Blog Tour: ORLEANS by Sherri Smith & Giveaway

Orleans_comp12.inddI am thrilled to be hosting Sherri Smith and her new book ORLEANS!! If you haven’t already you should add this one to your reading piles! It’ll be hitting shelves March 7, so be on the look out!

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Love in The Time of Delta Fever: The Unromantic Truth Behind Orleans

by Sherri Smith

You know the story—a boy, a girl, in a crazy mixed up world. Lots of dystopian fiction hinges on this relationship, love blooming like a rose in the mud. It’s often what saves (or complicates, and then saves) the dystopian heroine or hero. From the love triangle in The Hunger Games to the tragic longing in books like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, teen novels and romantic love are a given. You can’t even walk into a high school without being handed a copy of Romeo and Juliet. But this book is different. To paraphrase a certain movie, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Orleans. “*

So, the synopsis:  In a not-to-distant future, a series of man-made and natural disasters has given rise to the deadly Delta Fever, causing the United States to build a quarantine wall and abandon the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. In the former city of New Orleans, the survivors have gone tribal based on blood type. One girl fights to save the life of a newborn baby, while a scientist from the Outer States infiltrates Orleans in hopes of a cure.

The ingredients are there: a feisty girl named Fen and an intelligent guy named Daniel. And there are plenty of obstacles: a deadly disease, hunters that are literally out for blood, and a wall that would make Pyramus and Thisbe weep.** But this is not a love story. At least not romantic love.

In a world like Orleans, full of disaster, past, present and waiting-to-happen, Fen might have met Daniel, melted into his eyes, and we’d have a full-on romantic tragedy on our hands—star-crossed lovers from separate worlds who can never be together. But it wouldn’t ring true. The sort of person Fen has become in order to survive in her city precludes notions of tenderness and snogging. In Orleans, falling for the wrong blood type could literally mean the death of you. (Never mind the fact that pregnancy increases a woman’s blood volume by about 50%. In a world where you may be hunted for your blood, abstinence is more than a virtue, it’s self-defense.) Not that romantic love can’t exist in harsh conditions.  It happens all the time. Just not to Fen. She’s a guarded person. Whereas crisis often pushes people together (“We’re last two people on earth, let’s repopulate!”), Fen’s “normal” is a state of crisis. It would take more than a few days with her life at stake to make her say, “wait a minute, I think I love you.”

But, without love, what’s the point? In the middle ages, the poet Marie de France described at least five types of love:  Courtly, romantic, forbidden, familial and that of lord and vassal (you remember that one, don’t you?). She went on to tell various stories in which these types of love can lead to joy or disaster. Guess which one trips Fen up? That love most of us knew before hormones and school dances got in the way. The love of family.

Sherri L Smith Author PhotoThe one tenderness Fen finds she cannot fight is what she feels for the baby girl in her arms and for the baby’s mother. The latter gave her safe haven once upon a time, and the former needs her protection. Daniel is also motivated by love, for those he left behind. The thing about familial love is, if you’ve always had it, it’s easy to take for granted. But in Orleans, family isn’t something you are born into. You have to be accepted. And love, like trust, must be earned. As both Fen and Daniel learn, it’s not an easy road. But, even without the snogging, love can still conquer all.

*”Chinatown”—that’s the movie!  The last line is “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

** Brush up on your Greek mythology—two crazy kids that fall in love talking through a chink in the wall between their houses. It does not end well.

Sherri L. Smith has written several award-winning novels for young adults. Flygirl (2010) won the California Book Award, was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and has received fourteen State Award nominations. She lives near Los Angeles. For more information, visit her website or her blog, The Middle Hundred. She can be found on Twitter @Sherri_L_Smith.

Delta Relief Package photoGiveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a Delta Relief Kit, complete with a signed ARC, a blood type ID dog tag, a glow stick, and the ever-crucial Snickers bar—everything you need to navigate ORLEANS, at least from the comfort of your armchair! (U.S. only)

The next stop on the tour is The OWL for YA

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