This deal was announced a few months back on PW's Children's Bookshelf, but the young adult novel is very much on my mind. I'm in the middle of reviewing the excellent second draft. My assistant popped into my office this morning to file the fully executed contract. And we (the author, the agent, my publisher, me, people on the street) just settled on this killer title.
Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker follows high-school senior Miles Prower, who suffers from a severe case of arrested development. After his mom shipped him off to live with his dad five years ago, Miles detached from real life. All of his free time is spent playing video games. His only friends are the members of his guild, guys he has never met in person. On one fateful day, as he's out washing his stepmom's car, he meets a girl, a girl who actually seems interested in going on a date with him. Could this be the moment that things start to shift for Miles? Answer: no. Because when he gets home, two very large men are waiting there to take him to video game rehab.
Christian's novel examines themes that I've been interested in throughout my career. From my first acquisition (Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford) to the upcoming The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, a lot of the books I've edited explore the growing pains boys experience as they figure out what kind of man they want to be. Miles's understanding of manhood comes from the games he plays--the characters in them are not great role models. So Miles has a lot of growing to do.
Christian's agent, the great John Cusick, expertly summarized in his pitch letter some of the other issues that the author tackles: Cure for the Common Universe "isn’t about video games, nor is it just a 'guy wants to get laid' story. Christian manages to bring real depth to Miles’s desire for connection, tapping into that universal need to be known, adored, and maybe become better *for* another person. Perhaps most compelling is the way [the novel] takes up gender issues. Miles must learn that the women in his life aren’t achievements or princesses to be rescued. In a culture that too often positions sex— and girls more precisely— as something to be won, [Cure for the Common Universe] offers important insights for young readers of any gender."
Hot, right? Cure for the Common Universe comes out in Summer 2016.