Barrington Stoke will publish Rock Bottom: A Midsummer Nightmare and Tripwrecked!, two Shakespeare-inspired middle-grade novels by Ross Montgomery.
Editorial director Ailsa Bathgate acquired world rights for Rock Bottom from Claire Wilson at Rogers Coleridge & White; the title will be will published on 1st October 2020. World rights forTripwrecked!, which will follow in summer 2021, were acquired in a separate deal.
Rock Bottom is about a disastrous school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The title is an "accessible tie-in for school studies and a first introduction to Shakespeare", says the publisher. Teaching notes and resources will be available on publication.
The first title follows Nick, who is in love with Jessie Stone—but she doesn't even know his name. To win her over, he plans to star alongside her in the school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". When Nick is cast as the foolish Bottom instead of the romantic lead, school mischief-maker Robyn has some crafty ideas to help Nick get Jessie's attention. Rock Bottom will also feature black-and-white artwork from Mark Beech.
Tripwrecked is pitted as "school trip meets 'The Tempest'."
Bathgate commented: "Ross Montgomery is an author who knows just what his middle-grade readers are looking for and in Rock Bottom he delivers it to them in an agonisingly hilarious account of unrequited love. With a staging of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' unlike any you will have encountered before, this tale of dramatic disasters will engage and amuse even the most reluctant reader of Shakespeare's funniest play."
Montgomery commented: "I love Barrington Stoke—I've wanted to write something for them for years! It's so important for middle-grade readers to have access to short stories and novellas as well as longer books, and even more so when those books are accessible for all. Rock Bottom is finally my chance to write the book that seven years of primary school teaching prepared me for: a book about a school play that goes wrong!"