Whether you loved this dreamy m/m YA fantasy as much as I did or haven’t gotten to it yet, you’re definitely going to want to snatch up a copy of Reverie by Ryan La Sala when it comes out in paperback on June 7th from Sourcebooks, because look at that cover! What cover, you ask? Why, the gorgeous one below! But first, the story:
A few weeks ago, Kane Montgomery was in an accident that robbed him of his memory. The only thing he knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. The world as he knows it feels different―reality seems different. And when strange things start happening around him, Kane isn’t sure where to turn.
And then three of his classmates show up, claiming to be his friends and the only people who can tell him what’s truly going on. Kane doesn’t know what to believe or who he can trust. But as he and the others are dragged into increasingly fantastical dream worlds drawn from imagination, it becomes clear that there is dark magic at work. Nothing in Kane’s life is an accident, and only he can keep the world itself from unraveling.
And here’s the gorgeous cover redesign, illustrated by Jonathan Bartlett and designed by Liz Dresner and Nicole Hower!
Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound | Indigo | Book Depository
But wait, there’s more! Ryan stopped by for a little chat about the book and its stunning new cover, so check it out!
This cover is gorgeous! What did you think when you first saw it?
Well, first I thought: “lksjdfslkjsdlfk,” and that’s a quote.
And then I thought “holy smokes, there he is!“
It’s beyond exciting to see Kane, the unlikely hero of Reverie, on the cover in all his reality-unraveling glory. I created Kane when I was a kid myself, and I looked up to him all throughout my teenage years. Finally I started writing down his adventures in High School.
Getting to see him — finally see him — on the cover of his own story feels like such a triumph. A triumph for me as his creator, but also a triumph for little gay boys who want to find a way to feel powerful beyond just your typical man-up-and-get-muscular-and-pick-up-a-sword story.
Kane wields a magic that reacts to his empathy and imagination. The fate of reality hangs upon his ability to balance the world as we know it against the many worlds of those who dream beyond our reality’s limits. He’s difficult and fascinating and so, so important to me. I’m so glad the artist did him justice.
What has the response to Reverie been like since its release in 2019?
In a word: dreamy.
In many more words: the response to Reverie has been a dream come true (pun intended). I use this phrase because I have always, always had huge dreams for this book despite many people telling me to temper my expectations. Reverie is not the kind of thing you’d expect to go mainstream. It’s super queer and very weird. It spins through many genres, things get surreal and even scary. Hell, the hero throws rainbow chaos magic and the villain is a drag queen
sorceress! But you know what? All of these ‘niche’ elements have just brought more readers into the pages of Reverie, and I’m thankful for every one of them. I love you all!
What’s also been interesting is the diversity in reactions. Most authors I know avoid reviews, but I revel in them–good, bad, or otherwise. I wrote Reverie to be reacted to, and to inspire people to write their own stories (out of inspiration, or even out of spite, which is how I got started writing Reverie in the first place). It’s been fun watching that take place in real time!
Unfortunately, as Reverie has risen in popularity, it’s also found the spotlights of people determined to ban queer books from school librarires. Right now, Reverie is on a list to be investigated for it’s ‘inappropriate’ and ‘potentially pornographic’ content. Anyone who has read Reverie knows this is a wild claim, but I actually don’t think the people who make these lists know how to read. Not very well, at least.
I’m not worried. Reverie will always be here for those that need refuge from an unkind reality. Our jobs (mine, as the author, and yours as the reader) is to stand by these books, defend them, and fight for their availability so that readers who need them, have them.
When it comes to characters, who has been the fan favorite in all the Reverie reactions?
Oh, easy. Ursula and Poesy, which is so interesting to me as the author because when I first concocted the idea of dream-unraveling, world-hopping heroes, Ursula and Poesy were the same person. In fact, they were sorta the main character — this hyperfeminine, dress-wearing force of nature that was as likely to wield a broadsword as they were to wear a ballgown. I think readers can tell how much joy I have writing them, which is why they get a lot of love.
What are you excited for as Reverie goes into paperback?
Can I be frank? Hardcover books are annoying. The dust jackets are pretty but my god do they make it hard to handle a book. I’m always worried about ruining them! So I tend to just let them sit on the shelf, which–don’t kill me–is no place for a book to be.
For me, books are companions, and all my favorite books are well-worn paperbacks that have been shoved into backpacks, suitcases, and *gulp* maybe even cargo pants once or twice. Reverie going into paperback means it’ll be even more available to join readers on their own journey, whether they’re reading it on the bus to school or late at night with a flashlight. I love that. I love knowing the book’s life is about to bloom again, and I can’t wait to welcome in all of those who have been searching for a story like this, a character like this, or a world like this. What I think when I imagine all of those future readers is not quite coherent, but it feels like saying “Welcome home.”
Any further dreams for Kane and Reverie?
Oh, tons. There’s no confirmed continuation for Reverie in the works right now, but recently I’ve been feeling an intractable pull back into Kane’s world. There’s a lot more for him, Ursula, and the Others (his team of dream unravelers in the book). And if you’re a fan of Poesy, don’t worry: if I were to pick up this story again, I suspect I would start before the events of Reverie even begin, somewhere in the past as Poesy hatches her dreams for a better world. A world on her terms. *insert witchy cackle here*
Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to queer people. He is the author behind the riotously imaginative Reverie, and the brilliantly constructed Be Dazzled, both of which made the Kids’ Indie Next List. He has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Tor.com, and one time Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race called him cute! Ryan is the host of the infamous La Sala Writers Salon, the co-host the Bad Author Book Club Podcast, and a frequent speaker at events/conferences. When not writing, Ryan does arts & crafts, and rollerblades around Central Park.