Lockhart's We Were Liars prequel snapped up by Hot Key

Lockhart's We Were Liars prequel snapped up by Hot Key

Hot Key Books has snapped up a prequel to number one New York Times bestseller and TikTok sensation We Were Liars by E Lockhart.

Executive publisher Emma Matthewson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada and ANZ but including Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and India, from Jocelyn Lange, international rights director at Random House Children’s Books US. Family of Liars will publish in hardback, paperback for export, audio and e-book on 4th May 2022.

Bonnier Books UK says it has sold more than 600,000 copies of We Were Liars through UK and international channels since its publication in 2014, with 255,000 selling across the past two years after the title caught the imagination of BookTok. Through Nielsen BookScan in the UK, it has sold 158,167 print copies, excluding lockdown weeks.

Family of Liars returns to the Sinclair family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts, 27 years before the events of We Were Liars. The blurb states: “A generation apart from the timeline of the original book, Family of Liars centres around the Liars’ mothers as they spend one notable summer on the island as teenagers, and we see what it really means to be a Sinclair. They do not falter, they do not doubt, they do not grieve—even when they lose one of their own. When tragedy upends what was meant to be a summer of fun, laughter, and first love, the bonds of family are tested. Who will crack under the pressure, and who will forever uphold the family’s rules, keeping secrets no matter the damage?”

Lockhart said: “Reader response to We Were Liars has been incredible and moving. With Family of Liars, I wanted to create an emotional catharsis and leave my audience shaken— but I knew I needed to do it in a very different way than I had in the first book. I hope I’ve delivered an experience that will be surprising and new, while still returning people to the beauty and horror of Beechwood Island. My readers are the most creative, most open-hearted, most thoughtful readers ever. Their willingness to share their experiences online has made all the difference in the world for this book. Family of Liars is for them.”

Matthewson said: “A new novel from E Lockhart is always exciting, but a prequel to the internationally bestselling We Were Liars is beyond even that. We Were Liars was one of the first books I ever acquired for Hot Key and to be publishing its prequel in Hot Key’s 10th year is so fitting. We Were Liars has intrigued and stayed with so many readers all these years; Family of Liars is as clever, beautiful, surprising and tragic, and written (I suspect) with much coffee. Thank you, Emily. We are so proud at Hot Key to be publishing and cannot wait for readers to get their hands on this exceptional novel.

Helen Wicks, executive director of children’s trade, added: "We Were Liars has been a stellar success story for Bonnier Books UK and a keystone of the Hot Key list. We are so delighted to have been able to support E Lockhart from the very beginning of this journey and to be partnering with her again in this tremendously exciting next step now."