Consuela slipped a second finger alongside the first, parting the skin at the back of her skull easily… Her fingers broke through, melting a line of cool heat down her back. Her body opened like the seam of a sandwich bag.
She felt the cold kiss of air on her naked spine.
Almost without thinking, Consuela slipped her skin over her head like a sweater. She pulled her arms out of their long gloves and stepped gently out of the warm, wet suit left puddled at the bottom of the bathtub. Keeping her eyes on her feet, Consuela stared at the collection of thin, tiny bones suspended in a sort of liquid shadow holding them together, surreal against the peach bath mat. She looked up into the full-length mirror and saw herself.
Consuela was a skeleton.
And so begins the dark, often disturbing, and frequently glorious odyssey of Consuela Chavez, high school good girl who finds she has the power to shed her human skin and don others—skins crafted of water, air, feathers, even fire. It all happens after she enters the Flow, the reality-bending world stretched over our own where she and other bizarrely-talented young adults act as guardian angels. When those in the Flow turn up murdered one-by-one, it’s up to Consuela, aka Bones, to stop the killer and save this new world in which she’s discovered her true and elemental self.
It’s all courtesy of the untamed imagination of author Dawn Metcalf in her stunning debut novel for young adults, Luminous (Dutton, 2011). In my July children's market column for Authorlink.com, Metcalf shares how she crafted and sold her opus, a startlingly original tale that haunts long after the last page has been read. Be sure to check out her website, too, at www.DawnMetcalf.com.
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