February 21, 2023

From Publishers Weekly: Alyssa Wees (The Waking Forest) sold her debut adult novel, Little Bird, to Del Rey’s Anne Groell in a world rights preempt. Penelope Burns at Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners represented the author. Del Rey said the book is a reimagining of “Beauty and the Beast” set in Depression-era Chicago and follows “an orphaned dancer whose debut as her company’s prima ballerina sets her on a much more sinister path than she ever envisioned.”

The Waking Forest

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Pan's Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She's desperate to know more--until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea's and the Witch's paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

"Dreams and stories—their power to escape reality and to restore it—are in the bones of this masterfully woven debut."

Kirkus, starred review

"A stunning, spooky, and lyrical debut."

School Library Journal, starred review