Candlewick Nabs McGhee’s ‘Matylda’
Literary agent and president of Pippin Properties Holly McGhee has sold her first middle-grade novel, Matylda of the Bright and Tender Skin. Hilary Van Dusen at Candlewick won North American rights, in a four-publisher auction, from agent Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin. The book, which is set for spring 2017, is about “two friends, loss, and a leopard gecko named Maytlda,” the agency said.

Mackintosh Crosses Pond for Berkley
Jackie Cantor at Berkley Books acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to two novels by British author Clare Mackintosh, including her fiction debut, I Let You Go. Kate Hibbert at Little Brown UK brokered the deal with Cantor. The book, which LB UK published earlier this month (after one of its imprints, Sphere, released the title in e-book last fall) was just selected as a Summer Book Club pick by the popular U.K. talk show Richard & Judy. Berkley said the psychological thriller, about the death of a five-year-old boy in a hit-and-run accident, features a “gasp-inducing twist” and was inspired by an actual crime—Mackintosh previously worked for the Thames Valley Police Department. Berkley is publishing I Let You Go in May 2016.

‘Night Speed’ Lands at Katherine Tegen
For HarperCollins’s Katherine Tegen Books imprint, Ben Rosenthal won world English rights to Chris Howard’s YA novel Night Speed at auction. Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency handled the sale for Howard, a former National Park Service employee whose debut, Rootless (Scholastic, 2012), was featured in Publishers Weekly’s “Flying Starts” feature. Night Speed, Rennert said, is about a teen who, in an act of revenge, uses a highly addictive drug that bestows superhuman strength and speed in order to “infiltrate an elite gang of breaknecks using the drug to commit crimes.” Rennert said she pitched the book, set for summer 2016, as “having the cinematic flair of The Matrix, the literary style of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, and the no-holds-barred truth telling of Ellen Hopkins.”

Crispell Closes Double at Thomas Dunne
Susan Bishop Crispell inked a two-book world rights deal with Kat Brzozowski at Thomas Dunne Books. Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary brokered the deal with Brzozowski, who preempted the women’s fantasy fiction titles Wishes to Nowhere and The Probability of Fate. Brzozowski said the books both feature elements of magical realism. In Wishes, a young woman named Rachel, who has the ability to make people’s wishes come true, winds up in a small North Carolina town called Nowhere; there she meets a Southern gentleman and tries to start her life over. The other book in the deal, Probability of Fate, is set in Malarkey, another fictional North Carolina town, and follows a local confectioner who makes magical chocolates.

Norton Invests in Jamaican Author’s Debut
For Norton’s Liveright imprint, Katie Adams took North American rights to Nicole Dennis-Benn’s debut novel, Here Comes the Sun. Julie Barer at Barer Literary represented the Jamaican-born author in the deal. The book is set in a small fishing village just outside of Montego Bay that lies on the planned site of a future luxury resort. Liveright elaborated that the book is about four women in the town and explores “the experience of Jamaica’s working class, [and] the universal themes of family, love, acceptance, and identity.” Dennis-Benn, who has received fellowships from the MacDowell Writers Colony and the Vermont Studio Center, has an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

TV Writer McGee Takes ‘Ryan Quinn’ to HC Kids
Writer/producer of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, Ron McGee, closed a two-book world English rights deal with David Linker at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Ryan Quinn: Freedom Run, the first title in a planned middle grade series, is about the titular 14-year-old who, after his parents disappear, finds out his family is part of a secret organization dating back to WWII that performs dangerous rescue missions. Joy Tutela at the David Black Literary Agency represented McGee in the deal and said she pitched the series as “Alex Rider meets Jason Bourne.” McGee has a long history writing for television—he’s written a number of TV movies for channels ranging from Lifetime to ABC to the Disney Channel—and is currently developing an original series for TNT called Sawyer & Stone.