Ally Condie.
Photo: Erin Summerill.

That a publisher is championing the notion it’s landed the next Stephenie Meyer isn’t very surprising, but Dutton Children’s Books certainly seems to be speaking in more than hyperbole when it compares its newest author to the bestselling scribe from Arizona. Last week the Penguin Young Readers Group imprint laid down a seven-figure advance for three books from Ally Condie, in a heated auction featuring seven other houses. Condie, a Brigham Young University alum and stay-at-home mom of three boys (like Meyer), grew up in Utah and is repped by Jodi Reamer at Writers House (also like Meyer). The first book in the deal, Matched, is a dystopian novel that Dutton likens to Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale.