When 19-year-oldJennifer Barnes returns to school this fall, she'll have some good material for her essay on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." At the recent BEA, Curtis Brown enthusiastically flogged copies of the Yale undergrad's debut YA novel, Golden, to foreign scouts. The result? Five sales to major foreign territories, bringing the total number up to eight. In the weeks after scouts got the manuscript, copies began showing up on the West Coast. The novel's cinematic "Carrie meets Mean Girls" premise could be why: a high school girl moves to a new town just as she's coming to terms with her psychic powers. After a hunky boy flirts with her, she quickly becomes a target of the popular clique of nasty girls known as the Goldens. Her powers help her "see" the hidden alliances and rivalries of the hated in-crowd, but they also lead her to suspect that an adored teacher might be harboring an evil secret—one that threatens the girl's life.
The leak has created one chaotic week for Curtis Brown film agent Holly Frederick . As she juggles film inquiries about Golden, she's also out with Born to Rock, a hot YA book by veteran children's book author Gordon Korman . At press time, the manuscript—about an uptight Young Republican who believes his biological father is an '80s punk rock star—is in at every studio. Hyperion will publish Born in fall 2006. Random House will publish Golden next summer (just in time for Barnes's graduation). Curtis Brown's Elizabeth Harding represents both authors for lit.
Who loves a dishy insider tell-all more, publishing's denizens or Hollywood's? Romans à clef set in the world of politics (Primary Colors), the Upper East Side (The Nanny Diaries) and Condé Nast (The Devil Wears Prada) all became huge bestsellers—and landed lucrative film deals. Now comes Academy X, which takes on a subject long overdue for comic treatment: Manhattan private schools. The author depicts the quest for a coveted acceptance letter to an Ivy League school more as teen bloodsport than meritocracy. He should know—he's an anonymous teacher at one of the city's top private schools. Though the manuscript leaked widely to the town, agent Judith Riven is taking a decidedly old-school approach to film rights: she'll wait for the edited manuscript before choosing a film agent. Bloomsbury will publish Academy X in spring 2006.
If passion is one of the most important qualities a producer can have, you want Karen Leigh Hopkins in your corner. The actress-writer-director-producer has just set up Pamela Paul 's The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony (Villard) at Gold Circle Films a full three years after first reading it. The nonfiction book examines why first marriages fail and will serve as source material for a fictionalized story Hopkins will write and executive produce. Paul doesn't have to worry about Gold Circle's check bouncing—the company put up half of the $5 million budget for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which ultimately grossed $241 million in the U.S. Andrew Blauner reps Paul for lit. CAA's Matt Snyder negotiated the film deal.