Celadon Books is thrilled to announce the acquisition of the debut novel PENITENCE by Kristin Koval, in an overnight preempt by Celadon’s President and Publisher Deb Futter.
For readers of DEFENDING JACOB and ASK AGAIN, YES, Koval’s novel is a propulsive story of grief, forgiveness, blame, and mercy, which opens when a 13-year-old girl shoots her terminally ill brother. PENITENCE asks when and why should a person forgive… and are some things unforgivable?
“PENITENCE was submitted the day before the Memorial Day weekend. I read it overnight and pre-empted it the next day,” says Futter. “It is a page turner, with several family mysteries embedded throughout, and a hard look at the juvenile justice system. Readers will not be able to stop talking about it.”
Koval, a former attorney, was a finalist in the 2022 Salamander Fiction Contest for her short story Inheritance and is an alumna of Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Aspen Summer Words.
Futter acquired the novel, for publication in 2025, from Gail Hochman at Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. (World English Language).