About Blue Rabbit…
In Knoxville, Tennessee, there’s a bridge to another world.
When they first cross it, Erika and her friends feel like they’ve stumbled into a dream. Magical and mysterious, the other world becomes their little paradise, a place to explore and escape from their everyday lives. Until one night a boy from school, Mike, follows them to the other side―and he’s kidnapped by strange and powerful Creatures.
Back home, everyone thinks Erika and the gang are responsible for Mike’s disappearance. The dream has become a nightmare. How can they negotiate with these Creatures to rescue Mike and clear their names? And why are the Creatures fixated on Erika, who feels drawn to their world even as she senses the danger?
Cover art by Angles Verte
~ Eating Magic ~
I’m reading Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro. It’s a young adult urban fantasy about an interesting clique of friends: Haley, her brother Dorian, Erika, Nathan, and Sandra. I love the opening scene in the school cafeteria where Haley and Erika bicker over how much they’ve (not) eaten and Haley builds battlements with toothpicks. It’s a great introduction to the group dynamics. Haley is the glue.
Haley could feel all her friends around her. Sandra’s knee pressed against her leg; Dorian’s shoulder brushed hers; Nathan sprawled out across the backrest of the couch, had his hand on her shoulder; Erika sat on a cushion on the floor with her back against Haley’s legs. It felt comfortable.
The group has been friends a long time as documented by the engaging passages regarding home videos and photo albums, but their bonds are being tested.
They’ve stumbled onto another realm of existence… populated by strange creatures. Creatures who kidnapped a fellow student. Now, the police are asking questions and when the gang attempts a rescue everything goes awry.
“And we just ask people to hand over a blood sample?” Sandra asked.
“No. We’ll be creative.”
This sounded just as half-assed as all of Erika’s previous plans. So far, none of them had done any good, and Sandra didn’t believe this one would be any different.
The story is told from multiple points of view, different colored threads weaving the fears and hope of each character into a whole cloth of intense bonds.
Novaro captures the unique identities, shifting loyalties, and fraying ties in exquisite scenes. A new arrival, Chloe, adds pressure to existing group fractures.
All this is set against a psychedelic, alternate, Avatar-like world, where the physics of things like water defies our own.
She bit off a tiny chunk, just to try it. Secretly, she got a thrill out of the idea of a piece of this world inside her. To her surprise it tasted wonderful, if odd—kind of like a sweet tangerine, but with the consistency of a hard-boiled egg.
The novel is as thoughtful as it is entertaining, when it plays with themes like connection, aliveness, and individuality. One of its many wonderful qualities is the maleness of the guys and the femaleness of the girls, without any of them becoming a gender stereotype. I also love the way the needs and desires of the cast of characters converge in an explosive climax.
Throughout, Novaro’s narrative voice, fragile and strong, tentative and assured, amplifies the tale. It’s a wonderful read that I highly recommend.
I’ll leave you with a couple more of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite characters, Dorian.
As someone obsessed/haunted by time, I laughed out loud when I read this:
The clock did not make sense. Dorian hated clocks and wished they would all blow up simultaneously.
And as someone who appreciates The Lord of the Rings …
The doctor came to discharge her after breakfast, interrupting Dorian’s improvisational rendition of The Lord of the Rings, starring the plastic fork as Aragorn, the plastic spoon as Frodo, and the plastic knife as Sauron—Haley didn’t feel like eating, so the toast was the Shire and the cup of juice was Mount Doom.
Jimena Novaro always knew she would be a writer. It just took her a few years to realize that she wanted to do it full-time, and relegate things like going into outer space and being an opera prima donna to hobbies. She loves reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, and YA. A self-proclaimed geeky sort of nerd, she spends a lot of her time fangirling over her favorite shows, books, and bands and educating herself about super-important topics such as how to survive an arrow wound and whether or not you can shoot a gun in space. Sometimes she gets super serious and rants about some socio-political issue or other.
She’s a member of the awesome fantasy authors group Mystic Quills. You can find her free epic fantasy serial, The Withering Sword, on her website (a new chapter comes out every Sunday!) Her first book, Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy, comes out this December!