Taylor Lips Touch: Three Times Arthur A. Levine Books,
an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.
Video from the 2009 National
Book Awards Finalist Reading
Jim Di Bartolo, Illustrator
With three fantastical, richly
layered tales about the terrible and wonderful power
of yearning, master storyteller Laini Taylor steals
the reader’s breath as deftly as the most skilled
lover. Lips Touch pulses with vivid imagery
yet remains economical in its world-building, its unpredictable
plot-spinning, and its compassionate characterization.
Taylor draws from multiple literary and historical sources
to spin a wholly original and unforgettable reading
enchantment that is nothing short of a tour de force.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A girl who’s always been
in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably
attractive new boy at school. Another girl grows up
mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive
spirit. And a third girl discovers that the real reason
for her transient life with her mother has to do with
belonging to another world entirely. These are three
distinct stories but all center on the deliciousness
of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is the author of the Dreamdark books: Blackbringer,
which Kirkus said, “belongs at the top
of everyone’s fantasy must-read list,” and
its sequel, Silksinger, called "series
fantasy at its best" by School Library Journal.
In a starred review of Lips Touch: Three Times,
her first book for teens, Publishers Weekly
said “Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves
absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work.”
She lives with her husband, Jim Di Bartolo, and their
newborn daughter, Clementine Pie, in Portland, Oregon.
Jim Di Bartolo
has worked as a freelance illustrator on books, comic
books, and role-playing games, and has collaborated
on several projects with his wife, Laini Taylor. Their
latest collaboration has been their brand-new baby daughter
They went through the cemetery
gate, arm in arm in their antique clothing, and it
was then that the ghosts, all of a sudden and with
only a flitter of grass blades for a warning, hit
Kizzy like a maelstrom.
Her skirt flared and twisted
itself tight to her legs as a rush of cold wind swept
around her. It circled deasil, thrice, just like her
grandmother’s ghost had done the day of her
burial. But Kizzy felt a whole swelling of ghosts
around her this time, a tide; her grandmother might
have been there, but she wasn’t alone. Kizzy
froze in mid-step, chilled and startled, and looked
up at Jack Husk. For a second some look passed through
his sly eyes, some intelligence . . . a hint of a
sneer? And Kizzy almost thought he knew the sudden
wind for what it was: an onslaught of ghosts. Had
they swept around her only, she wondered now, or around
them both? Had they included Jack Husk in their circle
of protection? Or had they wound up Kizzy alone? Had
that wind tried to slide between them, like a wall?
“Brrr . . .”
he said, shivering slightly. To Kizzy’s dismay,
he unhooked his arm from hers, but then he settled
it around her shoulder, drawing her neatly against
his side, and her dismay evaporated, along with any
question she’d had about his awareness of rampant
ghosts. “Cold wind,” he said simply.
“Mm hm,” Kizzy
agreed. The velvet of his jacket was now snug against
her cheek, and there was very little room to think
of anything else but the feel of it, and of the way
she’d caught him looking at her lips, and what
that might mean.
As they walked through the
cemetery, tucked together, she heard words as she
used to when she came here as a child, snippets of
speech as murky as gutter water draining through a
clog of leaves. “The wintermen are gleaning,”
said one, and another intoned “butterfly,”
and “hungry.” “Stove burning,”
said a flat voice, and then suddenly, a familiar voice
Kizzy’s eyes went wide
and she looked around and over her shoulder, inadvertently
nuzzling Jack Husk’s hand with her chin. Despite
that smooth jolt of a touch, she had the wherewithal
to realize she’d left her grandmother’s
knife in her jeans pocket. All the years of wanting
it and she’d left it behind! She wanted to ask
her grandmother what she was doing here. She should
be far away by now, navigating labyrinths, fending
off shadows, lapping water from stalactite tips with
her ghostly tongue, and answering riddles to win passage
through gates made of bones. She should be singing
beasts to sleep with lullabies and bribing otherworldly
coyotes to smuggle her deeper into her new world.
She shouldn’t be here, among these
fainthearted cemetery ghosts! This eternal loitering
wasn’t for Kizzy’s folk, least of all
her grandmother, her strong, untemptable grandmother.
Kizzy wanted to ask her — but she was warm against
Jack Husk’s side and didn’t want to step
away from him to whisper her question to the dead.