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Hot Key Books acquires heart-rending speculative YA by critically acclaimed Olivia Levez 

Hot Key Books is thrilled to announce the acquisition of Silver, a genre-defying novel about the quest to belong and what it is to be human, by Olivia Levez. 

Ella Whiddett, commissioning editor at Hot Key Books, acquired UK and Commonwealth English language rights from Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson Children’s Agency. 

Silver has been trained since birth for her mission: collecting data on the humans to test if Earth is viable for her home ship, Charybdis, to colonise. At all times she must follow the Mantra: To touch is agony. To feel is pain. But when Silver inhabits the body of a young woman, she isn’t prepared for how the humans will get under her skin. And she definitely isn’t prepared for Finch, the boy she starts to fall for. Especially when he touches her – and it doesn’t hurt. Conflicted by the war between her growing feelings and her allegiance to her ship, Silver must decide who to stand by and who to betray.

Olivia Levez says: ‘Silver is a book close to my heart. I rewrote a lot of it during lockdown when we were literally “out of touch”, so it’s a story about the power of human contact, connection and love. Working with Hot Key has been wonderful. Silver had been put to one side for a number of years, so to hear from Ella that she still remembered my story about an alien girl in love was very special – an out-of-this-world experience!’

Ella Whiddett adds: ‘I first read Silver a long time ago and it has stuck with me ever since. Put simply, it’s a boy-meets-girl story, except of course it’s so much more than that, not least because the girl in question is an alien! So put less simply, it’s a stunning and nuanced exploration of life, love and the universe. Olivia’s writing quite literally takes my breath away every time I return to it; in Silver she’s created a truly one-of-a-kind voice, and, through her relationship with Finch, a cosmic love story for the ages. I cannot wait for this story to touch readers as much as it’s affected me.’

Clare Wallace says: ‘Agenting this title has been both heartbreaking and a career highlight. We didn’t place it on our first try and yet I could not let it go, and felt it had something so beautiful and important to say about what it is to be human. Thankfully, Ella and Hot Key did too, and here we are, four years later! Olivia is exceptionally talented, with such a unique and captivating voice, and Ella has been so dynamic and insightful in her approach to publishing this book – they are a dream team.’

Olivia Levez is a critically acclaimed author of YA fiction. As well as writing, Olivia spent many years teaching English at a secondary school. She now works freelance as an author, tutor and mentor for students from under-resourced backgrounds, and co-runs writing retreats for Inkwell. Olivia lives in the Midlands and she loves to walk on the Malvern Hills, where a starry night and a snowy day made her wonder about an alien girl landing there. @livilev

Silver will be publishing in paperback, audio and e-book in November 2024.

Photographer credit: Michael Woods