This is my post during the blog tour for The Twin Stars by Bridgette Dutta Portman. In The Twin Stars a teenage girl with OCD falls into a fantasy world, where she must face her deepest fears in order to become the hero of her own story.
This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 26 July till 8 August. You can see the tour schedule here.
A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding. And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.
Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can't stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect - everything Olive thinks sheβ€™ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends - a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert - Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.
The Twin Stars is an engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
This was the gem garden.
Olive had bought her friend Lorie a crystal-growing kit for her twelfth birthday, and they had been enchanted by the multicolored minerals that blossomed out of it. That kit had inspired what Olive now saw before her. Clusters of white pearls ripened like grapes under hanging arbors. Frosted crystals of every color thrust spires into the air like the arms of cactuses, some of them reaching higher than Olive’s head. She saw great boulders of salty pink quartz, so perfectly geometrical that she wondered if someone had carved and shaped them like topiaries. Feathery green-and-blue minerals grew in moss-like clusters beside bristling reefs of coral-colored gems, planters filled with deep red rubies, beds of glittering black onyx.
It was so beautiful that Olive felt goose bumps prickle her arms under the draping sleeves of her robe. She remembered inventing the gem garden, but she had never set down in words the vivid detail she saw now. Something had filled in the gaps between her words, like an artist fleshing out the contours of a drawing.
Another feeling crept into Olive then, one that was all too familiar and frustrating: the overwhelming urge to wash her hands. She had touched many surfaces—countless walls and doors and knobs—since fleeing into the Sanctuary. In her own world, she would have found a sink and scrubbed her hands raw by now, blaming her chapped skin on the dry weather if anyone asked. At school, other students teased Olive about her hand-washing compulsion, and even Lorie had called her a germophobe. The habit exasperated her mother, and her father usually laughed it off as a quirk. She could not have explained to them the terrifying fear she had of contracting a deadly disease and passing it along to other people. Sometimes, if she concentrated hard enough, she could resist washing her hands for hours at a time. Eventually, though, she would give in to the tyrant in her head, and the relentless anxiety would finally go away—until she touched something else.
There was nowhere, and no time, to wash her hands now. Her left hand clenched and unclenched, and she wiped it on her robe, although she knew the fabric was just as dirty as anything she had touched. Her right hand still clutched the journal so tightly that her knuckles stood out in boney peaks.
She glanced back at the staircase. She dreaded the thought of Burnash’s soldiers following her into the garden, shattering all this beauty with their laser weapons, but she could not bring herself to descend the dark stairs again, into the labyrinth of halls and the rooms filled with strangers. She shut the door to the stairwell. It had no lock, and she scanned her surroundings for something to push in front of it. She noticed a wheelbarrow half-full of something that resembled salt, and she pushed it in front of the door. It would probably not impede the soldiers for long. At least, though, it might give her a few moments to think.
She needed to compose herself and concentrate—to remember what she knew about the Sanctuary, to determine if there were any secret rooms or passageways, any hiding places, any weapons, anything she might use as a defense against the soldiers. She was about to open her journal to re-read the parts of her story about Coseema’s life on the Musing Moon when she realized she was not alone.
About the Author
Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine. She is past president of the Playwrightsβ€™ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrightsβ€™ Guild, and the Dramatistsβ€™ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Twin Stars. One winner wins a signed paperback copy of The Twin Stars + a custom designed journal that ties into the book thematically.
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