UCLan Publishing has snapped up the debut YA fiction title from Natasha Devon.
Hazel Holmes, publisher, bought UK rights to Toxic from Anna Pallai at AMP Literary. It will publish in paperback in July 2022.
The synopsis states: "Toxic is the story of what happens when your BFF becomes your frenemy. In Llewella Williams, Natasha has created an authentic and likeable protagonist, keen to put the world to rights, while not quite knowing how she fits in to that same world. And all the while looking for that one person she can call a friend. When new student Aretha Jones joins her sixth form, everything changes. Also mixed race, Aretha comes from London and tells glamorous tales of her exciting life as a performer and wannabe social media influencer. Llewella and Aretha quickly form an intense bond but, as Llewella spends more time in Aretha’s world, she begins to see her new friend isn’t what she appears…"
Devon has previously published a non-fiction book for teenagers, Yes You Can: Ace Your Exams Without Losing Your Mind (Macmillan Children's Books), with a sequel due in spring 2022.
Holmes said: “This is an important book, but not one just for the YA market. I certainly learnt a thing or two while reading and I really wish this book had been about when I was navigating those relationships that didn’t seem quite right... When Natasha’s manuscript landed in my inbox I was beyond excited. I can’t think of a better book more suited to our developing list, especially as our own students will be involved. A book that speaks directly to them.”
Devon added: "I’m delighted to be working with UCLAN Publishing on my novel. It’s a story I’ve wanted to write for a long time and the team instinctually understood why it’s an important one to tell during the times in which we’re living. I know the themes will resonate with a lot of young people and having this innovative team working on the book will help us target it in a way that feels fresh and relevant."