True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read.”
When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.
Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them are willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners/besties Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 international bestselling authors of the Beautiful and the Wild Seasons series, The Unhoneymooners, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, Dating You / Hating You, Roomies, The House, and Autoboyography. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, @ChristinaLauren on Instagram, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
THE GIRL IS BENT INTO odd angles when she wakes. It doesn’t seem possible that she could have been sleeping here, alone on a dirt path, surrounded by leaves and grass and clouds. She feels like she might have fallen from the sky.
She sits up, dusty and disoriented. Behind her, a narrow trail turns and disappears, crowded with trees flaming garishly with fall colors. In front of her is a lake. It is calm and blue, its surface rippling only at the edges where shallow water meets rock. On instinct, she crawls to it and peers in, feeling a tug of instinctive pity for the confused girl staring back at her.
Only when she stands does she see the hulking buildings looming at the perimeter of the park. Made of gray stone, they stand tall over the tips of fiery red trees, staring down at where she’s landed. The buildings strike her as both welcoming and threatening, as if she’s at that in-between stage of awake and asleep when it’s possible for dreams and reality to coexist.
Instead of being afraid, she feels a surge of excitement tear through her. Excitement, like the sound of a gunshot to a sprinter.
She slips down the trail and across the dirt road to where the sidewalk abruptly begins. She doesn’t remember putting on the silk dress she’s wearing, printed with a delicate floral calico and falling in wispy folds to her knees. She stares at her unfamiliar feet, wrapped in stiff new sandals. Although she isn’t cold, uniformed students walk past, wrapped in thick wool, navy and gray. Personality lies in the small additions: boots, earrings, the flash of a red scarf. But few bother to notice the wisp of a girl shuffling and hunched over, fighting against the weight of the wind.
The smell of damp earth is familiar, as is the way the stone buildings capture the echoes of the quad and hold them tight, making time slow down and conversations last longer. From the way the wind whips all around her, and from her precious new memory of the trees in the woods, she also knows that it’s autumn.
But nothing looks like it did yesterday. And yesterday, it was spring.
• • •
An archway looms ahead, adorned with tarnished green-blue copper letters that seem to be written from the same ink as the sky.
SAINT OSANNA’S PREPARATORY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS AND BOYS
Beneath it, a broad iron sign lurches in the wind:
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
The campus is larger than she expects, but somehow she knows where to look—right, not left—to find the grouping of smaller brick buildings and, in the distance, a wood cabin. She moves forward with a different kind of excitement now, like walking into a warm house knowing what’s for dinner. The familiar kind. Except she has no idea where she is.
Of the four main buildings, she chooses the one on the left, bordering the wilderness. The steps are crowded with students, but even so, no one helps her with the door, which seems intent on pushing her back outside with its own weight. The handle is leaden and dull in her grip, and beside it, her skin seems to shimmer.
“Close the door,” someone calls. “It’s freezing!”
The girl ducks into the entryway, breaking her attention from her own stardust skin. The air inside is warm and carries the familiar smell of bacon and coffee beans. She hovers near the door, but nobody looks up. It’s as if she’s any other student walking into a crowd; life keeps moving in the roaring dining hall, and in a blurred frenzy, she stands perfectly still. She’s not invisible—she can see her reflection in the window to her right—but she might as well be.
Finally, she makes her way through a maze of tables and chairs to an old woman with a clipboard who stands at the doorway to the kitchen. She’s ticking items off a list, her pen pressing and flicking in perfect, practiced check marks. A single question perches on the girl’s tongue and sticks there, unmoving, while she waits for the old woman to notice her.
The girl is afraid to speak. She doesn’t even know herself, let alone how to ask the one question she needs answered. Glancing down, she sees that her skin glows faintly under the honeyed light fixture, and for the first time it occurs to her to worry that she doesn’t look entirely . . . normal. What if she opens her mouth and dissolves into a flock of ravens? What if she’s lost her words along with her past?
Get it together.
“Excuse me,” she says once, and then louder.
The woman looks up, clearly surprised to find a stranger standing so close. She seems a mixture of confused and, eventually, uneasy as she takes in the dusty dress, the hair tangled with leaves. Her eyes scan the girl’s face, searching as if a name perches near the back of her mind. “Are you . . . ? Can I help you?”
The girl wants to ask, Do you know me? Instead, she says, “What day is it?”
The woman’s eyebrows move closer together as she looks the girl over. It wasn’t the right question somehow, but she answers anyway: “It’s Tuesday.”
“But which Tuesday?”
Pointing to a calendar behind her, the woman says, “Tuesday, October fourth.”
Only now does the girl realize that knowing the date doesn’t help much, because although those numbers feel unfamiliar and wrong, she doesn’t know what year it should be. The girl steps back, mumbling her thanks, and reclaims her place against the wall. She feels glued to this building, as if it’s where she’ll be found.
“It’s you,” someone will say. “You’re back. You’re back.”
• • •
But no one says that. The dining hall clears out over the next hour until only a group of giggling teenage girls remains seated at a round table in the corner. Now the girl is positive something is wrong: Not once do they look her way. Even in her moth-eaten memories she knows how quickly teenage eyes seek out anyone different.
From the kitchen, a boy emerges, pulling a red apron over his neck and tying it as he walks. Wild, dark curls fall into his eyes, and he flips them away with an unconscious shake of his head.
In that moment, her silent heart twists beneath the empty walls of her chest. And she realizes, in the absence of hunger or thirst, discomfort or cold, this is the first physical sensation she’s had since waking under a sky full of falling leaves.
Her eyes move over every part of him, her lungs greedy for breath she doesn’t remember needing before now. He’s tall and lanky, managing somehow to look broad. His teeth are white but the slightest bit crooked. A small silver ring curves around the center of his full bottom lip, and her fingers burn with the need to reach out and touch it. His nose has been broken at least once. But he’s perfect. And something about the light in his eyes when he looks up makes her ache to share herself with him. But share what? Her mind? Her body? How can she share things she doesn’t know?
When he approaches the other table, the schoolgirls stop talking and watch him, eyes full of anticipation.
“Hey.” He greets them with a wave. “Grabbing a late breakfast?”
A blond girl with a strip of garish pink in her hair leans forward and slowly tugs his apron string loose. “Just came by to have something sweet.”
The boy grins, but it’s a patient grin—flexed jaw, smile climbing only partway up his face—and he steps out of her grip, motioning to the buffet against the far wall. “Go grab whatever you want. I need to start clearing it out soon.”
“Jay said you guys did some pretty crazy stunts in the quarry yesterday,” she says.
“Yeah.” He nods in a slow, easy movement and pushes a handful of wavy hair off his forehead. “We set up some jumps. It was pretty sick.” A short pause and then: “You guys might want to grab some food real quick. Kitchen closed five minutes ago.”
Out of instinct, the girl glances to the kitchen and sees the old woman standing in the doorway and watching the boy. The woman blinks over to her then, studying with eyes both wary and unblinking; the girl is the first to look away.
“Can’t you sit and hang out for a few?” Pink-Haired Girl asks, her voice and lips heavy with a pout.
“Sorry, Amanda, I have calc over in Henley. Just helping Dot finish up in the kitchen.”
He’s fascinating to watch: his unhurried smile, the solid curve of his shoulders and the comfortable way he slips his hands in his pockets and rocks on the balls of his feet. It’s easy to tell why the schoolgirls want him to stay.
But then he turns, blinking away from the table of his peers to the girl sitting alone, watching him. She can actually see the pulse in his neck begin to pound, and it seems to echo inside her own throat.
And he sees her, bare legs and arms, wearing a spring dress in October.
“You here for breakfast?” he asks. His voice vibrates through her. “Last call . . .”
Her mouth opens again, and what spills forward isn’t what she expects; nor does she dissolve into a flock of ravens. “I think I’m here for you.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 out of 5 stars This intriguing and mysterious story has totally gotten under my skin. There were so many elements and details learned about Colin and Lucy. More than once did I think, “wait? what!” But I kept on reading and absorbing everything, wanting to know what would happen with them. You could see all these dots getting connected - it was a trip! There was a slow build to the end, which left me feeling lost and sad and even a little confused. I loved that it was dual POV so you’re in Colin and Lucy’s heads trying to understand and make sense of their logic. There are moments of teenage angsts and their pull and attraction to one another was crazy and slightly scary. Pacing wise it was decent. The first 100 pages seemed to fly by but after that I felt like it dragged a bit. The last half was a bit more gripping and had me anxious with all the details coming to light. It was all just kind of trippy and haunting. Definitely a story that makes you think and sticks with you. I liked it a lot but it leaves me with a “what the heck did I just read” eerie feeling. Be prepared for an otherworldly ride. Complimentary copy received for honest review.
I wanted to read Sublime because of the haunting cover and the description of the ghostly love story and wanted to know more about the brink of death experiences he got himself into, as well as the whys to Lucy's appearance and her draw to Colin. I liked how it was dual perspective, so while we know a bit about Lucy, Colin definitely doesn't and we are figuring out along with him why she is so special to him, why he sees her with ease and why she isn't noticed as much or the same way by the other students. The school already has ghost stories, they call them Walkers, and claim to have seen ghosts around the lake and in the woods, and I didn't know how much or at all it played into why Lucy was drawn to the school and why she couldn't leave. Colin is a dare devil to start with which I guess made me a bit more okay with the risk taking that he does in order to connect more with Lucy. It was an interesting element to the story, that is for sure. I couldn't believe how far some of it went actually, but it was unique. I really enjoyed the story as well as the lure around the school. I couldn't decide about Lucy and what the intentions were and if her strength and presence actually was from his near death experiences or if it was some other theory that she actually was his guardian. And oh my the ending... Um. I am really not sure what happened. It was extremely open ended and the epilogue didn't really help with clarity or adding to the answers that I wanted. Bottom Line: Great premise and elements but the ending and non-answers really wasn't for me.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Sublime by Christina Lauren Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication Date: October 14, 2014 Rating: 2 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read". When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him. Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren't meant to be crossed… What I Liked: Here we go with the Pretty Cover Syndrome. Although, this cover is more haunting and ethereal, than really pretty. The positions of the two people on the cover are really cliche, but the people themselves are rather interesting. Nevertheless, I feel for the cover syndrome, and paid for it. Lucy is dead, but she doesn't know it until later in the book. She just wakes up one day, walks to the boarding school that is nearby, and starts attending. Colin sees her for HER, unlike most of the students, who don't really see her until they really stare at her. Colin and Lucy fall in love. They're totally drawn to each other. So why is Lucy here? Is she haunting the school? Is she waiting for Colin? Who was she when she was alive? How did she die? Nothing seems to make sense, but nothing seems to matter when Colin and Lucy are together. But they may pay for the measures they take to be together... One thing that I liked was how captivating this story was (or seemed to be). I wanted to know more, I wanted to find out what was going on, I wanted my questions to be answered. The authors really had me going, because I just could not figure out this book, as I was reading! Problem was, I couldn't figure it out after I finished the book. So. The romance is very steamy and very evocative and slow-burn and I love the physical nature of Colin and Lucy's relationship. On the emotional side, it was all insta-love/insta-lust, so the feelings were kind of supposed to be just THERE... but I like how sizzling the relationship was. Moving on to the next section! What I Did Not Like: My biggest problem: while I LOVED not being able to figure out what was going on in the book (while reading), I finished the book and looked around, like, that's it? None of my questions were answered! I'm so confused! Literally EVERYTHING was left to my imagination! We have no idea why Lucy came back! We have no idea why it's Colin! One reason was given, but the authors made it seem like that wasn't the real reason. And then things happened with OTHER people like Lucy, and in the end, it contradicted everything that we knew to be true of Lucy and the other dead people. I. Don't. Understand. Anything. Also the romance was very insta-love-y. While I mentioned that I love the physical nature of the relationship, I just could not understand how the two of them seemed to love each other that deeply from the start. Not typical teenage stuff... just saying. Nothing happens in this book. Literally, nothing. Lucy pops up, she and Colin get to know each other, she disappears, comes back, they try to get to know each other more, things happen, the end. It felt like the same old, same old, back and forth, blah, blah, blah. I know this doesn't seem like a lot of dislikes, but the ending and the feeling of dissatisfaction left me with a bitter aftertaste - I wanted to know more, I didn't get more, and I'm not going to get more (this is totally a standalone novel, given the ending alone). Would I Recommend It: Naahhh. Great cover, successful authors (apparently; I wouldn't know, as this is my first novel of theirs that I have read), horrible story. Seriously, I spent the whole book wondering what was going on, which is okay while reading... but not okay once you reach the end of the book and things still aren't cleared up. Rating: 2 stars. Not a one-star-read because this one had me going for a while - I mean, I finished it really quickly, because I wanted to know what was going on. But not any higher than two stars because seriously, this book needs a negative rating from me. I just did NOT like it.
you've probably read it before
Originally it was the cover for authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (writing under the pseudonym Christina Lauren) novel Sublime that piqued my interest. Afterward it was the opening sentence that had me hooked and I knew that if I didn’t read this now I would end up reading it at some point in the near future. Sublime sounded like a paranormal romance that would leave me with some unanswered questions that would drive me to keep on reading right to the very last page. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from the novel, but went in ready for anything. Sublime begins with Lucy who wakes in a forest wearing nothing more than a dress and sandals, with no recollections of who she is, how she got there, or where she’s supposed to go. That is, until she sees Collin. Collin has ensnared most of the girls from Saint Osanna’s, and since a tragedy that changed his life forever, Collin isn’t exactly the same guy he used to be. But when he sees Lucy all of that changes. The two of them uncover the mystery behind Lucy’s identity and the details behind her death. Whatever Lucy is now, being together suddenly seems very, very impossible—and when the two of them uncover the possible reasons why Lucy has returned it becomes evident that the two of them can’t be torn apart. Sublime is told in the third person and alternates between Collin and Lucy’s point of views. The story’s focus does shift between both of them, telling two different stories that still coincide. I absolutely loved this. Getting to see details from both characters was a nice advantage to have, and learning about backstories without dramatically over-detailed scenes was something refreshing. The writing in Christa Lauren is very lyrical. There’s a lot of it that is written just so pretty and it gave me little shivers. The novel is written in a way that gives off mystery and makes it instantly haunting. However, when I began to look past the beautiful writing in this read, I noticed that there were a lot of inconsistencies both plot-wise and just description-based. This was something that I couldn’t overlook while reading and gave me a bit of an ‘itch that I can’t scratch’ sort of feel. The characters in Sublime are very typical YA characters. They’re in love. But there doesn’t seem to be much more to that. I do wish that in Sublime there had been more build to Lucy and Collin’s romance considering that does get very insta-lovey. I think that fans of novels like Fallen or Twilight will like Lucy as she’s very reminiscent of Bella Swan and Luce—if you like your protagonists to act that certain way, then Lucy is definitely a right fit for you. I do have a lot of questions in terms of plot details that have been left-over after having finished the novel. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this was dome in such a way that I might receive some answers should I get to see a book 2 for Collin and Lucy’s story. There’s a lot of room for expansion and I’m eager to see where this story might go. I would recommend Sublime to any readers who are looking for a novel that is all about the romance between two characters, to any readers who are looking for a paranormal romance that is written to capture your attention. Readers who are looking for a novel that focuses on the limitations of dating someone who isn’t quite alive, but pushing past them should also give Sublime a read.