Stacey Barney at Putnam has signed Divergent producer Pouya Shahbazian (l.) and co-author Sarah Fine (r.) for a YA sci-fi thriller series in a two-book, six-figure deal. Pitched as MacGyver meets War of the Worlds, the first book, Scan, is about a 16-year-old boy, one of the last humans on Earth, who takes his father's secret invention to school unaware it's the key to a potential interplanetary conflict. Shahbazian, head of film and TV for New Leaf Literary & Media, is writing under the name Walter Jury; Fine is writing under the name S.E. Fine. Scan is set for May 2014 publication. Joanna Volpe & Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary & Media brokered the deal.
Stacey Barney at Putnam has also pre-empted Renee Ahdieh's YA novel, The Wrath and the Dawn. The book, the first of a duet, is a reimagining of The Arabian Nights, where the wits of one girl are the only thing standing between a vulnerable kingdom and its ruthless boy-king. The acquisition was a six-figure, three-book deal for world English rights, brokered by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Agency.
Wesley Adams and Janine O'Malley at FSG have signed up Music Class Today, a debut picture book written and sung by David Weinstone, Brooklyn kindie rocker and founder of the Music for Aardvarks music classes. The book is both a celebration of the Music for Aardvarks classes and a reassuring story about a child trying out a new thing for the first time. An illustrator has not yet been chosen. Publication is planned for fall 2015; Erica Silverman at Sterling Lord Literistic did the deal for world rights.
Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency has sold world rights to two "history with a twist" nonfiction books by Sarah Albee, author of Poop Happened! A History of the World From the Bottom Up. Emily Easton at Walker has bought What Were They Thinking?, a high-interest, Ripley's Believe It or Not book of world history facts, based on the author's blog posts. And Jennifer Emmett at National Geographic acquired Killer Fashion: Foot-Crunching Footwear, Poisonous Powders, Humongous Hoop Skirts, Sinkable Swimwear, and Other Crazy Clothes We Used to Wear (working title). Publication dates have not yet been set.
Erica Sussman at HarperCollins has bought the first four books in a new middle-grade series called Roxbury Park Dog Club; Daphne Benedis Grab is writing them as Daphne Maple, In the first book, in order to save the dog shelter where she volunteers, Kim and her friends come up with the idea of an after-school program for dogs. But things get complicated when Kim's best friend starts spending time with new girl Taylor, and the Dog Club is threatened by an unhappy owner. Publication is planned for 2015; Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger made the deal for world rights.
Annette Pollert at Simon Pulse has bought world rights to Carolyn Lee Adam's debut novel Ruthless, in a pre-empt. In this YA thriller, a teen must fight for survival as a serial killer stalks her through the wilderness. A summer 2015 pub date has been set. Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency brokered the deal; film rights are with Brandy Rivers at the Gersh Agency.
Caroline Abbey at Bloomsbury has bought debut novelist Kristin Rae's Wish You Were Italian, as well as an untitled novel. Wish You Were Italian tells the story of 17-year-old Pippa, who ditches her summer art program abroad and sets out on her own in the hopes of falling in love with an Italian. Publication is scheduled for spring 2014; Marietta Zacker of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Pamela Garfinkel at Little, Brown has acquired Scarlett Undercover, a debut novel by Jennifer Latham. In the book, 16-year-old Muslim American Scarlett – smart, sarcastic, and a self-proclaimed private eye – finds herself at the center of an ancient mystery, as she discovers that her family secrets may have more to do with the case than she thinks. A spring 2015 pub date has been set; Rachel Orr at Prospect Agency did the deal for world English rights.
Melanie Cecka at Knopf has acquired a debut YA novel from adult novelist Christopher Barzak, called Wonders of the Invisible World. In it, a teenager must unravel a generations-old family curse before it destroys those he love. Publication is set for fall 2015; Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary brokered the deal for North American rights.
Nancy Conescu at Dial has bought world rights to The Uncorking of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas (The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant) and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee). The picture book tells of a solitary seafaring man who, the publisher explained, “wishes that someday one of the bottles that he is charged with opening will contain a message for him.” Cuevas was inspired to write the story after she learned that Queen Elizabeth I had appointed an official “Uncorker of Ocean Bottles” and it was a criminal offense for anyone other than the Uncorker to open messages in bottles. Publication is scheduled for 2016; Emily van Beek at Folio Literary Management represented Stead, and Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger represented Cuevas.
Sarah Landis at Harper Teen has acquired Dark Pointe, a YA mystery by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, in a six-figure pre-empt. The book is the first project from the authors' new packaging company CAKE Literary; it follows three students at a competitive Manhattan ballet academy, all vying for the prima ballerina spot. Publication is scheduled for summer 2015; Victoria Marini at Gelfman Schneider sold world English rights.
Joy Peskin at FSG has bought world rights to Red by Randall de Sève (Toy Boat), to be illustrated by Bob Staake (Bluebird). The picture book tells the story of a boy who has his heart set on getting a brand-new red fire truck for his birthday. Instead, his grandfather gives the boy his own toy fire truck, called Red, from when he was a child. As Grandpa tells stories of his adventures with the toy truck and helps him spruce it up, the boy overcomes his initial disappointment. Publication is set for fall 2015. Steven Malk of Writers House represented de Sève and Gillian MacKenzie of the Gillian MacKenzie Agency represented Staake.
Wesley Adams at FSG has signed Phil Bildner (author of The Unforgettable Season and the Sluggers series) for two middle-grade novels about best friends going through a fifth-grade year that is entirely unexpected, from the new teacher and basketball coach to the budget cuts and unorthodox classwork. The first book is slated for spring 2015 release; Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary did the deal for world rights.
HarperCollins Children's Books pre-empted a three-book middle-grade series, The Last Dragon Charmer, by debut author Laurie McKay; Phoebe Yeh acquired and Jocelyn Davies will edit. In book one, The Villain Keeper, a prince is pulled from his realm into Asheville, N.C., and discovers the local middle school is staffed with banished villains from his world. In his search for the way home, he must find a missing elf, outsmart the villains, and survive seventh grade. The first installment is planned for winter 2015; David Dunton of Harvey Klinger brokered the deal for world rights.
Karen Chaplin at HarperTeen has pre-empted a YA novel by Kelly Fiore, author of Taste Test and the forthcoming Just Like the Movies. Her new book, The People vs. Cecelia Price, was pitched as Sara Zarr meets Breaking Bad; it features a teenage girl accused of murdering her drug-addicted brother, though the truth is a lot more complicated. It will be published in fall 2015; Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media was the agent.
Michelle Frey at Knopf has acquired Suzanne Nelson's Shoes in the Street, a YA novel that follows a variety of characters from Nazi Germany to present-day New York, as their lives are interwoven through their contact with a special pair of pink high heels. Publication is set for fall 2015; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency did the deal for world rights.
Kristin Ostby at Simon & Schuster has pre-empted North American rights for Murder Most Unladylike: A Wells and Wong Mystery, a debut novel by Robin Stevens. Pitched as a middle-grade Agatha Christie and set in 1930s England, it features Hazel Wong and her best friend Daisy, who find a body in their boarding school and set about investigating the murder. Publication is scheduled for spring 2015; Gemma Cooper at the Bent Agency brokered the deal.
Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown has bought Caldecott Honor illustrator Patrick McDonnell's A Perfectly Messed-Up Story, about a boy who is trying to tell the perfect story, only to become frustrated when it keeps getting messed up. Publication is scheduled for fall 2014; Henry Dunow at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner did the deal for world rights.
Louise May at Lee & Low Books has acquired world rights to Marilyn Singer's Every Month's a New Year, a collection of original poems about New Year celebrations throughout the year and around the world. Publication is tentatively set for fall 2015; the publisher negotiated the deal directly with the author.