PRH pre-empts Barnes' 'twisty' YA thriller

PRH pre-empts Barnes' 'twisty' YA thriller

Penguin Random House Children’s has pre-empted a young adult novel full of “puzzles, mystery and family tensions” that is billed as having “shades of ‘Succession’ and ‘Knives Out’”. 

Anthea Townsend, PRH Children’s editorial director, pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in Jennifer Lynn Barnes' The Inheritance Games and a second untitled sequel, from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (US) rights director Janelle DeLuise. The deal was concluded two days after both companies switched to remote working and first title will be published in October.  

Amazon has also nabbed TV rights at a “highly competitive” auction, and a series is scheduled to be produced by Sony Pictures TV and Osprey Productions.

The Inheritance Games revolves around high school student Avery who is left a fortune after an eccentric billionaire dies—and she has no idea why. But to receive the money Avery must move into the sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House. The catch? Hawthorne House is already occupied, and Avery must share her new home with his surviving relatives, "a family hell-bent on discovering just how she earned her inheritance".  

Oklahoma-based Barnes has written almost 20 YA novels, and is perhaps best known in the UK for the Raised by Wolves horror series, first published by Quercus Children’s in 2010. She said: “For years, I have wanted to write a book about a mansion filled with secret passages and hidden rooms, underground tunnels and literal mazes, with riddles and codes built into the very walls. But it wasn’t until I got the idea for Avery—a normal girl whose life is turned upside down when she’s left billions of dollars by a total stranger—that the initial idea of Hawthorne House became a full-fledged story that I knew had to write.”