Coming March 8, 2016
Amulet Books, Hardcover, ISBN 9781419719158
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.
1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.
The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
Some notes about the cover:
This captivating design was created by Maria T. Middleton at Abrams, the brilliant talent behind all of my young adult covers, as well as the creator of those gorgeous interior designs. The photographer is Symon Chow, who also photographed the cover of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. I love the cover so much and feel it's absolutely perfect for The Steep and Thorny Way. Everything on the cover is significant to the story.
Yes, this novel will include historical photographs, just like In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming. Yes, it's inspired by Hamlet, but you don't need to be familiar with the play to understand the novel. If you are a Hamlet aficionado, however, you will find nods to the plot and the characters throughout, including a ghost.
The Steep and Thorny Way features both biracial and LGBTQ characters from the past and tackles some of the darkness faced by those who didn't fit into the 1920s mold of "perfection." I think it might be my most controversial novel yet, but I also feel it's my strongest, and I can't wait to share it with everyone in March 2016.