Sphere has acquired Love, Locked Down, the first adult novel from Beth Reekles, author of The Kissing Booth YA novels (Corgi Children's).
Rebecca Farrell, commissioning editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Clare Wallace at the Darley Anderson Agency. Publication is scheduled for February 2022.
Reekles began writing Love, Locked Down during the first national lockdown and released early extracts of the novel on Wattpad, where it accumulated over half a million reads worldwide. It is billed as a "heart-warming and hilarious, pitch-led modern love story" and will tell the intertwining stories of residents in an apartment block in sudden lockdown.
The synopsis reads: "When an apartment block is put on lockdown, its residents are in for a whirlwind week. Wild and reckless Imogen is stuck with her one-night-stand in Flat 14, whose name she can't remember, while new couple Isla and Danny are still in the honeymoon period and a warts-and-all week together could make or break their romance. Meanwhile, Zach and Serena's steady relationship is on tenterhooks and pineapple on pizza might be the last straw, and in Flat 22, Olivia's maid of honour duties are pushing her to the edge as a wedding-planning weekend refuses to end. And speaking of weddings, this whole thing has made Ethan realise he wants to spend the rest of his life with Charlotte, if only he can surprise her with the perfect proposal—and find a way to sneak her into the building."
Farrell said: "Love, Locked Down is one of the best romantic comedies I’ve read in a long time. Brilliantly fun, expertly written, with laugh-out-loud humour and breathtaking romance, I read the submission in one night and fell completely in love with the apartment block community of Beth’s imagination. I knew immediately this was a book we had to publish at Sphere."
Reekles commented: "I’m thrilled to be publishing Love, Locked Down with Sphere. The early draft of this book on Wattpad gave me a connection to the outside world when everyone was going through a weird time, and gave me a fun, light-hearted project to work on with some larger-than-life characters, all navigating totally different stages of their twenties and their relationships."
Reekles' The Kissing Booth series features two novels, The Kissing Booth (Corgi Children's, 2013) and The Kissing Booth 2: Going the Distance (Penguin, 2020), and was adapted into a three-film series for Netflix.