"An engaging read...full of drama."
—School Library Journal
“Eden will lure readers with her willful refusal to allow poverty and hardship to define or limit her.” —Publishers Weekly
The Possibility of Somewhere
By Julia Day
In her contemporary YA debut, THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE (St. Martin’s Griffin; September 6, 2016), Julia Day uses Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to frame a sweet story about two overachieving high school students who want more than their small hometown has to offer. Ash and Eden are fighting their parents’ expectations, their school social status, and each other for the valedictorian spot, but when they are forced to work on a class project together – something seems to change.
Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?
All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college– and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks… When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream – one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?
With a cast of characters that feel very real, from an autistic four-year-old boy Eden babysits to the new girl in school who shakes things up, THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE is a look back into the awkward period in high school when the future is in transit. A touching back to school read about first relationships, Day’s contemporary YA debut will have you falling in love.
This story is about two people from two different worlds. What appeals to you about such a story?
During the Olympics, Apple had this gorgeous commercial that showed images of people from all over the world. In voiceover, Maya Angelou is heard saying: We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
That is what appeals to me about a story like The Possibility of Somewhere. I think that when we get busy, it’s easy to see another person acting up and write them off as having bad intentions. But once we get to know them, to really listen to them, to learn about the world through their eyes, we find so much in common. With Ash and Eden, they’ve had years to grudgingly respect each other’s intelligence while making wrong assumptions about motivations. And once that gets ripped away, they see so much to admire. It’s a sweetly liberating discovery.
There's an education gets you places theme in this book and as a teacher that makes me all kinds of happy. What was your reason for focusing on that?
It was my truth. I was raised in a poor region of the South. The jobs were mostly in agriculture or manufacturing. I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted, and I recognized early that education was my ticket out. Fortunately, my family gave me great role models. My great-grandmother worked on her PhD. Both of my grandmothers and both of my parents had college degrees.
Eden’s subplot about getting an education and finding financial aid was something I lived. The big difference, though, was that my family supported me all the way.
Great characters are more than what we read on the page. How did you develop your characters?
One of the first things that I do is “interview” the characters. I want to know their goals in life as well as the defining moments that shaped them. Sometimes, the answers appear in the book—such as Eden being abandoned by her mother. Ash’s defining moments don’t show up explicitly, but his goals do.
Next comes research. I collect way more information than I will ever use. Eden’s escape from town—via college—was the backbone of the story, so I pursued that first. Since my daughters were in high school while I was writing TPOS, I was able to mine the experiences of their friends for plot twists.
Because I’ve never been a teenaged boy or the child of an immigrant, I had a harder time researching Ash. I talked with Indian colleagues, consumed novels by Indian authors, and scoured the Internet for blogs about the Indian-American community. Once I’d begun to understand the culture that nurtured him, I had a better idea how he would handle his reactions to a girl like Eden.
About the Author
JULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two twenty-something daughters and one geeky old husband. When she's not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling with her family, watching dance reality shows on TV, and dreaming about which restaurant ought to get her business that night.