Tomi Adeyemi is in yet another airport, headed to Houston for the next stop on her book tour. It’s been a few weeks since her novel Children of Blood and Bonedebuted at No. 1 on the New York Times young-adult best-seller list, and she’s just spent three days back home in San Diego, a short but vital break from the media frenzy that’s engulfed her. Racing around the country from event to event, fielding plot questions and fan theories, she hasn’t had a moment to take in the life-changing energy. But now, with the spotlight temporarily dimmed, Adeyemi finds herself in reflection — on how, in the span of a year, she’s gone from aspiring writer to author of the biggest YA phenomenon in recent memory.
It’s not every day that an unknown 23-year-old sells the movie rights to an unpublished fantasy trilogy for a reported seven figures. Adeyemi unveiled Children of Blood and Bone at a manuscript contest called Pitch Wars in 2016 and instantly emerged as the hottest name on the market. “Every major agent who represents YA wanted to represent this project,” Adeyemi’s agent Alexandra Machinist, of ICM Partners, says. “And once we submitted it, every publisher in New York wanted it.” Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group acquired the book for a reported seven figures after winning an intense bidding war in 2017; on the film side, Fox 2000 purchased the book’s rights directly, bypassing the optioning phase — a rare show of faith. The film version of Children, from the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner, is currently in active development.
I just featured Adeyemi's terrific fantasy (and I am not a fantasy fan!) Children of Blood and Bone in my latest video blog (start at 8:20). This novel keeps the reader engaged and caring. Adeyemi's explanation of the allegory that follows in her Afterword is worth discussing with high school readers, too.