Published by Dial Books on April 5th 2016
Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?
Black Swan meets Romeo and Juliet in this slippery, romantic YA by New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West – for fans of Holly Black’s White Cat, Justine Larbalestier’s Liar, and Francesca Zappia’s Made You Up.
Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, her doctors. She’s fine, she says. She’s fine. If anyone knew the truth – that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters have followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls – it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he’s 100% real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.
Troubled by the magnetic new kid, a long-lost friend turned recent love interest, and the darkest parts of her family’s past, Jaye’s life tangles with Shakespeare’s most famous plays until she can’t tell where truth ends and pretending begins. Soon, secret meetings and dizzying first kisses give way to more dangerous things. How much is real, how much is in Jaye’s head, and how much does it matter as she flies toward a fate over which she seems to have no control?
“Utterly beguiling… Jaye is a fiercely headstrong force and West’s writing is lyrical, lilting, spectral, and opulent.”
“Jaye’s personal drama sets an engrossing stage… A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays.”
“Jaye herself mirrors elements of the tragic Dane. She is melancholic and dramatic, and the story is peppered with her hallucinations. Readers are left wondering how trustworthy she is. Is she really seeing Shakespeare’s spirit? What is the mystery behind her father’s death? True to the Shakespearean influence… A unique reading experience.”
– School Library Journal
“West’s use of quotes from Shakespeare’s various plays is restrained but perfectly timed, and her allowance for the characters to go off script offers both moving and humorous moments… Shakespeare’s characters really shine as they come to life in the twenty-first century.”
– Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Unusual depth… Rich language… The moral ambiguity and deep questions of [Shakespeare’s] tragedies are woven into the story, as Jaye [tries] to hold onto her own life while well-meaning people try to take it from her.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune
Jacqueline West is the author of the award-winning middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere.The Books of Elsewhere, Volume One: The Shadows (2010) garnered starred reviews, several state award nominations, and a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List. The series is published by Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of Penguin Random House) in the USA and will also be published in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Russia, and Catalonia.
Jacqueline’s short fiction for adults and children has appeared in a variety of publications, and her poetry has received many honors, including two Pushcart nominations, a Rhysling Award nomination, and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize. Cherma, her series of poems about Wisconsin’s Bohemian immigrants, was published in March 2010 by the University of Wisconsin’s Parallel Press chapbook series.
Jacqueline loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, is sadly allergic to cats (though she manages to write about them without developing a rash), and is at least a little bit afraid of all fish larger than a hot dog bun. If you are sharing a pizza, she will ask for the crust pieces. Don’t get her talking about Kurt Vonnegut, Tori Amos, Northern Exposure, or Sylvia Plath, or you’ll be sorry. Jacqueline lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband, her son, and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones.
PLEASE WELCOME JACQUELINE to BOOKHOUNDS YA
1. What is on your nightstand?
Lotion, tangled piles of jewelry, and a notebook and pen so I can scribble down the ideas that invade my brain in the middle of the night. Of course, then I can’t read my middle-of-the-night scribbly handwriting, so it’s a good thing that most of those ideas aren’t brilliant anyway.
If you mean books, though: I don’t read in bed. I read everywhere else. The books currently scattered around my house are JUST KIDS by Patti Smith, IN WINTER’S KITCHEN by Beth Dooley, DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens, and Lauren Groff’s FATES AND FURIES.
2. What author would you totally fan?
Ooh… Neil Gaiman. I went to one of his big readings/talks/book signings six years ago, and then was so overwhelmed by hero-worship and shyness, I ran away from the signing line. I couldn’t even get in the line to pet his dogs.
3. What makes you cringe?
Purple prose. When someone in a poem cries a single tear. Forced use of slang by an author who’s trying to sound young and hip. If someone uses the phrase “her raven hair” seriously. The word bubo.
4. Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I tend to make a lot of notes before I begin, but they’re just a collage of ideas and fragments that I think will eventually have some place in the story. I don’t—can’t—outline an entire plot. I’ve tried, and the writing that results is plodding, boring, horrible stuff. I have to write a scene in order to find out what’s going to happen in the next one. That’s what keeps me curious and driven, and it hopefully keeps the writing sharp too. I need plenty of room for spontaneity and discovery.
5. Is there a word you love to use?
I used to use “suddenly” like a crutch. I’d stagger into every new paragraph, leaning on that word to drive the action. Now I’ve cut way back on my “suddenly” dependence—I still use it, but in controlled amounts.
My real addiction is to similes. I once visited a classroom where the kids had counted every single simile I used in my first book, THE SHADOWS (Volume One of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE). I can’t remember the total now, but it was well into triple digits.
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