Due for hardback publication in summer 2021, Commissioning Editor Charlotte Brabbin acquired the novel at auction in a two book deal.
North American rights to the novel were sold to Executive Editor Rachel Kahan from HarperCollins / William Morrow in a pre-empt.
The novel was pre-empted in Italy overnight, with Italian rights selling to Garzanti.
The stunning tale is a homage to the power of books and reading…
Mukesh lives a quiet life after the loss of his wife Naina. He shops every Wednesday, sits in front of Zee TV, and cares for his granddaughter, Priya, who reads whilst he watches David Attenborough.
Aleisha is working the summer at the local library whilst her friends send her photos from their various holidays. She and her brother, Aidan, are all each other have, supporting their mother who rarely leaves the house.
One day, when clearing out a section of the library, Aleisha finds a scrunched up piece of paper in the back of a novel and realises it’s a list of books – a reading list: To Kill A Mockingbird, Rebecca, Time Traveller’s Wife, The Kite Runner, Life of Pi, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, A Suitable Boy. She doesn’t know why, but she keeps it, tucking it into her phone case along with a discarded chicken shop stamp card, before forgetting about it.
Meanwhile, Mukesh is desperate to bond with Priya, to provide her with the same comfort that his wife once did. So he decides to visit Harrow Road library to find books to read with her like Naina used to. But on his arrival, Aleisha, frustrated to be working and unwilling to recommend him anything, turns him away. Her immediate guilt is immense, and her boss warns her to do her job, or lose it entirely, which she can’t afford.
But the list is still folded up in her phone case – could a stranger’s scribblings help save Aleisha’s job, as well as her conscience? Could it be the saving grace in Mukesh’s relationship with his granddaughter?
Could it be responsible for bringing two desperately lonely people together in their time of need?
Sara was thrilled with the deal: “I have been blown away by the response to The Reading List. It has been such a joy to work with my agent, Hayley, and I am delighted the book has found the perfect home with Charlotte and HarperCollins. Mukesh and Aleisha are two characters very close to my heart, and the team’s passion and creative vision for their story completely won me over.”
Charlotte Brabbin was equally delighted: ‘I’m over the moon to have acquired Sara’s debut for HarperCollins. The Reading List makes you fall in love with reading all over again, reinforcing the universal magic of stories – their ability to transport us away, to give us an opportunity to feel bigger than ourselves, and to forge powerful connections beyond the page.”
Sara is a 26-year-old author who works in publishing. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. She spent much of her childhood in Wembley, where her mother’s parents live, and her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who, unlike Mukesh, immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.