Usborne has picked up two books from Irish journalist Cat Gray, including her debut middle-grade novel Spellstoppers.
Fiction director Rebecca Hill and senior commissioning editor Sarah Stewart bought world rights from Silvia Molteni of PFD. Spellstoppers will be published in July 2022.
The synopsis reads: "Max is cursed: whenever he touches something electric, it explodes. But when he is sent to stay with his grandad in the mysterious village of Yowling, he discovers there is more to his curse than he first thought. It’s actually a family gift and he is a Spellstopper: he has the rare ability to drain dangerous build-ups of magic and fix misbehaving enchanted items. The trouble is, the most dangerous enchanted item in Yowling is an unstable sorcerer’s castle, ruled over by the cruel Leandra, who terrorises the magical folk of the town. When Leandra kidnaps Max’s grandad to force him to risk his life to fix the castle, it’s up to trainee Max and his new friend, the resourceful Kit, to rescue Grandad and pull off the biggest spellstop ever."
Stewart said: "Cat’s world is just a step away from our own but filled with eye-popping enchantment and adventure—from a floating castle to villainous owls, psychic ice-cream and man-eating goldfish. We are thrilled to be the home for her vast imagination and hugely fun stories that are perfect for any young reader to escape into."
Gray commented: "I first had the idea for Spellstoppers about eight years ago, but it's been through several incarnations since then. I was fascinated with the concept of a magical world existing in tandem with our everyday one, and that ordinary children might suddenly find themselves in the middle of an extraordinary adventure. I was so thrilled when Spellstoppers found a home at Usborne. I couldn't have wished for a better publisher and it really is a dream come true. It's been such a joy getting to know the team and working with such fantastic and experienced editors. I know that my stories are in the best possible hands."
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