Headline Review has acquired Honey & Spice plus one more novel by Bolu Babalola, author of story collection Love in Colour (Headline, 2020).
Katie Packer, commissioning editor at Headline, pre-empted the new book within a few hours of submission, buying UK and Commonwealth and translation rights from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann. US and Canadian rights in Honey & Spice were pre-empted by William Morrow, for a six-figure deal.
Honey & Spice will tell the story of the sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo, an expert in relationship evasion, as well as the women who make up the Afro-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University, and their attempts to avoid the mess of "situationships", players and heartbreak. But when Kiki meets newcomer Malakai Korede—who she has publicly denounced as "The Wasteman of Whitewell"—her defences are weakened. A clash embroils them in a fake relationship to salvage both their reputations, and soon she finds herself in danger of falling for the very man she warned her girls about.
Headline Review will publish Honey & Spice as a super-lead hardback in summer 2022.
Packer said: "Working with Bolu on her Sunday Times bestseller Love in Colour has been one of the highlights of my career so far, and so it was only right we continue this journey with two incredible new novels. I was hooked on Honey & Spice from the first chapter; so full of Bolu’s warmth, humour and love of love. The book struck a chord with the whole Headline Review team, as I know it will for masses of enthusiastic readers. I can’t wait for the world to meet Kiki in 2022."
Babalola commented: "I am elated for the world to finally meet Kiki and Malakai. This story was years in the making and so much love was poured into it. The universe of Honey & Spice is so special to me; it’s one of friendship and inner growth, romance and the strength in allowing yourself to open yourself up to love and community; to be truly understood and to be seen. It is my hope that many feel understood and seen by it."
Love in Colour was shortlisted for Waterstones' Book of the Year 2020 and has sold 7,875 copies across all editions via Nielsen BookScan's TCM in the UK, excluding lockdown-era sales.