Norton Grabs Mustafah’s ‘Face’

In a North American rights agreement, Norton’s Jill Bialosky bought Sahar Mustafah’s debut novel, The Beauty of Your Face, at auction. The book, sold by Robin Straus and Katelyn Hales at the Robin Straus Agency, is about a young Palestinian-American woman whose sister disappears. The agency said the novel follows how Afaf Rahman and her family are “forever changed by the disappearance of her older sister and a shooter who threatens the Nurrideen School for Girls, where Afaf is the principal.” Mustafah’s first book, the short story anthology Code of the West (Willow Books), was published in 2017; her short fiction has also garnered a number of literary honors, earning her, among other nods, three Pushcart Prize nominations and the Guild Literary Complex Prize.

Bentley Closes Double at Berkley
Tom Colgan at Berkley took world English rights, in a preempt, to two books by Don Bentley. The first title, launching a new thriller series, is called Without Sanction; the second book is a currently untitled novel. Berkley said Without Sanction, which Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency sold, follows a PTSD-stricken DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) officer named Matt Drake, who “must to return to Syria to face his biggest failure but unearths much more than he bargained for, including his own redemption.” The book is set for spring 2020.

Orbit Buys Merbeth’s ‘Fortuna’
For Orbit, Bradley Englert nabbed world English rights to Fortuna, the first title in a space opera trilogy by Kristyn Merbeth. The series, Merbeth’s agent, Emmanuelle Morgen at Stonesong, said, is about “following a family of interplanetary smugglers” in which “a young woman must assume leadership of the family’s black-market business dealings after her mother, the matriarch, steps down, only to find that she has inherited far more than a ship and a crew.” Fortuna is slated for fall 2019.

Science journalist Maia Szalavitz (Unbroken Brain) sold Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction to Renee Sedliar at Da Capo Lifelong Books. Da Capo said the book, which Andrew Stuart at the Stuart Agency sold, is “a narrative history of the philosophy and activists behind harm reduction, a simple yet revolutionary idea that has begun to transform the treatment of addiction.” The book is set for spring 2021.

Ace’s Rebecca Brewer took North American and open market rights to two novels by Sarah Pinsker. The author, an award-winning short story writer, sold a work of speculative fiction called Song for a New Day through the deal; Ace said it is “set in the virtual reality dominated near future of Pinsker’s Nebula Award–winning novelette ‘Our Lady of the Open Road.’ ” New Day, which Kim-Mei Kirtland at Morhaim Literary sold, is set for October 2019.

Susan Ashline sold Without a Prayer: The Death of Lucas Leonard and How One Church Became a Cult to Katie McGuire at Pegasus Books. McGuire, who bought world English rights from Lane Heymont at the Tobias Literary Agency, said the book follows the case of Leonard, who died in 2015 after being extensively tortured by his parents and other members of their congregation turned cult, the Word of Life Christian Church. McGuire elaborated, saying “Ashline delves deep into the Leonard family history and the darkness within the Word of Life community.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly recounted the details of the case that Susan Ashline's book, Without a Prayer, chronicles.

For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.