Rights Available! An Immigration-Centered Tale and the Heartbreaking Story of a Dying Single Mom

Lisa Ko's 'The Leavers' and Sally Hepworth's 'The Mother's Promise' are both ripe for optioning.
Courtesy of Algonquin Books
'The Leavers' by Lisa Ko

The Leavers (Algonquin Books, May 2) by Lisa Ko
Agency: Gersh

Ko's debut novel (winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize) is a timely immigration-centered tale about a boy whose undocumented Chinese immigrant mother goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. After she disappears, the boy is adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate, and change his name from Deming Guo to Daniel Wilkinson. But Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the life he left behind.

Set in China and New York, the emotionally harrowing novel has cross-cultural appeal as it explores borders and belonging.

The Mother's Promise (St. Martin's Press, Feb. 21) by Sally Hepworth
Agencies: CAA, Rob Weisbach

Think Gilmore Girls by way of Brian's Song: A dying single mom must find a guardian for her daughter, who has crippling social anxiety. Stellar pre-pub reviews signal a breakout for Hepworth, often compared to Jodi Picoult and Big Little Lies' Liane Moriarty.

A version of this story first appeared in the March 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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