Scholastic UK has bought a Brexit-inspired YA political thriller and love story.
Night of the Party by Tracey Mathias imagines a Britain in the near future where a far-right nationalist party rules England and the government deports anyone not "British Born". After withdrawing from the EU, the story follows Britain as it is governed by a new party whose flagship policy is the British Born Act, which allows only those born in Britain to live here. Everyone else is an "illegal", subject to immediate arrest and deportation. But an election is on the horizon and all the polls point to a big loss for the ruling party. “Illegal” teenager Zara is the sole witness to a crime but she must stay in hiding to protect her own future before romance blossoms with the victim’s brother - placing them both in danger.
Linas Alsenas, commissioning editor at the publisher, bought world rights to Night of the Party by fantasy author Mathias from Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency, to publish in paperback in May 2018.
Ker Hawn revealed she cancelled a meeting to continue reading the manuscript and Alsenas described the title as a the most “timely” he has acquired.
He said: “The xenophobic policies that Tracey depicts in this thrilling story seem all too possible I get that same chill of recognition reading Night of the Party as I do reading The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984. I love Tracey’s smart and gorgeous writing, with characters you can practically reach out and touch.”
He added: “This book is bound to be a pass-around favourite among teens.”
Ker Hawn said the novel was "one of the most gripping books I’ve read in a long while". “When I started Tracey’s manuscript, I couldn’t stop — I even cancelled a meeting so I could keep reading," she said.
Meanwhile Mathias, who is based in London, revealed the novel started out as a 'what if' political dystopia, but over the two years, "real life shifted worryingly closer to the world portrayed here".
"I hope that Ash and Zara's story will entertain young readers, but also that it'll provide food for thought about the ways in which politics is entangled with personal lives," Mathias added.