Penguin Random House Children’s UK has snapped up rights to a "completely engrossing YA debut" entitled All These Beautiful Strangers in a "whirlwind" pre-empt offer.
Editorial director Anthea Townsend and editor Naomi Colthurst signed UK and Commonwealth rights to the title from Matilda Forbes Watson at William Morris Endeavour.
The book, by "exciting new talent" Elizabeth Klehfoth, was bought with "huge enthusiasm from the entire Children’s publishing team", said the publisher. US rights were sold to HarperCollins US in a "hotly contested" multi-way auction. Film rights have been optioned by producer Bruna Papandrea, whose literary-to-film projects include "Wild", "Gone Girl", and "Big Little Lies".
The plot follows 17-year-old Charlie Calloway who appears to have a life most people would kill for – a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends, and top grades at a prestigious boarding school. But when a mysterious invitation from her school’s super-exclusive society is extended, she finds herself thrust into a world of dark secrets, one which implicates her own family and forces her to reckon with demons buried deep in her past: Who or what was behind her mother's disappearance ten years ago?
"This completely engrossing debut is as twisty as it is thrilling and probes the very depths of dangerous friendships, powerful families and decade old stories", said the publisher.
Townsend and Colthurst added: "Having devoured All These Beautiful Strangers in one breathless sitting, we knew immediately that it was a book we had to have, and that it heralded the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new author in Elizabeth, who we couldn’t be prouder to be publishing."
Klehfoth said the deal was a "dream come true". "I wanted to write a novel with a strong, young female voice at its center that was a fast-paced thriller, but also, at its core, a coming-of-age story about the power of the choices we make when we’re young and the way those choices go on to define us in surprising and often irrevocable ways", said Klehfoth. "I couldn’t be more thrilled that All These Beautiful Strangers has found a home at Penguin Random House and I’m so excited to be working with such a hugely talented and supportive team. All of it really is a dream come true."
Klehfoth holds an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, where she taught fiction writing and composition and served as an associate fiction editor for the Indiana Review. She currently lives and writes in Los Angeles.
All These Beautiful Strangers will be published by Penguin Random House on 19th July 2018.