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Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu has a new book coming out called The Lost Girl. What’s it about?

When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.

When fifth grade arrives, however, it is decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both. Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace. As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

We’ll take a look at the cover in a second, but first I wanted to talk with Anne about it.

Travis: What drew you to the idea of having your main characters be identical twins?

Anne Ursu: I’ve been really interested in the way that our culture prizes individualism over community, and at the way these narratives can be hugely dysfunctional. Writing about girl identical twins seemed an interesting way to examine the limits of that narrative.

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Plus I could make Parent Trap references, which is always fun.

Travis: What was the biggest challenge in writing The Lost Girl? What was the biggest joy?

Anne: I had all of these disparate plot elements when I started the book—a mystical antique shop, an after school girl-power club called Camp Awesome, these identical twins who grew up supporting each other separated in school for the first time. These elements kept insisting they did fit together but wouldn’t tell me how, which was incredibly annoying of them. So I had to figure it out myself, which was a process that took many drafts. But that challenge led to the biggest joy, which is the moment when it all does come together.

Travis: What’s the most powerful feeling for you when a new book comes out? Relief? Fear? Pride? Hopefulness? I could keep going . . .

Anne: Yes! All of that. It’s absolutely terrifying, and there’s part of me that wants to hide under the bed for a good year. But the best thing about writing for young readers is that if you do make it out from under the bed you get to go meet a group of kids who are clutching your book to their chests and then you remember that this whole thing isn’t about you at all.

Travis: Possibly the most important question (of all time): What snack puts you in peak creativity mode?

Anne: I feel it would be unfair to snacks to pick just one here, but for much of the writing process for this book my keyboard had a fine sheen of Sun Chip dust, and my desk was littered with Tootsie Pop wrappers. My blood also runs thick with Diet Dr. Pepper when I’m writing.

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Thanks for the chat, Anne!

And now, for the first time, the cover for The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu, which comes out on February 12, 2019. It’s Illustrated by Erin McGuire and designed by Sarah Kaufmann:

(click to enlarge)

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Playing this while you look at the cover makes the experience even better:

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Mike Jung says:

    This is hands-down the best news of the day. And the week. Probably the month, too. Quite possibly the whole year. LET’S GET SOME DONUTS, PEOPLE, I’M BUYING

  2. Great interview! It’s exciting to see the cover for The Lost Girl. I love that the plot elements were floating around, and then came together. There is a lot of joy in connecting ideas to create a story. Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy are amazing books, and I’m looking forward to reading The Lost Girl. Thanks for writing brilliant stories, Anne! You are a master of the craft. :) ~ Jess

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