Today we have Plus One by Elizabeth Fama on a tour courtesy of PBT. Read the excerpt below and don't forget to add the book on Goodreads. Follow the tour here: Pinoy Book Tours
One night when I was still a freshman I came to class and there was a new drawing on the desk: an exquisitely rendered human heart. It was not the kind of heart that little kids draw and cut out to make valentines, with two plump cheeks at the top and a pointy V at the bottom. It was an anatomically perfect sketch, tipped slightly as real hearts are, showing the aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins, and the vena cava—although I wouldn't have remembered the location of any of those if they hadn't been carefully labeled. My desk partner had drawn the heart as if it had been sliced almost all the way in two by a sharp knife, which was no small feat since the drawing was three-dimensional and looked like real muscle tissue. Below it was a poem. But it wasn't one I would have ridiculed, or forced Poppu to dissect to expose its pretentiousness. It was raw, an open wound, and it brought tears to my eyes
I am empty
I am released from a ship
I am unmoored
Aching for what was lost
Wanting what will never be
The after-moment of now versus then
The paradigm shift
The world in too sharp relief
The past and future overlap
In front of my eyes
Death and life
Love and its mysterious absence
I am not a player
I am a spectator
I read it again and again until I had it by heart. I heard nothing my teacher said the entire period,not a word. I had no com-fort to offer my friend, even though it’s what I most wanted to do, and in that way I felt an impotence that matched the tone of the poem itself.
A worry forced its way into my mind. Was it a girl he was talking about? Wasn’t that a broken heart he had drawn? Had he fallen in love with someone? Wanting what was lost. Love and its mysterious absence.
I felt socked in the chest, and I didn't know why. He was the equivalent of a pen pal, after all; a confidant at most. Nothing had changed: if our paths crossed in the hall I still wouldn't recognize him. If he saw me, I would seem a stranger. He wouldn't wrap his arms around me, his beloved friend.
The bell rang, and every other student got up to leave, scraping chairs, laughing, stuffing books in backpacks, drop-ping papers. My time to help him was up, and I felt a rising panic that I would fail him.
I was no poet, I had no right to even try. But I hastily added these four lines, and I left the room without allowing myself to reconsider.
It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.
Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.
Photo credit: Gene Fama Jr.
Elizabeth Fama is the author of Plus One (FSG, 2014), Monstrous Beauty (FSG, 2012), a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and Odyssey Award honor winner, and Overboard (Cricket Books, 2002), an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.
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