A book for readers young and old, coming this July from Amulet Books, Hasbro Inc… and me!
When Stan’s mom gets the job offer of a lifetime at a cutting-edge tech company, Stan packs his bags and exchanges Chicago for Springfield, home to the secretive tech behemoth, DeCobray Industries . . .
Saying goodbye to big-city life is only the first challenge Stan faces in moving to Springfield, a town that’s eerily under the thumb of his mother’s powerful employer. DeCobray has its hand in everything, including the Lyre XR augmented reality headsets that Stan and his fellow students at Springfield Academy are asked to beta test. At first Stan loves his headset—data on his classmates is at his fingertips, and the Lyre’s custom filters make school sort of fun—but then he meets Scarlett, Ichi no Zoro-me, and Julien, and his new friends show him there’s a lot more going on behind DeCobray’s flashy tech. When several kids go missing at school, Stan and his friends set out to uncover the truth behind the devices. But the further they dig, the more sinister the conspiracy at the heart of their town appears . . .
I’m starting a new middle grade series with Hasbro called G.I. Joe Classified, and the first book comes out July 26th! It’s geared toward ages 8-12, but of course G.I. Joe fans of all ages will enjoy it! What’s more, if you are a person of…a certain age who, like me, has a life-long fondness for Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Storm Shadow, and the Baroness, and would like to share that fondness with a young person in your life, here you go! You’re welcome!
This book has been such a wild ride. It’s my first time working on a licensed property, and wow there was definitely a learning curve! I’m in the early stages of book 2 now, and still trying to figure out how to navigate things like corporate branding departments, but so far it’s been fascinating and extremely enlightening.
The whole saga of making this book began years ago, pre-pandemic, when I was hanging out with my friend Barry Lyga. He was working on a bunch of licensed properties back then, including a YA Thanos novel for Marvel, and a Flash novel for the CW Arrowverse. I asked if he had any advice on how I might get into something like that, and he suggested I start by thinking of a property I already knew and liked that might be ripe for a novel treatment. Coincidently, a few days before that, I had stumbled across Chuck Dixon’s rebooted G.I. Joe comic on Comixology Unlimited, and was delighted by his Cobra Civil War storyline. After discussing the idea with my agent, we reached out to Abrams Books, who has worked with Hasbro on a number of projects, such as Diana Peterfreund’s excellent Clue series. We asked them if Hasbro had considered doing a series of modern middle grade novels for the G.I. Joe franchise. It turns out they hadn’t, but they were very interested to hear more! So of course we pitched my idea, and many many many iterations later, here we are!
Hasbro was keen on introducing some new characters, so the main protagonist, Stan, and his friend Julien, are entirely my creation. But if you happen to be a Joe fan, rest assured that Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, and other beloved characters are included in this book, with more planned for future volumes.
In the coming months, I’ll be talking a lot more about this series, about why G.I. Joe is so important to me personally, how I think this franchise from the 80’s is perhaps more relevant than ever, and what sort of ninja hijinks you can expect from the series (plenty!). But for now, let’s all just bask in the glory of that Phil Noto cover with my name on it, shall we????
And yes, for those keeping track, this will be the first book published as Kelley Skovron. The first of many, I expect.
Talk soon, Kelley