Welome to the blog tour for Becoming Jinn, the start of Lori Goldstein's new contemporary fantasy series. Here's the official word on the book:
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.
To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.
Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all.
Lori's here to share her favourite passages from the book with us. Take it away, Lori!
Three Favorite Passages
Thanks so much for hosting me and featuring these excerpts from Becoming Jinn! While you asked for my three favorite passages, I have to clarify that these are my three favorite “non-spoilery” passages! As I flipped through the book to find excerpts, I kept having to go “no,” “nuh-uh,” and “no way!” There a lots of threads that build throughout the novel, and I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t impact a reader’s experience by hinting at them before the reader would arrive there. If you are like me and *hate* knowing anything about a book or movie before you read or watch (seriously, I cover my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears during trailers), then you can safely read these three passages, which all represent something Azra loves but can’t have because of being Jinn.
I hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about Becoming Jinn!
Excerpt 1: The Afrit, the powerful council that rules over the Jinn world, has instituted increasingly harsh restrictions, something Azra believes bothers her more than it does her mother and “Zar” sisters, including Laila, her best Jinn friend.
Laila places her arm around my shoulder. “Come on, Az, the Zar sisterhood is tradition. We have to stick together.”
“Indeed.” Samara grabs my mother’s hand and twirls her around. “Look at us. Don’t doubt what the Zar bond can give you. After all, we’re all we’ve got.”
That’s not true. The locket with the photo of Laila’s father proves it.
“Here,” I say. “We’re all we’ve got here.”
Silence. Complete silence. We don’t talk about this. We don’t talk about how, for the past fifteen years, the Afrit have forbid all but us mothers and daughters from living among humans. We don’t mention how it feels to be separated from the rest of our families and every other Jinn who isn’t integral to granting wishes. We don’t waste a single breath discussing what this means for my generation of Jinn, the first to never know our fathers, our grandfathers, our grandmothers, to live under the harshest reforms, to be subject to the whims of the Afrit.
For centuries, granting wishes has formed the core of our society and taken precedence above all else.
Excerpt 2: This scene comes after Azra has received her powers and been overloaded by all that it means to become a Jinn. Here we find her at the beach where she’s about to begin her summer job working at the snack bar.
With time before my shift begins, I follow the arched wooden path over the dunes. I sweep my fingertips along the tall grass that rustles on either side, feeling the air crisp with each step. When I arrive at the last plank, I kick off my sneakers. It’s low tide. The beach spreads out before me, empty, quiet, calm. This is my favorite time of day in my favorite place.
If it were up to me, we’d open our front door to this. But the location of our home, like so much else, is not up to me. My mother says a flashy house at the beach would raise more questions than it’s worth. Draw too much attention—the worst thing for a Jinn. Funny, I gather the attention my mother garners by being drop-dead gorgeous has yet to cause a problem.
Excerpt 3: This last excerpt features Azra and her human friend, Henry, at the beach, sharing a moment where they each remember Jenny, Henry’s sister and Arza’s best friend who died when she and Azra, who shared the same birthday, were nine.
My heart pummels my chest. Henry and I don’t talk about Jenny. We don’t need to. We both understand how absence can define one’s presence.
I always thought my mother was the lucky one for having memories of my father, of my grandparents, of what life was like before. Maybe she was right not to call them up, not to share them, because, is it possible my memories of Jenny, Henry’s memories of Jenny, make it worse? Harder for us to move on?
All this time, Henry’s been blaming himself. I’ve been blaming magic. He tried to latch on to me. But I pushed him away. Pushed Laila, my Zar sisters, my mother, pushed them all away. I thought being Jinn was holding me back from friends, from love, from family. But it wasn’t being Jinn. It was me. Just me.
Together on our rocky perch, our arms encircle not just each other but secrets—shared secrets and shared burdens. They will always be between us. For better and for worse.
Want to win the bangle featured on the cover of Becoming Jinn? Simply leave a comment with a wish that you'd want granted. A winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday, April 23. (U.S. only -- sorry, everyone else!) (contest closed)
(Psst! There's also a grand prize raffle at the end of the blog tour for some finished copies of the book!)