Abra Miller carries a secret and a responsibility she never expected. Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller’s life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile . . . like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.
Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman—who looks exactly like a ghost from her past—compels her to travel to New Orleans where she’ll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she’s not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There’s also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust.
She’s also starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.
FROM THE PROLOGUE
By Shawn Smucker
(used by permission)
ABRA COULD ALMOST FEEL THE RAIN, even though it was only a dream. She was surrounded by leaves and branches. The drops clattered down through them, all around her. That’s when she realized she was up in a tree, up in its highest branches, and immediately she was afraid. She clung to the branch she was on, a branch much too thin to hold her. It broke, and she fell. She grabbed for anything she could hold on to, finding another thin branch. She dangled there, looking down between her feet at the ground far below.
She watched a huge wolf-like creature pick up a small girl in its jaws and toss her aside. She watched as a boy grabbed on to a small sword, cried out in pain before swinging it again and again. She watched as the sword found its mark and the huge animal listed to the side like a boat preparing to sink. When the creature fell, the boy collapsed.
She twisted and turned where she hung from the branch, wondering if the girl was okay. Wondering where she was. That’s when she saw a streak of light, and a man, or something in shape of a man, knelt beside the girl. He put his hands on her head and closed his eyes, and Abra knew, in the way that you can know something in a dream, that the man was bringing the girl back to life. Or calling her back from wherever it was her soul was heading.
Suddenly she could hear through the girl’s ears. She was still dangling there in the air; she was still feeling the soft patter of rain on her head and bare arms, the drops tickling her face; she could still feel the thin branch slipping ever so slowly from her grasp. But for some reason her hearing was now the girl’s hearing, and she heard the man whisper.
“Abra, this is very important. I have a few things I need to tell you . . .”
But as the Abra hanging from the tree realized the girl on the ground was her, and as she thought she was going to hear something very important, her fingers slipped from the branch.
I should have hit the ground by now, she thought. She looked down. The ground was rushing at her, and she caught her breath.
Praise for The Edge of Over There:
“Blending Biblical elements and urban myths, Smucker creates an enthralling story of supernatural battles between the forces of good and evil.” — Publishers Weekly
“The Edge of Over There is a mesmerizing, menacing fantasy. Shawn Smucker fuses New Orleans lore, Christian themes, and dystopian landscapes in a thorough exploration of love and its unintended results.” — Foreword Reviews (Starred Review)