Today is the official release day of Horizon, the third and final book in the Above World trilogy. I’d like to follow tradition and share with you the book’s dedication and acknowledgements. (I’d also like to tell you why this book is special to me and why it means so much to me to have a trilogy, but that will have to wait until I’m done traveling this month.)
Here it is in regular text:
And for my first D&D friends —
Carolyn, Eddie, John, Michael, and Rick E. —
who were there when I fell in love with adventuring in the first place.
(There should be a “Ken” in there, too. Ken played with us the first year and then his family moved, but he was there when it all started. “Rick E.” wasn’t in our group — he had his own — but based on the hours we spent discussing elves, I couldn’t leave him off.)
Oh, the stories I could tell about our epic adventures! All the M&Ms consumed in basements, all the wandering monsters, all the dice bought and rolled and cursed, all the nights we broke our curfews… Such good memories, and such important ones.
And as for the first part of that dedication, that includes all of you reading this right now, too.
The Above World Team really came through for me on this book. Thanks to Stephanie Burgis for her amazing pep talks and advice, to Chris East for his love of spies and Upgraders, and to Deborah Coates, Sarah Prineas, and Greg van Eekhout for their continued support and friendship. Christine Ashworth, Sally Felt, Yvonne Jocks, and Anne Nesbet were always ready with virtual cupcakes and confetti. Thanks to the Blue Heaven crew, led by the inestimable C.C. Finlay, and to the incredibly supportive middle grade and young adult authors in Los Angeles who spend all their evenings at one another’s book events.
My editor, Sarah Ketchersid, helped me make this the book of my dreams with her perfect blend of kindness, savvy, and creative inspiration. Our partnership has been one of the best parts of this whole process. I treasure the entire Candlewick team, including: Melanie Cordova, Erika Denn, Tracy Miracle, Hilary Van Dusen, Andrea Tompa, Rachel Smith, Katie Ring, Hannah Mahoney, and the hard-working sales and marketing team.
Thanks to Joe Monti, my agent, for countless things, but especially for wanting Hoku to get an upgrade; to Patricia Ready for running everything with style an humor; and to Barry Goldblatt for bringing the agency together in the first place.
Thanks to Kate Rudd for her riveting narration on the audiobooks and to Alexander Jansson for his gorgeous cover art.
Big thanks, too, to the great local bookstores who’ve welcomed and supported me: Children’s Book World, Curious Cup, Flintridge Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s, Mrs. Nelson’s Toys and Books, Mysterious Galaxy, and Once Upon A Time Bookstore, among others.
And last of all, I want to thank a few of the readers who’ve taken the time to share their enthusiasm (and sometimes even their fan art) with me: Federico, Sophie, Jillian, Ethan, The Maud, Samantha, Shelby, Rihanna, the Munoz family, Claudia, friends both near and far, and whole hordes of book bloggers. Your passion has meant so much to me.
And the last line, which makes me all choked up to say out loud because it’s so, so true:
I treasure this journey with all my heart and am grateful that I didn’t have to make it alone.