DEAL OF THE WEEK
Sterling Puts a ‘Hex’ on Avon
For Avon Books, Tessa Woodward bought world English rights, after a six-house auction, to Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex. The six-figure, two-book deal was brokered by Holly Root at Root Literary on behalf of Sterling (a pen name of Rachel Hawkins). Root said the novel was pitched as “Hocus Pocus in the Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow” (Stars Hollow being the small town where the TV show Gilmore Girls is set). Root went on to say that the book follows “a witch who discovers her silly bad breakup ritual might have actually worked when her ex-boyfriend returns to town years later and everything around them begins to go haywire.” The Ex Hex is set for fall 2021.
FROM THE U.S.
Richards’s ‘Monsters’ Scare Harper
Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Willa C. Richards sold her debut novel, The Comfort of Monsters, to Sara Nelson at Harper. The book, Nelson said, traverses two timelines—in 1991 and 2019—and follows a young woman from Milwaukee “as she attempts to come to terms with her sister’s disappearance during the summer that Jeffrey Dahmer terrorized the city.” Samantha Shea at Georges Borchardt Inc. represented Richards, selling U.S., Canadian, and open market rights to the book, which is slated for summer 2021.
Walker Enters Trehan’s ‘House’
After an auction, Susan Van Metre at Walker Books US won Meera Trehan’s debut, the middle grade novel The View from the Very Best House in Town. Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency handled the two-book world English rights deal. Hawn said the novel, set for fall 2021, is “told from the perspectives of a pompous McMansion, the girl who adores it, and the boy she thought was her best friend.”
LBYR Goes ‘Out There’ with Miller
With a six-figure preempt, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ Andrea Colvin bought Seaerra Miller’s Out There. Alex Slater at Trident Media Group sold world rights to the debut middle grade graphic novel, along with a second title. Colvin said the book follows a girl named Julia’s trip to Roswell, N.Mex. Believing her father was abducted by aliens, Julia, Colvin explained, “is tested, and new friendships are formed while others are severed.” Out There is slated for winter 2023.
‘Guess How Much’ Sequel Sells
Walker Books acquired a sequel to the iconic and bestselling picture book Guess How Much I Love You. Karen Lotz at Walker, which is based in the U.K., took world rights to Will You Be My Friend? by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram; in the U.S., Walker subsidiary Candlewick will publish the book. Candlewick said that, since being published in 1994, Guess How Much I Love You has sold more than 47 million copies worldwide. The new book, set for September 29, follows Little Nutbrown Hare as he goes on a solo adventure in which, per Candlewick, “something extraordinary happens: he discovers a new friend.” The deal was unagented.
Holm’s ‘Lion’ Roars at Random House
Newbery Honor–winner Jennifer L. Holm sold The Lion of Mars in an exclusive submission to Random House’s Michelle Nagler. The novel follows an 11-year-old named Bell who lives on a settlement on Mars. Holm was represented by Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Grinberg said that in the book, when a mysterious illness hits Bell’s community, the child “must break Earth Command’s isolationist rules to seek help from the foreign settlements.” The author, agent added, has sold more than three million copies of her books. Lion is set for spring 2021.