Hachette Children’s Group has struck a multi-book deal with Juno Dawson following a "hotly-contested" auction.
Hachette imprint Quercus Children’s Books secured a two-book deal with Dawson, with the first, Clean, to explore addiction and mental health. It will publish in April 2018. Sarah Lambert, editorial director at Quercus Children’s Books, secured UK and Commonwealth rights in a deal with Sallyanne Sweeney at Mulcahy Associates. Rights have been sold in five territories, including Hachette France.
Dawson said Clean, her seventh YA novel, would be her "boldest" and "most edgy" novel yet. Dawson, previously known as James Dawson before transitioning, is no stranger to controversy after her book This Book is Gay, a guide to LGBTQI sexuality for YA readers (Hot Key Books) attracted complaints from parents earlier this year both in Alaska and in Manchester.
Clean begins with a spoiled heiress, Lexi Volkov, who hits rock bottom, almost overdosing in a penthouse suite. Lexi is admitted to The Clarity Centre, an island facility for troubled young people, and through a Ten Steps Programme, gradually opens up about her fractured childhood, destructive relationships and a dark secret she has been running from. But she also finds herself powerfully drawn to a fellow patient.
Lambert called the new novel "searing" and "totally compelling". She added: "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented, thoughtful and inspiring writer."
Dawson said: "Clean is my boldest, most edgy novel. Quercus and Sarah Lambert’s vision for Lexi and my future career is really exciting and I am looking forward to partnering with the Hachette Children’s Group."
Further to Quercus Children's' deal, Paul Rockett, publishing director at HCB's education-facing imprint Wayland Books, secured world rights in a one-book deal with Sallyanne Sweeney at Mulcahy Associates, to publish What Is Gender? How Does It Define Us? And Other Big Questions on 12th October 2017. The "highly topical" book will look at the concept of gender, encouraging readers to think for themselves about the issues involved.
Dawson's latest YA fiction Margot & Me (Hot Key Books), a historical romance set partly in the 1940s, published in January, as did Mind Your Head (Hot Key), a book on mental health for young people co-written with clinical psychologist Dr. Olivia Hewitt and illustrated by Gemma Correll. Dawson's memoir is meanwhile due to publish with Two Roads in July.