by Jody Gehrman
Release Date: 04/14/15
Summary from Goodreads:
Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.
Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…
Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.
You have no idea how happy your letter made me. I got it at a time when all the magic in the universe seemed to have drained away, leaving only darkness in its wake. For starters, it’s just the most dazzling coincidence, you being from Barcelona! I’m obsessed with that city! I swear I have an image file on my laptop with like four million
Barcelona photos in it! Not to sound all Northern Californian or anything, but seriously, what a twist of fate! I’m using too many exclamation points. Sorry about that.
I’m embarrassed to admit I had to look up more than one of the words on your list. Sprezzatura for one. Thanks for teaching me such a great new concept. Leave it to the Italians to come up with a word for “making difficult things look easy.” Its closest match in English is probably “insouciance,” which would be on my top seven list for sure.
Speaking of sprezzatura, I’m impressed with how fluent you are in English! Not just your overall ease with the language, but your apparently effortless comfort with American pop culture. Debby Boone and Justin Bieber? Not bad. Did you grow up in Spain, or have you been here a long time? You said you’re traveling. I’m thinking of traveling myself, so I’d love to know more details about your trip. What are your impressions of this country? Where have you been, and where are you going?
A little about me: I live in a place called Luna Cove. It’s an artist colony. My dad’s a musician. We also have a writer named Fran who lives in a tree house, a Japanese guy named Tomo who’s a tattoo artist, and a couple named Neville and Jane who are potters. Neville and Jane have a bunch of kids who are just…kids. We all live in our own little spaces. I live in a yurt, which is a round house created by Mongolians and revised by white people who like camping. If a circus tent and a Native American round house had a fling, the yurt would be their love child. Here, it’s probably easier to draw a picture.
Anyway, I think I’m starting to ramble, so I guess I’ll sign off. Please write me back! Tell me the three things you love best about Barcelona, what sort of weather you’d like to be if you could be any weather, and the most memorable thing that’s happened to you on this trip.
Oh! And I almost forgot to answer your question. If I could be anything in nature for ten minutes I’d want to try life as a passionflower. They’re so whimsical and outlandish, I just know they have a lot going on inside.
Also, here’s my email in case you ever need to tell me something in a hurry. I don’t know if you have internet access, but I figured I’d include it just in case. Please don’t stop writing letters, though. Who even does this anymore? It’s a lost art, so retro, like wearing pillbox hats or winding a Victrola.
I hold the letter closer to my face to study the adorable picture of what must be a yurt. It’s no bigger than a postage stamp, but impossibly detailed. There’s a tiny skylight at the center of the sloping roof. She’s right; it does look a little like a circus tent.
“Well?” Attila’s impatient voice startles me.
“Well, what?” I can’t hide my smile.
“What does she say?”
I fold the letter carefully and put it back into the envelope. “Oh, you know, this and that.” He is so not going to read my precious letter! I hope he knows that.
“‘This and that’?” His face twists into a look of such scorn I can’t help but laugh. My chuckle cuts off abruptly when I hear a chair scrape against the floor in the next room.
“Jack?” Mom calls.
Attila silently rushes to the stereo. Showing an agility I never knew he possessed, he stops the recording and cues me all at the same time, then he conceals himself behind the sofa with lightning speed. I manage to continue “Nocturne in D Flat Major” seamlessly. When Mom opens the conservatory door, nothing is amiss.
I glance over my shoulder at her, still playing. “What is it, Mom?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It sounded like there was someone in here with you.”
“Nope. Just me.” I dive into the second strophe, furrowing my brow with concentration.
“My mistake,” she murmurs before closing the door.
After a moment, Attila pops up from behind the couch and scurries over to the table. He finds a notepad and scribbles something in big, sloppy letters, then holds it up to me. I have to suppress another laugh when I see what he’s written.
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Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of ten novels and numerous award-winning plays. Her Young Adult novels include The Truth About Jack, Audrey’s Guide to Black Magic, Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft, Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love. Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Bombshell, Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin. Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English and Communication Studies at Mendocino College.
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