Penguin Random House has acquired a YA novel tackling teen mental illness and toxic masculinity by debut author and mechanic James Goodhand.
Last Lesson is about Ollie Morcombe, a once star pupil who, following an accident, is now an outcast and a target of the school bullies who make his life hell. On the last day of school he brings those bullies a gift - a homemade pipe bomb.
Fiction publisher Ben Horslen said: “Eye opening and page turning, Last Lesson expertly tackles themes of toxic masculinity and adolescent mental illness – and the devastating consequences when these collide. James's spare, direct and unsensationalised prose turns Ollie's story into an absolutely unputdownable read and I’m thrilled to be bringing fresh UKYA talent to the list.”
Goodhand, who works as a car mechanic in Surrey and wrote a lot of the book at his workbench, said: “Having written Last Lesson in a draughty workshop, finding a home with a publisher as iconic as Penguin is a dream come true. In Ben I have the perfect editor and I'm honoured to be working with a team of such brilliant people.”
Horslen acquired world rights at auction from Harry Illingworth at DHH Literary Agency and will publish under the Penguin imprint in spring 2020.