Jane Eyre meets Twilight in Dark Companion, a lush and romantic Gothic YA debut by Latina author Marta Acosta—now in trade paperback
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress's gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
The more she learns about Birch Grove's recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the previous scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien's brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?
As Jane begins to piece together the answers to these puzzles, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….
|My beloved Betty in her final days.|
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that I wrote Maddie as an individual with issues, including physical twitches and fixations, that make her an outsider. She says, “Don’t label me. Labels make others feel free to tell me what I should think, feel, do, and say, when my life is none of anyone else’s goddamn business."
I shared with James my concern that if I described Maddie has having Asperger's others would judge the character by their strict definition of the syndrome, which goes against the fictional character's sense of herself and also my own ideas about individuality and being an outsider.
Well, being a misfit who struggles with the desire for acceptance/home and the inability to be anything other than oneself is a theme that runs through my books and my life.
Maddie always says and does the wrong thing with other people. But she can communicate with animals on a level beyond all the complexity and subtext of human interactions. I hope readers will come to appreciate Maddie for who she is.