Aria’s commissioning editor Martina Arzu has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights for two Californian-set novels by author Ella Berman from Anna Carmichael at Abner Stein, on behalf of David Mitchell at InkWell.
Powerful and intoxicatingly gripping, BEFORE WE WERE INNOCENT is a dark escapist exploration of the intense friendships and mistakes of our youth. Head of Zeus will be publishing in July 2023 following the release in the US by Berkley (PRH) in hardback, e-book and audio in April 2023.
In the book, Bess and Joni’s dream summer on a sun-soaked Greek island ends in tragedy when their best friend, Evangeline, dies under suspicious circumstances. Over the months that follow they are trapped in limbo, waiting to be judged not only for what happened to Evangeline that night, but their lives up to that point as young, imperfect women. Now, ten years on, the past threatens to catch up with them when Joni becomes tangled into an eerily similar crime in Los Angeles and asks Bess for a favour…
Ella Berman, author, said: “I can’t think of a better UK home for my books than at Head of Zeus. Martina is the perfect champion for BEFORE WE WERE INNOCENT and I can’t wait to get this ode to fierce friendships and lost innocence into the hands of UK readers this summer.”
Martina Arzu, said: “Before We Were Innocent is an electrifying coming-of-age story, about how polarising the friendships of our youth can be. Ella’s powerful portrayal of the impact the media exposure has on the girls insightfully confronts us with the harsh vilification women are exposed to in the media, where to be imperfect means you must be guilty of something. This is an upmarket reading-group at its best – beautiful to read, layered and with a suspenseful mystery at its heart. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be bringing Ella to the Aria list."
David Mitchell, agent, said: “I’m thrilled that Martina and Head of Zeus will make it possible for UK readers to experience everything that US readers love about Ella’s writing.”