When Ava dances in the rain, nature dances with her—fallen leaves and shimmering petals swirl around her in a tornado of color, as if the Earth is lending out its crown jewels to adorn a favorite princess. Ava belongs to the ancient Order of Gaia—a secret group created by those with superhuman abilities to safeguard the vitality of the natural world. Now, another secret group, the Order of Ares, is methodically hunting down and killing the Gaia.
Isolated from the conflict and lulled by the halcyon setting of her rural Massachusetts town, Ava is content to use her powers to frolic with the local fauna and compel her teachers to recycle, until a new boy wearing the tattoo of the Ares arrives at her high school. With a pair of wickedly slanting cheekbones, a silent hurt in his blue eyes, and the Ares’ ability to control his own and others’ pheromones, Lucas is a one man siren song, pulling Ava inexorably towards him. No hapless schoolgirl to be so easily ensnared, Ava responds to the beautiful boy’s attention with un-tempered ferocity, especially after he appears to casually crush a spider in front of her. But Ava catches Lucas carefully releasing the spider outdoors. Then, after rescuing Lucas from a late night bar fight, she glances up from tending to his wounds to find a look of such trust in his eyes that it leaves her struggling to breathe. Ava must decide: are these moments of intimacy artfully contrived steps in a plan to lure her into betraying her people or can she actually work with Lucas to bring about a rapprochement between the warring orders?
About the Author:
Dismayed at literature’s lack of strong female role models, Grace Nosek decided to create her own. Nosek wrote and published the young adult novel Ava of the Gaia, featuring “a strong female lead and an environmental twist.” Her passion for the natural world began at a young age when she would rescue worms and snails from certain death on the sidewalk.
Grace was recently featured in Business Insider as one of the most impressive students at Harvard Law School. In addition to traditional legal advocacy, Grace has created a stop motion film on food waste in America. Grace also works for MTV’s The Buried Life, a show that follows four guys on a mission to tackle their bucket list and encourage others to follow their dreams. Check her out!
9 Questions for Grace Nosek:
1) Can you describe your book in 30 words or less?
Ava Fae delights in the appearance of an alluring new boy at her high school, until she sees the dagger tattoo on the inside of his wrist. She knows that tattoo, and it can mean only one thing—either she or the new boy will be dead by the end of the school year.
2) Who is your intended audience and why should they read this book?
It always cracked me up as a kid playing boardgames when the boxes would say something like: “for ages 8 to 99.” What happens when you turn 100? I hope that people of all ages can read the book and enjoy it. But I did write it especially with young women in mind.
3) Tell us about the cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
The cover art was done by Sarah Carolan. She’s an amazing graphic designer based out of New York. I wanted an image that would be simple but evocative and that’s exactly what Sarah created. I also love how colorful the cover is, because as the novel is in many ways an ode to the natural world, color pervades the book.
4) Who is your favorite character from the book and why?
My favorite character is Ava because I’ve been looking for a strong, intelligent, empathetic female protagonist in my YA novels for a long time. Having found a dearth of such characters, I felt compelled to create my own. However, some of the animals featured in Ava steal the spotlight from their human counterparts–if you’re an animal lover you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this book.
5) Of course I’m asking next…who is your least favorite character? Why is this person less likable?
Hmmm…if I told you that, it might ruin the ending of the novel. But suffice it to say my least favorite character has a charming facade that hides malice underneath.
6) What other books/series would you categorize yours with? In other words, what other books/series are similar to your own?
For me, it’s more useful to compare my protagonist to others. I think Ava’s physical prowess is similar to Katniss’ from The Hunger Games series. She also reminds me of many of the women in Tamora Pierce’s novels. Ava also shares the quick wit and kind heart of one of my personal favorite characters from literature–Hermione Granger.
7) What can we expect from you in the future?
Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Ava, as well as several other creative projects.
8) How can readers contact you or find out more about your book?
Readers can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9) Lastly, how about a little excerpt to tantalize us?
Still a little breathless from the night’s adventures, and from the smoldering kiss Lucas had left her with before dashing off into the woods, Ava wasn’t paying her usual careful attention to the environment around her. Just as she was stepping out into the clearing next to her farmhouse, she felt it. The total silence of the woods. Someone was there in the clearing with her. Someone who must be very powerful indeed to have circumvented all of the supernatural protection surrounding the house. She stepped quickly back into the protection of the woods, mind churning, and focused on the trees around her. She could channel the power of the great cats to see in the dark and began to intently scan the expanse of forest around her. Although the night air was cool, sweat dripped steadily down her back.
And then, suddenly, the slightest noise drew Ava’s attention upwards. A dark shape was dropping quickly, straight down towards her. Ava’s body hit the ground with a thud, but as she landed she was already trying to roll over on top of the person or thing that had dived down upon her. Unfortunately the person, for she had discerned that it was indeed a person, just rolled with her. Ava’s heart beat wildly, adrenaline and the energy of the soil—enhanced here, in her sacred homestead—coursed through her veins. Her attacker had grabbed her arms while they were rolling, and they were now locked in a deadly and unmoving embrace. But Ava had the misfortune of being stuck on her back, helpless against the ground. Ava cursed herself for leaving her hair down—the only feminine trick she had allowed herself to use to attract Lucas—for it was now massed in front of her face, making it impossible for her to see her attacker.
She couldn’t think why the trees weren’t lashing out at this imposter; maybe they were afraid that they might hit Ava instead. The pressure on Ava’s arms was increasing, and she had no doubt that if she slackened her grip on her attacker that he or she would soon have a death grip on her neck. Shrieking with rage, she pushed herself slightly off the ground and rolled, slamming her opponent down into the ground as hard as she could. As she left the ground to do her deadly combat she reached out to the soil, willing that it become as hard as stone, something that would come as a nasty surprise to the attacker when he landed on it. The move would have left any normal human unconscious, if not dead, but it seemed only to temporarily stun Ava’s dogged attacker. But it gave her enough time to shake herself loose from the iron grip of her mysterious hit man and to leap backwards into a fighting crouch. As she leapt, Ava whipped the rubber band off of her wrist, caught her curly hair up into a mass, and looped it into a bun impossibly quickly, knowing that she would be the laughing stock of every Gaia in the world if they had seen her do this. If she lived through this, Ava promised that she would never let her vanity get in the way of her survival again.