 24 hours after submitting the proposal. In the book, a 15-year-old girl who literally dies of a broken heart must pass through five stages of grief before she can move on to the afterlife...and restore her faith in love. Barbara said he pitched the book as The Lovely Bones meets Forever.
And, if death from an overwrought high school love affair seems a bit far afield, the book was actually inspired by a bit of arcane medical science. Last month, the Wall Street Journal ran a story exposing a rare medical condition known as broken-heart syndrome. The malady, which often mimics a heart attack, is unusual since it isn't brought on by a physical trauma but, instead, an emotional one. As the paper explained, in the few cases of broken-heart syndrome, a devastating personal event triggers an unusually large dose of adrenaline to the heart, which overwhelms the muscle.
Lauri Hornik, president and publisher of Dutton Children's Books and Dial Books for Young Readers, will edit and Penguin is planning a fall 2011 publication.