Wang Says ‘Hello’ to Simon Pulse

Simon Pulse’s Jennifer Ung bought Rona Wang’s debut novel at auction for six figures. You Had Me at Hello World, which is slated for spring 2022, was sold by Penny Moore at Aevitas Creative Management in a two-book, world rights deal. The author is an undergraduate at MIT and was featured as a 2018 “22 Under 22” honoree by Her Campus (an online magazine for female undergraduates). The agent said the YA novel is a rom-com about “a Chinese American teen who is invited to a weekend-long coding competition at MIT, where she teams up with a cute tech industry prodigy to work on an app to help immigrants connect and put down roots.”


Berkley Puts Sutanto on Speed ‘Dial’

After a four-way auction, Cindy Hwang at Berkley won Jesse Q Sutanto’s Dial A for Aunties. The novel was, Berkley said, “pitched as Crazy Rich Asians meets Weekend at Bernie’s.” Set tentatively for April 2021, Dial follows a young wedding photographer who, along with her mother and aunts, tries to hide the body of her blind date while working the wedding day of a wealthy client. Hwang described the book as “more than a great read—it’s an experience. K-drama meets telenovela with a side of rom-com.” Sutanto, who has a master’s degree in creative writing from the Oxford University, was represented in the two-book, North American rights agreement by Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management.

Mitchard Takes ‘Only’ to Mira

In a six-figure, world rights acquisition, Mira’s Kathy Sagan won My Only by Jacquelyn Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean). Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management represented the bestselling author. Mira said My Only, set for 2021, follows a mother who learns the truth about the murder conviction that her college-age son is facing. The publisher called the book “an emotional novel of love and forgiveness.”

Sullivan Is Caught ‘Sleeping’ at Bestler

Connor Sullivan’s spy thriller The Sleeping Bear was bought in a two-book, world English rights deal by Emily Bestler for her eponymous imprint at Atria. Meg Ruley at the Jane Rotrosen Agency represented Sullivan. The publisher said Sleeping Bear follows a former Army Ranger who flees to Alaska when the death of her husband makes her “a pawn in a perilous game with Russia.” The author, who was previously a competitive alpine skier, attended the University of Southern California, where he won the school’s Edward W. Moses Award for Creative Writing.

Rodkey Goes ‘Lights Out’ at Perennial

For Harper Perennial, Sara Nelson nabbed North American rights to a dark comedy called Lights Out in Lincolnwood. Author Geoff Rodkey, who wrote the screenplay for the movie Daddy Daycare, follows a suburban New Jersey family over the course of four days as, Nelson explained, they “attempt to navigate the social breakdown that occurs after the entire technological infrastructure of society mysteriously collapses.” Josh Getzler at HG Literary represented Rodkey, and the novel is tentatively slated for summer 2021.

Pegasus Buys Italian Hit

Jessica Case at Pegasus Books nabbed North American rights to The Portrait by Ilaria Bernardini. Case said the novel, published in Italy in February, is a “story of a lover, a wife—and the man they have in common.” Case negotiated the deal with David Forrer at Inkwell Management, who sold the book on behalf of Atlantic Books U.K. The Portrait has been optioned by Lorenzo Mieli (who produced the HBO series My Brilliant Friend and The Young Pope). Bernardini is the author of eight novels and is a Vogue Italia columnist.