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.
By Bridgette Dutta Portman
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 6 July, 2021
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 sheâ€™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.
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 Playwrightsâ€™ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrightsâ€™ Guild, and the Dramatistsâ€™ 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. Open International.
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She was underwater.
Olive realized it just in time to stop herself from gasping. Panic seared through her body as she thrashed about, kicking downward, tearing at the water uselessly.
There was nothing solid around her.
Murky darkness flooded her eyes; a churning roar filled her ears. Just as her starved lungs neared their limit, her left knee collided with something sharp and firm. She kicked and her foot met rock. She brought her other foot to the same position and pushed off the surface as hard as she could, propelling her body through the water.
The diminishing pain in her ears told her she was traveling upward, moving amidst an effervescence of tiny bubbles. She felt them swirling, fizzing, tickling her flesh, bearing her up toward the light as she begged her tortured lungs to hold out for another few seconds until, at last, she broke the surface.
At first, she could do nothing but devour it. When the haze of panic dissipated and her senses returned, her next coherent thought was that the plane had crashed. But this was not the icy water of the Arctic Ocean. This water felt like a warm bath. It bubbled like soda, and great plumes of vapor waltzed over its surface, spiraling upward until they melted into a golden haze. It reminded Olive of steam rising from mug. It might have been pleasant had she not nearly drowned in it.
The strange pool had a vague familiarity to it, but her head felt too muddled to sort it out.
Where was she? Where was the plane?
It crossed Olive’s mind that she was dead, and the thought sent a chill through her, but her sore knee and aching lungs reassured her. People weren’t supposed to feel pain after death, and they definitely shouldn’t need to breathe.
She treaded water, scanning her surroundings. She thought she saw movement through the curls of steam and paddled toward it, her knee smarting with each kick. Gradually the silhouette of something—no, someone—took shape as she moved through the plumes. At last, her feet touched the jagged, pebbly ground, and with a final rush of adrenaline, she pushed herself forward into the shallows. There she crouched in the warm water and stared up at the figure on the bank.
For a heartbeat, she thought it was Dadiji.
The woman had the same slight stoop, the same gently lined face, the same warm brown skin and long black hair frosted with silver. She was dressed differently, though; this woman wore deep crimson robes, with a fluted, draping cut that reminded Olive of an illustration she had once seen of an ancient Greek poet. A patch covered her right eye. Her left eye was a startlingly vivid purple, and it stared back at the young stranger who had just emerged from the steamy pool.
This was not Dadiji, and yet there was something jarringly familiar about the woman. Not until she spoke did Olive realize what it was.
“Coseema…” breathed the woman.
So, this was a dream. Olive felt a surge of relief. It did not seem like one—her knee throbbed with a very real pain—but this had to be a dream, because she was staring at a person she had made up herself.