New book: Conjured, by Sarah Beth Durst ’96 (Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers)
The author: Durst, who writes fantasy fiction for teenagers, has been drawn to magical worlds — dragons, griffins, and fairy-tale kingdoms — since her youth. She calls Conjured “the creepiest book I’ve ever written.” Durst is the author of Enchanted Ivy, which is set at Princeton during Reunions; Ice; Into the Wild; Out of the Wild; Drink, Slay, Love; and Vessel, which won the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature.
The book: Eve finds herself in a paranormal witness-protection program with no memory of her past. She is told that a magic-wielding serial killer is hunting her down. There is something horrifying in her memories that the people hiding her want to access. At night she dreams about a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. By day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do unusual things — like make the birds in her wallpaper fly around the room. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her.
Opening lines: "‘Your name is Eve. Remember that.’ She was supposed to call him Malcolm. Pressing her forehead against the cool glass of the car window, she stared at the house. Yellow and narrow, it loomed over the lawn. She traced the outline of the house on the window: a peaked roof, two windows with shades drawn, a front door dead center. ‘It’s a face,’ she said.”
Reviews: Horn Book called Conjured “an unusual blend of magical worlds, psychological thriller, and teen romance," as Eve experiences first love against a backdrop of magic and memory loss. Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Durst excels at describing grotesque violence and gorgeous magical transformations alike.”