EXCLUSIVE: Columbia Pictures has preemptively acquired screen rights to The Lost Property Office, Simon & Schuster’s lead YA fall title by James R. Hannibal. Novel is the first in a series, and was published in November. It is one part Harry Potter, with some Dr. Who thrown in. A 13-year old teen named Jack Buckles, who is uncanny at locating missing things, tests his mettle and searches for his father, who disappeared one day in London without a trace. He ultimately uncovers that the old man wasn’t who he claimed to be. He was a member of The “Lost Property Office” — a secret magical society of gifted detective “Trackers,” who’ve served the Crown for centuries. Jack’s own membership is his inheritance. He will uncover the great mysteries of London and calamities to come as he tries to bring his father home. To do that he must find what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret kept since the Great Fire of London. Matthew Stein is attached as producer, and Sony execs Palak Patel and Aimee Rivera are overseeing it. Paradigm brokered the deal for Pippin Properties’ Sara Crowe.