Balibrera’s ‘Daughters’ Go to Pantheon

After an auction, Naomi Gibbs at Pantheon won The Volcano Daughters by Gina María Balibrera for six figures. The debut novel is Gibbs’s first purchase at the Penguin Random House imprint. It follows two sisters who flee El Salvador during the 1930s, escaping La Matanza (the Massacre)—mass killings perpetrated by the government in response to a peasant uprising. The girls make stops in California and Paris, Pantheon explained, and are “each watched over by a chorus of furies, the ghosts of their childhood friends who were killed in La Matanza but are not done telling their own stories.” Balibrera, a former independent bookseller with an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, was represented by Stephanie Delman at Trellis Literary Management.

Smith’s Latest Gives Scribner Chills

Scribner’s Colin Robinson preempted North American rights to Cold People by Tom Rob Smith. Smith (the Child 44 series) was represented by Mitch Hoffman at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency. The publisher described the novel, set for fall 2022, as “a futuristic thriller about an Antarctic colony of global apocalypse survivors trying to reinvent civilization under the most extreme conditions imaginable.” Smith is also an Emmy-winning TV writer; his forthcoming series, Class of ’09, will debut on FX in fall 2022.

Dorman Likes Baszile’s ‘People’

In a world rights agreement, Pamela Dorman, who has an eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House, bought Good People, the sophomore novel by Natalie Baszile. Baszile, whose 2014 debut Queen Sugar was adapted into an OWN series of the same name, was represented by Kimberly Witherspoon at Inkwell Management. Good People spins around an incident in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood in which the police are called about the adopted Black son of a white family. The publisher elaborated that the book is a “what-would-you-do” tale about “the nuances of class, race, wealth, and education, centering on two best friends, one Black and one white.” Good People is slated for summer 2023.

Reynolds Re-ups at Avery

Gretchen Reynolds (The First 20 Minutes) sold her second book, Quick: The New Science of How Little Exercise We Can, Maybe, Get Away With, to Avery’s Caroline Sutton. The book, Avery said, is derived from Reynolds’s work as a wellness reporter for the New York Times and offers “a deeper understanding of how and why movement affects the human body” and “how much exercise we really need.” Sam Stoloff at the Francis Goldin Literary Agency sold world English rights to Quick, which is tentatively scheduled for spring 2024.

Sutanto Sells Five to Berkley

Bestselling author Jesse Q. Sutanto (Dial A for Aunties) inked a five-book, North American rights agreement with Berkley. Cindy Hwang bought the novels from Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. The first book under contract, I’m Not Done with You Yet, is slated for fall 2022 and is, Berkley said, “about the complex and twisted friendship between two women writers—one successful and the other not—and the obsession one has with the other.” The publisher compared the novel to The Woman in the Window, adding that it “serves as a powerful discussion on racial stereotypes, classism, and social status.” The other books in the deal include another standalone thriller, the third and fourth entries in the author’s Meddelin Chan series, and a standalone romantic comedy.

Lee’s ‘Shot’ Lands at Dell

Dell’s Shauna Summers won North American rights to Victoria Lee’s adult debut, A Shot in the Dark. The contemporary queer romance, sold in a two-book agreement by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary, is about a young artist who returns to New York City to study under a famous photographer, who is “now sober and ready to face the ghosts of the past.”