Happy Poetry Friday. It’s been a while since we visited my bookshelf, friends.
In Bookshelf posts, I pair a middle grade or young adult novel with a poem, to be read and enjoyed side by side.
Earlier this month, my friend Jeff Giles visited Maryland as part of his book tour. Jeff’s debut novel, THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING, published in January.
I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for this dark fantasy/romance novel last summer. Then I gave my signed ARC to my brother for his birthday, read an e-ARC, and spent several months kicking myself for not keeping the book. At last! I have a signed hard-cover copy of THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING and it is not leaving my hot little hands.
I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, friends, but Dark Romantic heroes have my heart. Give me Mr. Rochester, Heathcliff, and Darcy — GIVE ME WIZARD HOWL. Leave the happy, charming, sporty boys for someone else. If a book’s love interest is tall, dark, and handsome with a secret past and a brooding attitude, I am all in.
THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is about the otherworldly, unrequited romance between fiercely independent high-schooler Zoe and X, a bounty hunter from Hell (which he calls the Lowlands). Much of X’s charm comes from the fact that he is the Lowland’s only home-grown bounty hunter. He was born there and raised by a makeshift “family” of murderers and sinners serving their sentences in the afterlife. X and Zoe meet accidentally as he collects a fallen soul on a remote Montana mountaintop. She falls hard for this strange boy and decides to help him figure out who he is and how to break his bonds to the Lowlands.
This book is filled with great supporting characters, from Zoe’s goofy, loyal ex-boyfriend, to X’s surrogate mother Ripper, a sharp-witted Victorian murderess. Jeff Giles is a keen observer of human (and inhuman) nature. The bleak, snow-covered settings add to the story’s epic feel. This was a novel that I didn’t want to put down. (I may have sent Jeff a few “I just got to the part where this happens and oh my gosh you are killing me” emails while I was reading.)
THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING published in January. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?
It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods—only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is appropriate for high school and up.
Who will like it?
- Fans of urban fantasy.
- Readers who swoon for Dark Romantic heroes and unrequited love. ((Raises hand.))
- Anyone looking for a new, dark take on hero/quest stories.
- Writers interested in models for world-building. Jeff’s description of the Lowlands, its history, politics, and rules, is easy to become immersed in.
I’m pairing THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING with a poem by that real-life fainting-chair-worthy hottie and hot-head, Lord Byron. This poem reflects X’s soul-weariness and his deep longing for a different kind of life.
So We’ll Go No More a Roving
By Lord Byron
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.
Bonus for teachers: Have your students track the assonance in this poem. Oh, oh, oh — more swooning.