Hachette Children's Group will publish Ghostcloud, a middle-grade adventure by debut author Michael Mann.
Anne McNeil, executive publisher, acquired world rights from Stephanie Thwaites and Isobel Gahan at Curtis Brown. The title will be published in October 2021.
Ghostcloud is a magical adventure set in the furnaces and skies of an alternative London. Twelve-year-old Luke Smith-Sharma shovels coal under Battersea Power Station. He keeps his head down, hoping to earn his freedom and return to his family, while avoiding the wrath of the station owner, Tabatha Margate. Luke makes an ally in a ghost-girl called Alma, a ghostcloud. She rides clouds through the night sky, bending their shape to her will to catch the wind— and she teaches Luke how to fly. With new resolve, Luke encourages the children in the plant to revolt against Tabatha and escape.
McNeil said: "I love stories that immerse, engage, and set the reader free. Ghostcloud is that kind of story... Michael’s writing is fresh and addictive, with the feel of a new Joan Aiken."
Mann commented: "As a teacher, I see so many kids stall at the start of books. I wanted to write something that gripped from page one but didn’t compromise on language or big ideas— that transported them to another world, but with characters they could relate to. At heart, Ghostcloud is an exciting adventure, but it’s also about duality, belonging and making yourself heard. Hachette Children’s Group just got my book from the word go."