MUCH ADO ABOUT THE ROCKET MAN: Tess is doing just fine.
Sure, she's currently working at a job so mind-numbing it is entirely possibly that nearly any animal from any given zoo could do it just as well, and sure, her boss is an idiot incapable of of problem solving, and fine, maybe majoring in theatre wasn't the greatest idea she's ever had now that she's graduated, and okay, it seems more and more every day that she will inevitably die alone, face-down in a bowl of oatmeal (provided she can afford such a gourmet food item at that time), but really and truly she's doing just fine.
She's doing more than fine. She's doing great.
She may be drowning in the worst production of "Much Ado About Nothing" that New York City has ever seen, but she has armed herself with a powerful tool: the music of Elton John as her own personal life anthem.
Everything's going to be okay.
After all, who would use Elton for evil?
BY THE SWORD OF MAGGIE MAY: Margaret Mayfield is having some life problems.
For starters, she majored in art in college. That was her first mistake. Now she works at The Modern Times Diner, a hellhole located in the heart of Times Square, known for its horrible yellow color scheme, crappy food, rude customers, and decidedly unmodern approach to the restaurant business. Her boyfriend Carl is currently drowning in his own life, overwhelmed by a wild night a year and nine months ago that left him confused, broke, and very much a father (of someone else's child). She also lives next to quite possibly the loudest and angriest couple in all of Manhattan, and is privy to their drunken arguments every Friday and Saturday night/morning. (But hey, who needs sleep anyway? Leonardo da Vinci certainly didn't.) It's all starting to be too much, especially when she learns that she came in absolute last place for the Young Artists of New York Grant Award. She needed that grant. That grant was going to get her out. She is very much not out. She is very much in (torment).
To put it simply: this was not (exactly) where she saw her life going (at all).
That's when the dreams start.
Something clicks in her mind. Do the dreams start as a result of being unhappy? Or is she that much unhappier because of the dreams? She can't quite figure out the order of it. Something in her mind is changing, shaping the world she sees when she closes her eyes. Her sleep is filled with a long, dark path stretching out into a twisted forest. She has to get to the end, she has to see what is there. It might be the answer. It might solve everything. It might fix what has become of her life. Each time she goes to sleep she presses forward. The path twists, the rain falls, and monsters creep out of the forest.
The dreams become too much, her mind can't hold them all. They spill over into her reality, mixing and blending with it until she can't tell which is which. She paints the path and the forest over and over again. She becomes frenzied. She becomes obsessed. Somewhere in her paintings is the key to it all. A katana is left behind a wall with her name on it. A strange blue eyed man chases her through her dreams, into reality, and back again. Who is he? What does he want?
She must find a way to bridge the two worlds, to fight her way to the end of the path. It's the only way to know where she really belongs. It's the only way to know who she really is. She's got to be ready. Change is a'coming.
But what exactly will she find? And is she strong enough to handle it?
ILLUSTRATIONS How can you not make art for a book about an artist becoming obsessed with her own art? (How many times can you use the word "art" in one sentence?)