What's Fresh with Allison van Diepen's Raven!
Zin dances with fire in every step, speaks in a honey-sweet voice, and sees with eyes that can peer into your soul. Nicole's friendship with him is the only thing that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. It's no wonder she is madly in love with him. But she can't understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers.
Zin is like no man Nicole has ever met, and he carries with him a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.
Hello Allison, it's so awesome to have you back on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel, RAVEN.
Allison: My new book, RAVEN, is published by Simon Pulse, and was released on Feb. 10, 2009. RAVEN is the story of Nicole, a teen who works underage at a New York City dance club. Nicole is madly in love with Zin, the head of her breakdancing crew, a gorgeous guy with a mysterious past. Nicole believes that she and Zin are like magnet and metal -- destined to be together. But Zin has a very good reason for keeping his distance...
I'm intrigued already! Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?
Allison: Nicole is a passionate person -- whether that passion is for breakdancing, or for her crush, Zin. She is fiercely devoted to her loved ones, including her meth-addicted brother, and only wishes she were powerful enough to work miracles.
How did the idea for this novel come about?
Allison: A psychic friend told me she once saw a homeless person who was possessed. She said that addiction can pierce a hole in a person's soul, which makes them vulnerable to spirits who might want to prey on their weakness. Somehow, the idea resonated with me.
More personally, I know what it's like to care for someone who is self-destructive, and to be powerless to help the person. I know the toll it takes on a family. So it wasn't hard to write about Nicole's difficult family situation.
Lastly, being rather philosophical by nature, I often wonder why we’re all on this earth, and what life after death will be like, if there is such a thing…
Wow, Allison, I agree, there are so many questions... What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
Allison: I hope, first and foremost, that they are entertained -- that they fall in love with Zin as much as I have, and that they care about the relationship between Nicole and Zin. I'd also like them to look at their own lives, at those painful situations they can't change, and find a way to move forward.
Thanks for sharing, Allison. I'm so snagging my copy this weekend! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?
Allison: I got an advance copy of EYES LIKE STARS, Lisa Mantchev's debut novel due out in July, and I loved it! I've never read anything like it. The main character, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, had me cheering from the first page!
Allison van Diepen began her teaching career in Brooklyn and now teaches at an alternative high school in Ottawa, Canada. Her first novel, STREET PHARM, has been named an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. She is also the author of SNITCH and the newly released RAVEN. Visit her website, www.allisonvandiepen.com.