Scholastic has snapped up the debut middle-grade novel of 12-year-old Cara Mailey, in the same week as a BBC One documentary aired about her and her family.
I Got This is inspired by Mailey's own experiences living with achondroplasia, a genetic condition which affects cartilage growth in the body. Written for readers aged nine and above, the novel follows Erin, who finds starting secondary school challenging. When an opportunity arises to to be in a pop band's music video, Erin jumps at the chance, but starts to wonder if her best friend is trying to sabotage her chances. The book is written in collaboration with Chrissie Sains, author of An Alien in the Jam Factory (Walker Books), which features a main character with cerebral palsy.
Mailey and her family, including her mother and younger brother, who both have achondroplasia, featured this week in documentary "Keeping up with the Maileys". Mailey first gained media notice when she appeared in CBBC's "The Dengineers". Since then she has also appeared in CBBC's "My Life: Made to Measure", where she helped design a fashion line for children with achondroplasia.
Linas Alsenas, executive editor at Scholastic UK, acquired world English rights to the novel from Kate Shaw at The Shaw Agency. Mailey (pictured) said: “It’s so exciting to be writing a story inspired by my life. I hope it shows more people what it’s like to be small like me and that everyone can dream big. I’m loving working on I Got This with Chrissie!”
Sains said: “Cara is incredibly inspiring, not to mention a lot of fun—full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. It’s a massive honour to be working with her in bringing this important book to life.”
Alsenas added: “Cara’s positivity and enthusiasm are what all of us need right now. Cara and Chrissie have created a story that I can’t wait to see young people reading and thinking about. It’s not just about life with achondroplasia, it’s about how limitless life can be with positivity, empathy and support from the people who love us. I’m certain the main character, Erin, will mean the world to a lot of kids out there, and her story will put a big, happy smile on every reader's face.”
Commenting on Mailey's debut, Shaw said: “Everything about this book has been joyful from the start: Cara’s infectious personality, talent and ideas; Chrissie’s passion for and development of the story; and Linas’ energy and enthusiasm, binding it all together. The team at Scholastic has great plans for I Got This and I can’t wait for copies to hit booksellers’ shelves next spring!”
I Got This will publish in April 2022.