Brazil Gets Courageous at Nat Geo
At National Geographic Books, Hilary Black took world rights to Pulitzer winner J.J. (Jeff) Brazil’s Unbreakable: What Science Is Discovering About the Nature and Source of Courage. The book, which was sold by Dystel & Goderich Literary Management’s Jane Dystel, is an examination of the “science of courage,” according to the agency. DGLM said the work examines this emerging field to ask questions such as, “Can courage be learned? Are there different kinds? Is there a genetic factor?” Brazil, a journalist, won the Pulitzer in 1993, with another reporter, for a series in the Orlando Sentinel about racially motivated traffic stops and cash seizures by Florida police.

HMH Kids Nabs YA Thriller
Margaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers bought North American rights to the YA novel Charlie, Presumed Dead, by Anne Heltzel (Circle Nine). Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media brokered the deal for Heltzel, and the book, set for a spring 2015 release, features, per HMH, a “Gone Girl–esque plot.” The novel follows two teenage girls who meet at the funeral of the titular undergrad, after he supposedly perished in an explosion on campus. Each girl then discovers that she is not Charlie’s one true love, as she previously believed; the girls also realize that they may be at the center of a trap he has set. Heltzel is a former Razorbill editor.

Newcomer Sommers Gets Six Figures at HC
At HarperCollins’s Katherine Tegen Books imprint, Jill Davis preempted North American rights to two books by debut author Jackie Lea Sommers, for six figures. The first novel, called Truest, follows a pastor’s daughter and her relationship with two new arrivals in her town—a young writer and his twin sister. Truest is set for release in 2016. Agent Steven Chudney at the Chudney Agency represented Sommers, and called Truest a novel of “summer love, smalltown secrets, and the darker side of philosophy.”

B’Bury Gets ‘Thorny’ for Carter
In a joint U.S.-U.K. acquisition, Bloomsbury nabbed world English rights, with a six-figure preempt, to Aimee Carter’s middle-grade fantasy series, Simon Thorn. Catherine Onder, at Bloomsbury U.S., and Ellen Holgate, at Bloomsbury U.K., negotiated the three-book deal with agent Rosemary Stimola, at Stimola Literary Studio. (Working on Stimola’s behalf in the U.K. was Alex Webb, at Rights People.) The action-adventure story will kick off with Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den, which is planned for a joint U.S-U.K. release in fall 2015. In the books, Thorn, a 12-year-old who is frequently bullied, finds out he is part of a secret human race that can turn into animals. This race, as Stimola explained, “may be the key to peace among five warring animal kingdoms.”

Basic Does the ‘Math’ With Benjamin
In a six-figure deal, Thomas Kelleher at Basic Books took world rights to Arthur Benjamin’s The Magic of Math. Agent Karen Gantz Zahler, at Karen Gantz Literary Management, represented Benjamin, who is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. Benjamin has written a number of books that aim to make math fun, and his 2006 title, The Secrets of Mental Math (Three Rivers), has, Gantz said, sold over 100,000 copies to date. Magic Math, which is subtitled Solving for x and Figuring Out Why, is set for a spring 2015 release and will, Gantz said, be a “lighthearted exploration of key mathematical ideas.”