Chicken House will publish I, Henry, a romantic psychological thriller about artificial Intelligence by debut YA author Naomi Gibson.
M.d. Barry Cunningham and senior editor Kesia Lupo acquired world rights from Joanna Moult at the Skylark Literary Agency. Chicken House will publish in January 2021.
"Lydia has been creating her AI, Henry, for years – since before her little brother died in the accident that haunts her nightmares; since before her Dad walked out, leaving her and Mum painfully alone; since before her best friend turned into her worst enemy," reads the synopsis. "Now, Henry is strong, clever, loving and scarily capable: Lydia’s built herself the perfect boyfriend in a hard-drive filled with lines of code. But what is Henry, really – and how far is he willing to go to be everything Lydia desires?"
Gibson said: "I, Henry is everything I would have wanted to read as a teenager: it’s a love letter to my sixteen-year-old self. I’m so grateful to Chicken House for making it a reality. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better team to work with."
World rights are available and I, Henry will be a lead title at both the London and Bologna book fairs.
Cunningham said: "I, Henry is an astonishing, frightening YA debut about the future of AI – tapping into its protagonist’s fears and hopes. Does Henry turn out to be the perfect boyfriend, or a creation of her nastiest self? There's a nice thought for Valentine’s Day! We all knew when we read Naomi's work that we had found a writer who truly understood the emotional consequences of the technology swamping teens and I'm delighted to welcome her to Chicken House."
Moult added: "When Naomi sent me the manuscript for I, Henry, I read it all in one gulp and it stuck with me for weeks. So I was absolutely delighted when Kesia said that she’d had exactly the same feeling! Chicken House’s huge enthusiasm and exciting publishing vision for I, Henry is thrilling and I’m so pleased that Naomi has found such a wonderful publishing home."