The Sharp Time by Mary O' ConnellPublisher: Delacorte Press.Release date: November 8th 2011.Ages: 14+
Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.
Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.
When my editor emailed me the cover of The Sharp Time, I screamed. I was doing the standard sort of mom multi-tasking, making dinner and checking email, my laptop on the kitchen counter next to the cutting board. I was chopping carrots (I know: A glamorous evening!) and it’s lucky that I didn’t hack off a finger when I clicked open The Sharp Time jpeg. There she was! I recognized her immediately, though of course I’d never seen her before: Sandinista Jones. Somehow the cover artist, Angela Carlino, had captured the spirit of the book in the cover she’d created from a resonant photograph (taken by Metin Demiralay) of a girl looking through a window. The girl looked beautiful and vulnerable at first glance, but her reflection in the window showed something more: Shadows beneath her eyes. Disbelief and Fatigue. Anger. Whatever situation she was looking at, well, she could hardly believe her eyes. But she wasn’t looking away. This was the very essence of the girl I wrote.
I forwarded it to my agent, who said it best: It looks just like her.
Now I suppose I’ve grown used to it: the pink-gold light that emanates from the cover, the contrasting burgundy of the spine and back cover, the now-familiar girl looking out the window, watching and waiting. I saw the first ARC months ago and the cover is posted on my Facebook page and my Twitter account and Goodreads and Amazon….the image is part of my day.
But I’ve not forgotten the happiness of that day in the kitchen, my thrilled gratitude that someone had interpreted by book—bringing their own vision and artistry to The Sharp Time—in such an amazing way.
So for all you writers working away on your novels this November, I wish you joy in the process, good luck with publication, and a cover artist as intuitive and fantastic as Angela Carlino. And I hope you scream in your kitchen.
Thanks to Mary for the great guest post. I love the cover of The Sharp Time, and I'm looking forwared to reading the book soon.