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Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it's sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn t pay much attention to them . . . until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel's makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship and a forbidden romance. Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is right in the path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke. Laura McNeal has crafted a beautiful and haunting novel full of peril, desperation, and love.
About the Author
Laura Rhoton McNeal holds a master s degree in fiction writing from Syracuse University. She taught middle school and high school English before becoming a novelist and journalist. Together, Laura and her husband, Tom McNeal, are the authors of Crooked, winner of the California Book Award for Juvenile Literature and an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults; Zipped, winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Children s Literature; Crushed (called compelling by Publishers Weekly); and The Decoding of Lana Morris, a Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year. The McNeals live in Southern California with their two sons, Sam and Hank. To learn more, please visit the authors Web site at www.mcnealbooks.com.
Eileen Stevens is a voice-over actress living and working in New York City. Her voice can be heard on cartoons, promos, English as a Second Language programs, and audiobooks. She currently is the voice of Iris on "Pokemon "and a frequent audiobook narrator. In addition, she s directed and produced audiobooks for over six years. Stevens is also a graduate student in speech language pathology at Hunter College.