Spotlight on Dragonfly Girl (Marti Leimbach), Excerpt, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight
Dragonfly Girl (Marti Leimbach).
Read on for more about Marti, an excerpt & plus giveaway!
Meet Marti Leimbach!
Marti Leimbach is the author of several novels for adult readers, including the international bestseller Dying Young, which was made into a major motion picture; Daniel Isn't Talking; and The Man from Saigon. She lives in England and teaches at Oxford University's creative writing program. DRAGONFLY GIRL [harpercollins.com] is her YA debut.
Meet Dragonfly Girl!
In this spellbinding thriller and YA debut from bestselling author Marti Leimbach, Kira Adams has discovered a cure for death—and it may just cost her life.
Things aren’t going well for Kira. At home, she cares for her mother and fends off debt collectors. At school, she’s awkward and shy. Plus, she may flunk out if she doesn’t stop obsessing about science, her passion and the one thing she’s good at . . . very good at.
When she wins a prestigious science contest she draws the attention of the celebrated professor Dr. Gregory Munn (as well as his handsome assistant), leading to a part-time job in a top-secret laboratory.
The job is mostly cleaning floors and equipment, but one night, while running her own experiment, she revives a lab rat that has died in her care.
One minute it is dead, the next it is not.
Suddenly she’s the remarkable wunderkind, the girl who can bring back the dead. Everything is going her way. But it turns out that science can be a dangerous business, and Kira is swept up into a world of international rivalry with dark forces that threaten her life.
~ Excerpt ~
I’ve never flown on a plane, visited a foreign country, or even stayed in a hotel. When I finally arrive in Stockholm—groggy, wrinkled, ecstatic—I feel like a visitor to my own life. I’m fascinated by the sounds of foreign voices, the signs I can’t read, the brand names I don’t recognize. Stockholm is an archipelago, a city of islands; lamplight glows on the famous bridges. Christmas lights outline storefronts and windows, the branches of trees, and the sides of red market stalls, above which hang garlands of pine.
I take a wrong turn and end up in the old town, Gamla Stan. All around are people dressed in parkas and scarves, carrying umbrellas in case the snow grows heavier. But the snow is as soft as confetti, gathering gently along the edges of the cobbled streets. The smell of hot food sifts through the air, the scent of caramelized sugar floats from pastry shops in clouds I feel I could stick out my tongue and lick. Entering a patch of green that makes up a city park, I wander unnoticed in a wooden corral among statues of Santa’s reindeer, lit with thousands of tiny bulbs.
I may be the happiest I’ve ever been.
And, of course, the minute I have that thought I wish my mother could be here with me, that I hadn’t had to leave her behind. Lauren is going to check in on her so she won’t be entirely alone. Even so, I want tell her everything I see. But it’s dawn in California and she won’t be awake. However, I know someone who will be.
In the early hours, you can often find Lauren at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. I’ve been with her many times, huddling in the brush, waiting to see something interesting, the endangered Ridgway’s Rail, for example, a bird that has proven more difficult to photograph than it ought to, given it’s the size of a chicken and can’t really fly.
I get out my phone, pull off my glove, then type:
Myth: people who live in warm climates have thinner blood.
A minute later I see two blue tick marks that mean the text has been delivered. A message back from Lauren reads:
Fact: everyone wishes they lived in California.
I’m not so sure. Crossing a bridge that my map tells me connects the old town to Blasieholmen, my destination, I peer out over inky water reflecting the sky and a small sea of ships strung in lights like hundreds of floating Christmas trees. I can’t imagine anywhere more beautiful.
A few seconds later my phone rings. I hear Lauren’s voice a continent away.
“Is it amazing?” she says.
“Incredible. But also negative four degrees. Sorry, I mean 24.8 Fahrenheit.”
“Did you just convert that in your head? Never mind. How fabulous do you look in my mother’s Moncler parka?”
“Pretty good if I keep the hood up.”
I hear Lauren’s groan. “I bet you look great. Have you been to the banquet yet?”
“I’m still looking for my hotel.”
“You haven’t even found the hotel? But you left here yesterday afternoon!”
“The flight takes fifteen hours, and anyway, it was delayed. It gets dark here at, like, two o’clock. Seriously, I can see the moon.”
“Well, buy some chocolate. They make the best chocolate.”
“You’re thinking of the Swiss again.”
“Well, what do the Swedes make?”
“Clogs, I think?”
“Aren’t clogs Dutch?”
“Oh. Then maybe nothing.”
I turn a corner, still chatting. Then I stop. There, facing the water over which I’ve just come, is the Grand Hôtel. It’s huge, with a majesty difficult to achieve outside the nineteenth century, when it was built—the same century in which the Houses of Parliament, the Eiffel Tower, and the Paris Opera were imagined. Suddenly, I don’t want to take another step. I want to turn around, seek out a small room above one of the cozy restaurants in the old town, or go back to the little park of reindeer. The hotel is too imposing, too splendid; I can’t imagine visiting it, let alone staying here for days, eating and drinking and talking with scientists from all over the world.
“Lauren, I found my hotel,” I say in a whisper.
“And it’s . . . I better go.”
I hang up and stand there in the cold, feeling the skin of my skull contracting even through my fleece cap. Somehow, I have to enter this hotel’s world and convince everyone inside that I’m someone I’m not. What felt possible back in California feels foolish and naive now that I’m here.
But I have no choice.
I walk with trepidation toward the giant, lit facade, feeling all the while like a beggar approaching the palace gates. Through the glass windows I can see people in evening gowns and uniforms, a lady in a plumed hat, a man sneezing into a pocket handkerchief. Two children race around their father’s legs as he swats at them like flies. It is like peeking into an old, forgotten world. I’m an intruder who should never gain entry. I’m Cinderella, arriving at the ball with the damning voices of her stepsisters in her ear. At any moment the powers that be will identify me as an imposter and turn me away. I’m sure of it. I’m waiting for that moment of humiliation, and yet nothing happens. Or nothing bad anyway. The doormen, wearing overcoats and top hats, hold open the enormous doors. One of them, in his practiced English, offers to carry my bag.
Excerpted from DRAGONFLY GIRL by Marti Leimbach, on sale February 23, 2021. Copyright © 2021 Marti Leimbach. Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins Children’s Books.
By: Marti Leimbach
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 23rd, 2021
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