Scholastic UK has netted Elemental Detectives, a “stunningly imagined, page-turning and inclusive” upper middle-grade fantasy adventure series by award-winning author Patrice Lawrence.
Fiction publisher Lauren Fortune signed world rights at auction from Caroline Sheldon at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. The first book, The Elemental Detectives, will publish in September 2022.
Its synopsis states: “Enter the world of the Elemental Detectives – London is lit up by Elemental spirits: the fiery Dragons, the airy Fumis, the watery Chads and the earthbound Magogs. But humans have been causing chaos, mess, noise and pollution for centuries. What if the Elements could slow down this new world… or stop it all together? The revenge-fuelled Shepherdess brings a sleeping sickness down on the city with the destruction of society in her sights. Marisee and Robert are the Elemental Detectives chasing clues to avoid catastrophe: they must face the ghosts of Hyde Park, the monstrous coiled snake of the Serpentine, and a whole host of fantastical creatures in their mission to stop the Shepherdess and prevent London slumbering for all eternity…”
Lawrence is the author of nine books including Eight Pieces of Silva and Orangeboy, both published by Hodder Children's Books. Her Tudor story Diver’s Daughter was one of the launch titles for Scholastic’s Voices series of narrative middle-grade non-fiction which reflects authentic unsung stories of the past. Lawrence’s work has won the Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, the Jhalak Prize for children’s and YA books and The Bookseller 's YA Book Prize among other awards. Lawrence has also received four Carnegie Medal nominations and it was recently announced she will become ambassador for First Story, a creative writing charity for young people.
She said: “I am a geek at heart and it has been fabulous to dig beneath layers of history and let my imagination fly into new and surprising places. It’s such a joy to work with the Scholastic team and I can’t wait for readers to immerse themselves in a new adventure filled with terrifying monsters, unexpected twists and two children in a race against time.”
Fortune commented: “The Elemental Detectives challenges and upends the conventions of adventure fantasy in an exhilarating, entertaining and gripping way: the magical energy in this book crackles and sparks from the page. Patrice is the queen of tense YA mystery thrillers with human hearts, and her first book for a younger audience showcases her incredible talent as a writer. This is big, bold, future classic storytelling at its absolute finest.”
Sheldon added: “Unsurprisingly for such a talented writer with such an exciting idea for a new middle-grade series, the opportunity to publish the books was hard fought over by a number of leading publishers. Lauren Fortune and Scholastic had a fantastic vision for the books that made them our publisher of choice – I feel confident we will all share in a great success.”