Sphere is publishing debut author Jacqueline Bublitz’s novel Before You Knew My Name, pitched as "The Lovely Bones for a new generation", plus a second book.
Darcy Nicholson, editorial director at Sphere, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, from Cara Lee Simpson at Jonathan Clowes after a "hotly contested" auction.
The book will be a lead debut launch title for the Little, Brown team in May 2021. Allen & Unwin will publish simultaneously in Australia and New Zealand.
Described as "a moving, uplifting and impassioned piece of book club fiction", Before You Knew My Name follows Alice as she arrives in New York on her 18th birthday. The synopsis reads: "She doesn’t want to say what she is running from but she does tell the reader that, within weeks of her arrival in the city, she will be an unidentified body in the morgue. Alice – stuck somewhere between life and death – goes on to tell the story of Ruby, the jogger who discovers her body, as she sets out to find out who Alice was, to give her the ending she deserved, as opposed to the one that someone else decided for her."
Bublitz said: "I am so excited to be working with Darcy Nicholson and the team at Sphere to bring Before You Knew My Name into the world. Along with my wonderful agent Cara Lee Simpson, Darcy has shown such love and respect for this story and its characters; I can’t wait for readers to discover Alice and Ruby’s profound connection for themselves."
Simpson said: "From the opening page of Jacqueline’s novel, I knew that this was an incredibly special one. The placing of dead women’s bodies as the starting point of a murder mystery has been a central trope in so many books, but I haven’t read one that so powerfully questions the politics of this and gives its ‘dead girl’ a voice. I am so pleased to be working with the exceptional teams at Sphere and Allen & Unwin to bring this to readers in the UK and Australia/New Zealand."
Nicholson said: "This is exactly the type of novel I was hoping to come across when I joined the Sphere team in February. Before You Knew My Name is The Lovely Bones for a new generation – smart, wise, tender and more hopeful and uplifting than it has any right to be. I’m champing at the bit to get this brilliant book club novel into the hands of readers around the world next year."
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