Ardi Alspach at Union Square Kids has bought, in a preempt, YA contemporary novel Red by Annie Cardi (The Chance You Won’t Return). Pitched as a nod to The Scarlet Letter in the #MeToo era, for readers of Speak and Grown, Red follows teenager Tess as her very personal decision goes public and, rejected and harassed, she seeks solace in music and uses her voice to end the cycle of abuse in her small town. Publication is planned for January 2024; Laura Crockett at TriadaUS did the deal for world rights.
Once upon a time…
Annie is such a perfect example of resilience and determination in this industry. She debuted in 2014 with The Chance You Won’t Return, represented by another agency. When she was querying for new representation, I read a sweet and fun manuscript of hers back in November 2017. I offered rep, and we’ve been working together since February 2018! We went on submission with two other projects over the years, all the while Annie was brewing a passion project…
When I first read a sample of Red in summer 2019, I cried. I urged Annie to continue with it, and I was able to read a full manuscript in December 2020. Tess came alive, and Annie was touching upon deep issues that resonate with teens and adults across generations––the healing power of music and community, the toxicity of extremism and propaganda, the comfort and the struggles of religious faith, and (biggest of all) the physical and emotional impact of gaslighting and grooming. It was as if Annie read my soul and was also writing my dream passion project all at once.
Submission for this kind of project is extremely difficult. It taps into very heated topics of religion and politics, so I had to be careful with the submission and not take it personally if someone passed. But Ardi read the pitch, read the manuscript, and said to me: Wow. This was incredibly powerful and moving. She and Union Square Kids saw the same depth we did, felt the same gut-punch, and gave us an offer we couldn’t––and wouldn’t!––refuse.
And the rest…is history.
Congratulations, Annie! Everyone, go add Red to your TBR! This is one you don’t want to miss. You will see yourself, a friend, a family member, in Tess. Keep an eye on this one…great things are in store for Annie and Red!