OUP acquires Em Norry's middle-grade novel about a girl spy

OUP acquires Em Norry's middle-grade novel about a girl spy

Oxford University Press has acquired Em Norry’s middle-grade title, Amber Undercover, about a teenager who has a secret double life as a spy.

Gillian Sore, children’s books editor, acquired world rights and OUP will publish in the UK in April 2021. Publication will be accompanied by a PR campaign celebrating the "relatable and current" themes of the book and will use the spy element of the book to promote in a creative and engaging way, says the publisher. 

The synopsis reads: "Amber Roberts is just your average 14-year-old. If she had things her own way she’d be focusing on school and hanging out with her best friend, Vi. But one part of Amber’s life isn’t so average; she has just been recruited as an international spy. In this story we follow the ups and downs of life as Amber tries to keep up with pressure from school, maintain friendships and find her place in the world."

Sore commented: "Em is a hugely talented author, and I’m thrilled to be working on Amber Undercover with her. Now more than ever, this industry needs to champion black, Asian and minority ethnic voices and characters, and with its pacy mix of Geek Girl meets Alex Rider, this is a book worth shouting about."

Norry said: "Too often adventure and intrigue are reserved for the boys, but why not let a normal relatable girl have exciting, empowering adventure-filled escapades too?! I had great fun exploring how Amber navigated the ordinary relationships with her family and friends, whilst also embarking on her new secret 'double life'. It was great to write such an active but down-to-earth character; where we can recognise the extraordinary in the ordinary. She has no special powers, just her wits and skills that others recognise in her and that hopefully she learns to value in herself. 

"My first book (Voices: Son of the Circus, Scholastic, 2019) was historical, but I loved writing for a slightly older audience (I'd say 10+) and revealing a humorous and light-hearted side — with big doses of 'real life' family drama. Think Geek Girl in a spy world, I hope!"