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Kara A. Kennedy’s ‘chilling’ sapphic YA debut goes to Ink Road

Black & White Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, is to publish I Will Never Leave You, a sapphic, YA debut by Kara A. Kennedy.  

Clem Flanagan, editor and Ali McBride, publishing director at Black & White acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Chloe Seager at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. Delacorte Press are publishing in the US.

Some relationships haunt you forever…

After years of emotional abuse, eighteen-year-old Maya finally finds the courage to break up with Alana, stranding her on the remote trail where they’d been hiking. Seeking space, Maya flees her Los Angeles hometown for her older sister’s lake house. The sleepy small town of Lake Ember feels like the perfect place to heal; at least, until Alana turns up dead right on her doorstep.

Maya has always known the rules for banishing ghosts – but she never imagined she’d be banishing the ghost of her ex-girlfriend. Desperate to come back, Alana sets Maya an impossible ultimatum: help Alana possess the body of another girl or get framed for her murder. Even more complicated, Maya finds herself falling for Alana’s possession target, Rowan, the girl whose life she has endangered. 

Maya must unravel years of trauma and abuse to finally break free of Alana or go down for a crime she didn’t commit and lose her love forever.

I Will Never Leave you is a chilling, sapphic ghost story exploring the impact of toxic relationships and how trauma can cling to us. This high-stakes YA debut will appeal to fans of Afterlove by Tanya Byrne and You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao. 

Kara Kennedy said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled that I Will Never Leave You has found a home at Ink Road. Clem Flanagan’s understanding of and enthusiasm for Maya and Alana’s story is such a gift, and I’m so looking forward to sharing that story with UK readers.”

Ali McBride said: “I Will Never Leave You is an utterly compelling story that ties in important topics within relationships that young people can often experience but might not notice. Kara is one to watch, an astounding writer, and we are thrilled to be publishing her chilling debut. It will linger with you long after reading. 

Kara A. Kennedy has been telling ghost stories—and sometimes living them—since childhood. She holds a BA in Professional Writing from Penn State University, where she worked as a writing tutor and cultivated a love of coffee. She lives in a historic and possibly haunted home in Pennsylvania with her partner and their two cats. I Will Never Leave You is her debut novel.

I Will Never Leave You will be published on 23rd July 2024.