Scholastic scoops two-book deal from ‘unique new voice’ Keats



Scholastic has scooped These Stolen Lives, a “powerful” dystopian YA thriller, in a two-book deal from debut author Sharada Keats.

World rights were acquired by Julia Sanderson, fiction commissioning editor, from Kemi Ogunsanwo at The Good Literary Agency. The novel will be published in April 2024.

Set in a world divided by race where life must be paid for if you want to survive, These Stolen Lives follows Mora whose people now live in servitude after being invaded by the Skøl. Mora’s people must repay their ‘debts’ – but when the dangerous new governor demands the death of an innocent boy, she and her friend Kit conspire to save him. Their mission soon draws them into a dark mystery – and heart-pounding plot to fight back. Mora must ask herself: what is a life truly worth? The novel explores hope, connection and “structures that demand productivity and disenfranchise the poor” the publisher said. 

Keats said: “This setting and its little family of characters have been fluttering round my head for years: colonial clash, weird creatures, heroes who cook! It is an absolute privilege working with Kemi at The Good Literary Agency and now editor-extraordinaire Julia, Genevieve Herr, and the wonderfully enthusiastic yet grounded team at Scholastic UK. Young people entering adulthood are navigating grim times… I hope this story will resonate with some to inspire more courage, empathy and joy.”

Sanderson added: “These Stolen Lives is a profound debut novel with a gripping high concept, a fascinating world and powerful reflections on real-life injustice. Sharada elegantly balances dark topics with light and warmth, and her characters feel so real; their courage, grief and righteous anger moved me from the first read, and the friends-to-lovers romance crackles with tension that is sure to hook readers.”