KIANA KRYSTLE at Books Inc. Chestnut

Author images of Kiana Krystle and Alaa Al-Barkawi and cover photo of the book Dance of the Starlit Sea

Join debut author Kiana Krystle at Books Inc. Chestnut for a lively conversation about her new book DANCE OF THE STARLIT SEA with fellow writer Alaa Al-Barkawi!

“Hades and Persephone” meets Phantom of the Opera by way of Laini Taylor, in a sensually rendered world that seethes with intrigue and indulges the senses. Welcome to Luna Island.

Violet, magenta, deep blood red. 
Passion, violence, destruction.

Lila Rose Li arrives at her aunt’s cottage with dashed dreams. For years, she pushed herself to become the perfect ballerina her parents would approve of, but after collapsing on stage, she snapped and lashed out violently. Now, exiled to Luna Island, with its sparkling blue waters and rose-covered boutiques, Lila struggles to believe that a girl like her—a natural disaster—deserves good and gentle things. 

As the islanders gear up for their beloved tradition, the Angel of the Sea pageant, Lila vows to remain on the sidelines. But the more she learns about the island’s lore, the more she grows suspicious. Luna Island was nothing more than a failed fishing village before angels supposedly came and blessed them with abundance. The pageant is a competition to seek a High Priestess for their commune. To win is to be loved and adored by all, the ultimate blessing. 

However, the Angel of the Sea is supposed to reign for seven years, and the previous winner only reigned for one. Something is haunting the island, throwing off the balance the pageant ensures. And as an eerie voice calls to Lila, drawing her closer to the ocean—to its depths—she worries its haunting her, too. The only way to discover what’s really going on, and protect herself, is to win the pageant. But how can a monstrous girl like her ever hope to be crowned by angels? 

Kiana Krystle's enchanting debut simmers with forbidden romance and dark secrets. A lush and sinister blend of paranormal mystery and mythology, wrapped up in fairytale about a teen girl's hard-earned journey toward loving every part of herself.


"A vibrant debut, Dance of the Starlit Sea sparkles with its lyrical prose and vivid imagery." —Catherine Bakewell, author of Flowerheart

"Dance of the Starlit Sea is a shimmering debut. The devious lore, exquisite world-building, and stunning imagery had my eyes leaping across the page." —Angela Montoya, author of Sinner’s Isle


Kiana Krystle is a proud third generation Asian American, born and raised in California. She got her start in publishing as an editorial intern at Flux Books and Jolly Fish Press, and continued her growth as a fellow at BookEnds Literary. Through her writing, Kiana hopes to inspire and empower readers to embrace their true authentic selves and seek magic in their everyday lives. Dance of the Starlit Sea is her debut novel. Stay up to date with Kiana on social media at @kiana_krystle.

Alaa Al-Barkawi is a first-generation, Iraqi-American Shia Muslim writer. Alaa’s novels center around messy Iraqi characters navigating complicated family dynamics, Shia faith, weighty responsibilities, and culture. While her stories mostly take place in contemporary worlds, she infuses speculative twists with unexpected narrators inspired by Iraqi heritage and Islamic elements. Her young adult debut novel, IN THE COUNTRY I LOVE, will be published in Summer 2026 by Peachtree Teen.

Event date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2024 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Chestnut
2251 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123
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Dance of the Starlit Sea By Kiana Krystle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682634653
Availability: Coming Soon - AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Published: Peachtree Teen - August 6th, 2024