Catherine Onder at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired, in a preempt, Ally Carter‘s debut middle grade series, starting with The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Virtue. Pitched as what would happen “if little orphan Annie went to live with Batman,” the book follows April and a ragtag group of undervalued, underestimated kids as they teach a mysterious billionaire that he has a family worth fighting for. Publication of the first book is set for fall 2019; Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency negotiated the two-book deal for North American rights.

David Gale at Simon Schuster has bought, in an exclusive submission, Dry, a YA novel by National Book Award winner Neal Shusterman (l.) and his son, Jarrod Shusterman, a film and TV writer. In this survival story, the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, and a group of teenage friends must band together when chaos breaks out in their community. Dry is scheduled for publication in October 2018 and has been optioned by Paramount Pictures; Andrea Brown at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Sarah Shumway and Hali Baumstein at Bloomsbury Children’s Books have acquired North American rights to three books from Elizabeth Eulberg, including Past Perfect Life, a YA novel about a girl whose life unravels when she learns everything she thought she knew about herself and her so-called family is a lie. Publication is set for spring 2019; Shumway will edit. An as yet untitled middle-grade standalone novel, edited by Baumstein, is slated for fall 2020. Also acquired was the fourth book in the middle-grade series The Great Shelby Holmes; the book is planned for fall 2019. Erin Malone at William Morris Endeavor did the deal.

Laura Schreiber and Hannah Allaman at Disney-Hyperion have preempted, in a two-book deal, North American rights to Elysium Girls, a debut fantasy by Kate Pentecost. Pitched as Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval in an alternate history American Dust Bowl, the book features a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon who are the most valuable players in a deadly game between the Goddesses of Life and Death, one with possibly apocalyptic consequences. Publication is slated for winter 2020; Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties negotiated the deal.

Alison Weiss at Sky Pony has bought The People of the Lake, a debut novel by Nick Scorza, about a 16-year-old Queens girl who, while investigating her friend’s murder in her father’s small upstate town, uncovers secrets that the town—and her family—will do anything to keep buried. Publication is set for spring 2019; Jason Anthony at Massie McQuilkin brokered the deal for world rights.

Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids has acquired #OwnVoices author Natasha Deen‘s Nira Paints the Sky in B-Flat, a contemporary coming-of-age YA story about a Guyanese girl who must find the balance between her parents’ cultural expectations and traditions while pursuing her dream of being a great trumpeter. Publication is scheduled for April 2019; Amy Tompkins at Transatlantic Agency did the deal for North American rights.

Eliza Swift at Albert Whitman has bought world English rights to Tom Ryan‘s Keep This to Yourself. Pitched as Last Seen Leaving meets I Am Not a Serial Killer, the book is about a group of lifelong friends who are shattered when a serial killer strikes their small town and claims one of their own. A year later, unable to let go, Mac finds himself investigating new clues, and begins to wonder if he can trust anything, including his feelings for his best friend, the boy who died. The novel is slated for a spring 2019 release; Eric Smith at P.S. Literary handled the deal.

Lisa Sandell at Scholastic has acquired, for the new Scholastic Focus imprint, Rebecca Rissman‘s The Space Chase: A True Story of the Women and Men Who Tested to Become America’s First Astronauts. The narrative nonfiction middle grade book begins with the birth of aeronautics and evolves into a story about the way gender politics affected the development of the American space program. Publication is set for early 2020; Jennifer Unter at the Unter Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Kate Harrison at Dial has bought, at auction, debut author-illustrator Zoë Tilley Poster‘s The Night Wild, a picture book about Dog, who is swept up by the moon-bright light and has an adventure before dawn breaks. Publication for the first title is planned for spring 2020, with a second, untitled picture book to follow; Andrea Morrison at Writers House negotiated the deal for world rights.

Jill Davis at HarperCollins has acquired Baby Scientist, a series of four board books by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman. Each book features a baby who presents an area of science, including botany, oceanography, paleontology, and astronomy. Publication for the first two books is scheduled for summer 2019; Erzsi Deak at Hen Ink Literary represented the author, and Teresa Kietlinski at Bookmark Literary represented the illustrator for world rights.

Carol Malnor at Dawn Publishing has bought world rights to Lucy’s Lab author Michelle Houts‘s (l.) picture book, tentatively titled Coal, a true animal rescue tale about an owl mother who chooses an unlikely nesting spot, power plant workers who decide to do the right thing, and an environmentalist with a big heart and warm shirt pockets who lends a helping hand. Deb Hoeffner will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2019. Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.

Rotem Moscovich and Heather Crowley at Disney-Hyperion have acquired Thunder Trucks by Katy Beebe (l.) (Brother Hugo and the Bear) and Cheryl Klein(The Magic Words), illustrated by Mike Boldt (How to Grow a Dinosaur). In the rhyming story, Dozer, Crane, Dump Truck, Fire Truck, Tanker, and Big Rig work together to construct a wonderful thunderstorm. Publication is planned for fall 2019; Brianne Johnson at Writers House represented the authors, and Jennifer Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented Boldt.