Bestselling author David Baldacci has signed with Scholastic Press for his first standalone children's book, a fantasy novel called The Finisher. Scholastic took North American rights to the book and is planning a March 4, 2014, publication for the title, which is targeted at children 9-13.

Baldacci is not entirely new to children's books; Scholastic recently published his Day of Doom, which was the final book in The 39 Clues series. In The Finisher, a 14-year-old girl named Vega Jane lives in a village called Wormwood where the citizens have been told that the forest surrounding them is full of monsters. When Vega's mentor disappears, leaving behind a secret message, she begins to realize, Scholastic said, that Wormwood is "a village built on dangerous lies."

Aaron M. Priest, who has an eponymous agency, negotiated the sale with Scholastic Trade president Ellie Berger; Rachel Griffiths, executive editor of Scholastic Press, will edit the book.