Book Description:Putnam, the future king of Raftworld, wants more than anything to prove himself. When the water in the Second World starts to become salty and his father won't do anything about it, Putnam sees his chance. He steals a boat and sneaks off toward the source of the salty water. He doesn't know he has a stowaway onboard, an island girl named Artie.
Artie isn't trying to save the world, she's just trying to save herself. On the run from an abusive stepfather, Artie just wants a place to call home. Putnam isn't the partner she would have chosen, but as the two face uncertainty and danger in their shared adventure, an extraordinary friendship forms.
Meanwhile, more than a hundred years in the past, Rayel is also on the run from Raftworld, escaping an arranged marriage she discovers is really a plot to kill her father. She'd planned to be gone just long enough to foil the plot, but once at sea and sailing ever southward, Rayel discovers she has an astonishing magical power that leads her to a new home and a sadness so deep it infects the world.
Told in alternating perspectives with Putnam and Artie traveling further and further into the uncharted southern sea--and Rayel, the key to the saltwater mystery, sailing the same sea in her own time--Putnam and Artie must put aside their differences and figure out why the sea is salty before it's too late. A companion to the critically acclaimed A Crack in the Sea, H.M. Bouwman's latest is a wondrous and heartrending adventure.
Release Date: 1/22/2019
And now for the AMAZING cover!
AND... we are giving away an ARC of the book. If you'd like to enter to win, please leave a comment below and some form of contact (email, twitter etc.)
|Photo credit Greg Stoeckel|
About the Illustrator: Yuko’s Bio: Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City and an instructor at the School of Visual Arts. In 2009, Newsweek Japan chose Yuko as one of the “100 Japanese People the World Respects.” Yuko is the illustrator of the picture book Barbed Wire Baseball, and her work can also be seen on Gap T-shirts, Pepsi cans, Visa billboards, and Microsoft and Target ads, as well as on numerous book covers and in the pages of The New York Times, Time, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and many others. She also illustrated A Tear in the Ocean's companion novel, A Crack in the Sea.
Check out an excerpt from A TEAR IN THE OCEAN
Explorer, Hero, Runaway
Putnam. The Present: 1949.
Putnam watched a tattered girl about his own age at the edge of the bonfire. For the past hour, she’d hovered in the shadows just outside the glow of the flames. Her face would pop into the light briefly, then snuff itself out again, only to reappear several moments later, then disappear, like a candle being lit and immediately blown out.
She’d been circling the fire, when Putnam, looking for the best spot to listen and watch, noticed her. But she stopped moving about the same time he did, not quite across the fire from him. As he listened to Jupiter, the storyteller, entertain the people with a funny tale about the time long ago when they tried to grow mangoes on Raftworld (sadly, there was not enough dirt for the trees to root in), Putnam’s eyes flicked periodically to the spot where the girl’s face would suddenly jut out of the darkness and then fall back into it. She didn’t seem to realize she could be seen, and no one but Putnam noticed her.
Part of the reason she stood out to Putnam so much was her obvious desire not to be seen. Putnam understood that desire; he was trying to stay out of the light, too. Everyone expected so much of him—the Raft King’s son! the next king of Raftworld!—and sometimes he just needed to get away. Maybe this girl had some of the same feelings. Maybe her so-called friends were always following her around, too, hoping for favors and being nice to her because of who her dad was.
Or maybe not. Putnam squinted at the girl through the smoke. Clearly an Islander, she had the lighter brown skin and straight hair and stocky body that was the classic Tathenlander look. But unlike the other Islanders, she wasn’t spiffed up, wearing her best clothes for the party; she acted as if she wasn’t even supposed to be at the party.
She made Putnam think of the story the Island’s former storyteller (now dead) had told the last time Raftworld had visited the Islands, when he’d been only two—ten years ago. He didn’t remember the actual words the Island storyteller had used, of course, but Jupiter had retold the tale since then: a poor orphan girl who’d been forced to work for her rich stepmother who hated her, and who, when the prince threw a party, snuck in and eventually captured the prince’s heart. Except—he reminded himself—that girl had been given a ball gown and fragile gypsum slippers when she snuck into the ball, and this girl was here simply as herself. She wasn’t likely to win a prince’s heart the way she looked and acted.
He smiled to himself at the next thought: technically, he supposed, he was the prince in the story. Though no one called him by that title, he was in fact the Raft King’s only child. So if he were to follow the story’s plot, he should chase this girl down and grab one of her shoes . . . if she had shoes . . .
The girl materialized one more time, the firelight playing on a set of bruises on one side of her face. Jupiter had moved on to a more serious story: how the Raftworlders’ ancestor Venus escaped from being enslaved. And this time, as Jupiter explained the moment of decision, the choice Venus made, the tattered girl emerged and didn’t puff right back into darkness. This time her face stayed in the light, entranced as she was by the story. And there was something in the fire’s glow that made her look—not pretty, no, nor healthy nor well cared for—but full of determination and spirit and energy. Just for that moment.
Jupiter’s story ended, and she vanished. Vivid in the fire’s flickering light one moment, gone the next.
A big hand descended on Putnam’s shoulder, and for one brief second he thought it was the girl, coming after him instead of waiting for him to chase her down and steal her shoe. But as soon as that thought flitted into his head, he knew it was wrong. First of all, the hand was too big and heavy.
“It’s time.” His father, of course—tall, thin, and a little stooped, in the dark red cloak he wore for official events, his graying beard closely trimmed.
Putnam nodded. He already stood in the back of the crowd; he didn’t even have to jostle anyone to leave. For a moment he wondered what it would be like to just vanish, like that girl.
“Are you coming?” asked his father. “Your first Session. Let’s be on time.”
Putnam nodded again and hurried after the old man.
The trading session—usually just called “the Session”—was the biggest meeting in the entire world, which wasn’t saying much, as the world was small, at least where people were concerned. The Session, which lasted for several days with long breaks for the Session delegates to attend parties and socialize, happened every decade or so, whenever the floating nation of Raftworld arrived in the course of its usual travels to the islands of Tathenland and the big island of Tathenn. Then the Raftworlders and Islanders got together for a week or more of parties and storytelling and singing . . . and trading. The Raft King and the Island’s governor—and other important people—attended meetings, exchanged important information, made deals. This year, the Raft King had said that now that he was twelve, Putnam was old enough to go to the meetings. As if that was a privilege. It was, but all the other delegates were grownups. And the entire meeting was talking.
Putnam sat in the back corner of the room next to a convenient tray of biscuits, rather than at the delegates’ table, which was only big enough for the eight women and men—four from each country—who ran the Session. He was supposed to be listening and learning. He nibbled and made crumbs and tried—he really did—to pay attention.
But the day had been long, and his mind wandered, and after an hour or more of discussions of flour and wool and embroidered cloth and hydraulic engines and so many other things, his eyes drooped. Just before he slid into deep sleep, he remembered himself and snapped back, shifting suddenly in his chair and crumbling the cookie still clutched in his hand.
Eight heads turned toward him, conversation stalling for a moment. “Sorry,” he muttered, feeling foolish, as they turned back to discussion. He knew he should be listening hard at his first Session, maybe even saying something important—but barring that, at least he should look like he was listening. He pinched his leg, hard, and sat up straighter, shoving the broken cookie into his mouth and chewing vigorously.
And the pinching and chewing helped. He felt less tired, at least for the moment.
Until he realized what the Session leaders were talking about now: the ocean. A cloud of gloom settled over the room. There had already been so much talk about the problem with the water, so much discussion about what to do.
“There’s no doubt at all in our minds,” one of the Islanders said stubbornly to Putnam’s father. “You don’t see it as much because you’re always moving around.”
“You make it sound like moving around is a bad thing. What are you trying to say about us?” asked a Raftworlder, one of his father’s advisors.
“Now, that isn’t what’s meant at all,” said the governor in a soothing voice. She was much younger than Putnam’s father, who’d been old already when Putnam was born. This governor looked barely adult. Tiny compared to Putnam’s father, she sat straight in her seat, as if trying to look taller. Her dark braids wrapped around her head like a crown and shone in the light.
She continued. “We’re only saying that we see the changes more, situated as we are in one location. In the past few years, the fish have been leaving us, heading north. The algae is dying. We know that our capital is better off than other places on Tathenn—it’s much worse on the southern shores. We don’t have anyone with the gift of talking to fish, like you”—she nodded toward the king—“but we can read the water pretty well even so. The changes aren’t good.”
“The water’s going bad. You can taste that yourself,” added one of the governor’s advisors, folding his arms over his chest and nodding at the pitcher on the table.
Several Raftworlders leaned forward to add their thoughts. One said, “It does seem worse the farther south we get. When we were north earlier this year, remember how fresh—”
Putnam’s father held up his long, thin hand, and everyone stopped for the Raft King to speak. “The water here has changed, it’s true. I can tell from our last visit that it’s different. Kind of salty, yes?”
The governor’s advisor nodded, as did the other Islanders in the room. “But what you have to ask yourself is this: is it maybe because of something you’ve done here on the Islands?”
“And it’s affected the entire ocean?” asked the governor dryly. “Your advisor just said the water is different the world over.”
The king shrugged, his face impassive. “He said it seemed that way. And other times it seems fine. We need to study it more to be sure. That’s my suggestion: that we form committees. Maybe you Islanders can take samples and track any changes over time—compare data for a few years and see if it’s really getting salty and, if so, how bad it really is. And when Raftworld travels, we’ll take samples at key locations as well, so that the next time we stop at those places, we can also compare.”
“The next time? You mean ten years from now, when you circle back?”
“It’s not always ten years. There are some places we visit every five or six years. It really depends.”
“But the water’s gone from good to bad in just a few years. And you’re arguing for years more of testing,” said one of the Islanders, a gray-haired woman who looked about as old as the king. “Before we even do anything.”
The Raft King paused as if thinking about his answer, and then nodded. “It doesn’t help to rush.”
Putnam, sitting off to the side with the biscuits, could see the looks on the Islanders’ faces and in their stiff shoulders and bodies: frustration and worry. He could see, more faintly, similar looks in the Raftworlders’ faces—everyone’s but his father’s. This idea of moving slowly was . . . too slow. Obviously something needed to be done, and everyone but the Raft King was ready to do it.
“If we don’t take action . . .” said the young governor of the Islands. She didn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t have to. They all depended on the ocean—Raftworld and Tathenland—for food, for water. For everything.
One of the Raft King’s advisors broke the silence. “Well, this is a topic we should return to. Tomorrow morning?” She stood, stretching her lower back and smiling a little too big. “There is, after all, a party tonight to attend.”
Others stood, too, but not the young governor, who spread her hands on the table, palms down, almost as if the table were trying to fly off. She didn’t smile, either. “We’re not done here.”
“We’ll talk about it again.” One of the governor’s own advisors, an elderly man who wore the old-fashioned Island clothing even down to the luck pouch around his neck, patted her shoulder. “Tomorrow, when we’re fresh.”
Everyone filed out of the room except the governor and her elderly advisor, his hand still on her shoulder. Putnam, following the others out, turned in time to see the governor look up at the old man, her face strained.
“We’ll talk tomorrow,” she said.
“And then do something,” her advisor said.
“Sure,” she said, unconvinced. “If we stall long enough, pretending nothing is horribly wrong and forming committees”—she said the word as if it tasted bitter—“it will be just as bad as if we ignore it altogether. The sea is dying. And then we die too.”
The old Island man’s hand flexed in a tight grip, then loosened. He smoothed her hair down, as if he were her father and she a young child. It occurred to Putnam that maybe he was her father. “I know,” he said in a low voice. “If Raftworld ignores the problem, we’ll have to figure it out on our own.”
“The problem is coming from the south. We need explorers, scientists, people—to sail south, find out what’s causing this. Fix it.”
The old man nodded.
“But without ocean boats or seafaring folks—”
“We needed Raftworld. They were our best hope, and they’re saying no.”
“It does sound that way. But maybe tomorrow . . .”
At the same moment they seemed to realize Putnam was still there, and as they turned to him, he muttered, “Excuse me,” and stumbled out of the room.
Was this what a Session was? A place to avoid the real problems of the world? And was this who his father was? Someone too slow-moving or too scared to jump in and fix things?