Penguin Nabs O’Hara Debut
Associate fiction editor at literary magazine Ploughshares, Maryanne O’Hara, sold her first novel, Swift Rising River, to Penguin. Kathryn Court took world rights to the Depression-era set work from Stephanie Cabot at the Gernert Company. In the book, slated for a winter 2013 publication, the residents of a New England town are forced to confront the grim reality that their hamlet is one of several areas set to be flooded to bring water to Boston. Cabot said the book “explores themes of freedom, friendship, repentance, and forgiveness.”

S&S Puts Han Han Behind the Wheel
Jonathan Karp and Karen Thompson, at Simon & Schuster, acquired two titles by Han Han—the essay collection Youth and the novel 1988. The 28-year-old, who is a professional race car driver and wildly popular blogger in his native China, has written six novels and has never before been translated into English. Marysia Juszczakiewicz, at the Hong Kong–based Peony Literary Agency, sold world English rights and said that Han is scheduled to be the subject of a forthcoming New Yorker profile.

Touchstone Goes Back to the Kitchen with Atkins
Michelle Howry at Touchstone took world rights (excluding the U.K.) to The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook. The deal follows the success of The New Atkins for a New You, which Touchstone published in March 2010 and which now has more than 400,000 copies in print. The cookbook, which Joy Tutela at David Black Literary Agency sold, features 200 low-carb recipes that promise cook-times of no more than 30 minutes and 10 ingredients. The book is being written by the Atkins National Team.

PBYR Lands De la Cruz Series
Melissa de la Cruz and her husband, Michael Johnston sold world rights to a new YA series called The Other Land Chronicles to G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. De la Cruz writes the bestselling YA series Blue Bloods and Johnston is, per the publisher, an uncredited co-creator of that and other works she has authored. The Other Land Chronicles is set in 111 C.D., or “111 years after a catastrophic disaster.” In this bleak new age in which the planet is blanketed by a sheet of ice, a motley group of friends leads the dawn of a new civilization. Jennifer Besser acquired three books from Richard Abate at 3 Arts Entertainment; book one, Frozen, is scheduled for spring 2013.

Top Chefs Hall and Isabella Hit the (Cook)Books
Mike Isabella, Top Chef season six contestant and runner-up on the recent edition of Top Chef All-Stars, sold his first cookbook to Da Capo, Flavors from a Jersey Italian. Katie McHugh pre-empted world rights from Howard Yoon at the Ross-Yoon Agency; the title is scheduled for fall 2012. Isabella, whose Washington, D.C., restaurant Graffiato is scheduled to open this spring, was previously executive chef at José Andrés’s Zaytinya. Isabella’s cookbook, Da Capo said, will feature recipes inspired by his New Jersey roots as well as “the traditional Italian and Mediterranean dishes he learned from his grandmother, but with a twist.”

Carla Hall, who initially appeared on season five of Top Chef and then won the “fan favorite” award after her run on Top Chef All-Stars, has inked a two-book deal with Free Press. Hall, who will also be cohosting a forthcoming daytime food show on ABC with Mario Batali called The Chew, will deliver recipes S&S said will “revolutionize” comfort food in the first title in the deal, Cooking with Love: Food That Hugs You. Hall will be co-writing with food writer Genevieve Ko, and the book is scheduled for fall 2012. Senior editor Leslie Meredith bought North American rights to the titles, at auction, from agent Janis A. Donnaud, who worked with Jessica Weiner at Artists Agency.

In a sizable two-book pre-empt, Wendy Loggia at Delacorte bought a futuristic YA thriller series by newcomer Lissa Price called Starters. Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman brokered the North American rights deal and said the series is set in a dangerously youth-obsessed society where one girl has the “ability to bring it all crumbling down.”