In another major YA acquisition before the Bologna Book Fair, Ben Schrank at Razorbill pre-empted North American rights to the debut novel by high school teacher Beth Revis, Across the Universe. Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House brokered the deal, which is for three books, and Universe is scheduled for spring 2011. In the novel, set in the near future, a teenager is cryogenically frozen only to thaw too soon, before arriving at the new planet that's her destination. Set to wake 300 years in the future, She rouses 50 years too early, still on a spaceship in transit. Schrank said he thinks the book will do for popular sci-fi what The Hunger Games did for postapocalyptic fiction. Rights have been pre-empted in the U.K. (by Razorbill UK, which will do a joint publication with Penguin USA) and Germany, and sales have also closed in France and Greece.
Cashore Reups at Dial
Kristin Cashore, author of the YA fantasy series that started with Graceling (2009), has struck a deal to keep the third book in the trilogy at Dial. Kathy Dawson bought North American rights to Bitterblue from Faye Bender at Faye Bender Literary. The series is set in the kingdom of Dells and book two (Fire) is a prequel to book one (Graceling). In Bitterblue, which takes place six years after the death of King Leck (a major character from book one who also appears in book two), 16-year-old Queen Bitterblue is struggling with running a shaken society and her role as a monarch. Dial is planning Bitterblue for 2011; rights to the first two books have sold in 25 languages.
Colton the Kid
In an auction with eight bidders, Elisabeth Dyssegaard at Hyperion won North American rights to Bob Friel's Colt. The book is expanded from a January 2010 Outside magazine story Friel wrote called “The Ballad of Colton Harris-Moore,” about the titular 18-year-old criminal who graduated from bicycle theft at age eight to stealing everything from speedboats to (supposedly) three airplanes (sans a pilot license). Harris-Moore, who's still at large in the Pacific Northwest, is something of a cause célèbre—there are nearly 20,000 members of the “Colton Harris-Moore Fan Club” on Facebook—and was dubbed “America's Most Wanted Teenage Bandit” by Time magazine in 2009. Agent Joe Veltre brokered the deal.
Beak to Paw
Melanie Cecka, at Bloomsbury Children's Books USA, spent six figures pre-empting world rights, in a three-book deal, to Jennifer Sattler's picture book Chick 'N' Pug. Anna Olswanger at Liza Dawson Associates represented Sattler, and Chick 'N' Pug—about a chicken who gets bored with life in the coop, but realizes a dog's life isn't all it's cracked up to be after following a lazy pug—is scheduled for fall 2010.
Kathy Sagan, at Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books, took world rights to The World As We Know It, a new novel by Joseph Monninger (Eternal on the Water). Andrea Cirillo at Jane Rotrosen sold the book, about two brothers who have to confront the elements when they try to rescue a girl from an accident in the throes of winter.
Agent Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank sold world rights to two humor books to Veronica Randall at Ten Speed Press (now part of Crown). Randall bought Ann Dziemianowicz's Careers for Your Cat and Chuck Sambuchino's How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. In the cat title, illustrated by Ann Boyajian, Dziemianowicz pushes for cats to bring home more of the bacon, as it were, during this recession. Sambuchino includes illustrations and diagrams in his title on how to ward off offensives by often-mocked lawn statues.