HCG scoops Byrne's YA afterlife love story

HCG scoops Byrne's YA afterlife love story

Hachette Children’s Group has scooped a YA lesbian love story set in the afterlife by Tanya Byrne in a two-book deal.

World rights were acquired by commissioning editor Polly Lyall Grant from Claire Wilson at RCW. Afterlove, the first book in the deal, will publish in July 2020 under the Hodder Children’s Books imprint.

“The story follows 16-year-old Ash Persaud who is hit by a car on New Year’s Eve,” the publisher said. “Afterwards, Ash exists in the afterlife where she is one of three fierce girl-reapers who collect the souls of the city’s dead to be taken to await their fate. But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy Morgan, and she’s determined to see her again, dead or alive.”

Lyall Grant said: “Tanya’s writing is sensational, and she is a true master of authentic teenage voice and experiences. I am thrilled to be publishing her female-led romance – a narrative that is not seen nearly enough in high-concept YA. The moment Ash is hit by a car is one of the most impactful scenes I have ever read and becomes the catalyst for a sweeping and deliciously dark romance that I know readers will devour.”

Byrne is the writer of four YA novels, including debut Heart-Shaped Bruise (Headline), as well as contributing to several short story anthologies including A Change is Gonna Come (Stripes), which was named Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week and received a Special Achievement Award from the YA Book Prize.

She said: “Finding a home for your book is always daunting, but I have been overwhelmed by how passionately Polly and the team at Hachette Children’s Group have embraced Afterlove. The story has blossomed under Polly’s care and she really is as excited as I am to introduce you to Ash and Poppy and their tale of first - and last - love.”