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Sea of Strangers
(The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
By Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Know your enemy if you want to survive…
The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.
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Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.
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Every author has an agenda when they’re creating a book. Sometimes it’s as deceptively simple as “tell an entertaining story,” and sometimes it’s as gruelingly complex as “expose a dangerously vile aspect of modern society,” but it’s still an agenda. Often, there isn’t just one, and some authors have agendas or messages they thread through every book they write, even if they’re unconnected to each other.
For me, that thread is asexuality.
I grew up knowing I saw the world differently than everyone else, but not really understanding how deep that went. How could I understand that when I had no reflections of myself to help me? The first time I ever heard the term asexual was in biology class, and that was only in relation to the reproduction of amoebas. No one ever introduced me to asexuality as an orientation, and nothing I read or watched hinted at the possibility, either. I was raised in a liberal community, and I knew growing up that it was okay to want a relationship with anyone of any gender. There was never anyone who said it was okay to want no one. The lack left me stumbling through life trying to figure myself out by trial and error. It left me floundering in relationships because I couldn’t understand my own lack of desire.
Asexuality is categorized by a lack of sexual attraction to other people regardless of gender, aesthetics, personality, or other characteristics. Like all other orientations, asexuality isn’t defined by the type or frequency of sex someone has but by their physical, sexual, and psychological attraction to another person. Someone who is asexual does not feel sexual attraction to anyone no matter what. Gray-asexuals very rarely do. Demisexuals may feel attraction to some people, but only after they form an emotional bond or attachment. It’s more complex than that, of course, but those are the basics. I go into more detail in the Queership column Coming Up Aces as well as in several essays posted on my blog.
Proper representation can help the next generation avoid the uncertainty, confusion, and self-recrimination that I went through. This is why I put at least one asexual-spectrum character in each of my series and make a point of declaring their orientation on the page. If readers encounter the term and meet characters who fall somewhere on the spectrum, they’ll bring that awareness with them into their lives. Maybe it will resonate with them. Maybe the characters will remind them of a friend of theirs or a sibling. Maybe their basic understanding of asexuality won’t come into play at all until they meet someone later in their lives. Whatever the case, it is my hope that representation in fiction will cause a ripple effect that spreads a lot farther than the world of books, and that is why there is definitely one message you’ll find in all of my books:
I am asexual, and we exist.
Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**
* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers
* A $20 Visa gift card
* A swag pack
**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card
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