HQ has acquired “an epically romantic love story” by YA author Tom Ellen which will be one of its lead title for London Book Fair next month.
Senior commissioning editor at the HarperCollins imprint Emily Kitchin bought world all language rights for the book and one other novel from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. All About Us will be a lead title for HQ at this year’s LBF, HQ said. It will be published as a lead title in paperback and e-book in autumn 2020.
Ellen has written various YA books previously with co-author Lucy Ivison including Lobsters, Never Evers and Freshers (all published by Chicken House) but this will be his first adult novel.
All About Us follows Ben, who at 34 is facing a life crisis. His marriage to Daphne is on the rocks, his career is circling the drain and he’s still grieving the unexpected death of his mum, HQ said.
“Ben’s on the verge of throwing it all away when the discovery of a box of keepsakes on Christmas Eve sends him on an unexpected journey," the synopsis reads. "Ben falls asleep and wakes up in December 2005, on the day that he and Daphne first met. As Ben travels through his Christmases past, present and future – each one connected to a keepsake – he is offered the chance to reflect on the decisions he’s taken and not taken throughout his life. But will Ben do things differently this time around? And if he does, what will his future look like?”
HQ described the book as an “epically romantic story which touches on life-affirming themes of grief, love, loneliness and self-acceptance – and shows us that sometimes, the love we’ve been looking for has been right in front of us all along”. It is an anyone who loved Josie Silver’s One Day (Penguin) or Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare (Quercus).
Ellen is also a journalist and has written for ShortList, Time Out, Vice, talkSPORT, ESPN and Viz.
Kitchin said: “I am so thrilled to have acquired this wonderful novel from Tom Ellen, whose writing I’ve admired for years. Everyone at HQ has fallen completely in love with All About Us, and we knew right away that we just had to acquire it. We’ve all been swept away by Ben and Daphne’s story, and we can’t wait to introduce them to readers. Tom is an incredibly talented author and we have big plans in store for him.”
Ellen said: ‘I'm so excited to be joining HQ's ranks – it really feels like the perfect home for All About Us. Working with Emily has been absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait for people to read Ben and Daphne's story.”