The Crossing Gate is like Greek-fantasy meets Delirium, in a YA dystopian where growing up comes with a dangerous dark side.
I’m joining in the MTMC Tours blog tour for The Crossing Gate today! I haven’t read a dystopian in a while, so it was fun to dive in and explore this Greek fantasy world full of complex characters and intriguing plot twists. In Elpax, everyone goes through this mystical “Crossing Gate” every time they need to age up in life. So from child to juvenile, and then from juvenile to adult. The world is strangled in harsh rules — juveniles are forbidden from knowing things about the adult world, and punishments include brutal beatings, imprisonment, and worse. The class system also has a strangle hold on the realm. The wealthy can live as they please, and the working class can’t even associate with them in the “incorrect” way. Basically follow the rules or SUFFER. As happens in the good ol’ dystopians 😪👌🏻
Up until this point in my life, I hadn’t realised how one second could destroy an entire family.
Lenora (or Leen, as she prefers to be called) is no rebel or delinquent at heart, but she’s struggling to make the crossing to adulthood. And this is slowly lowering her into trouble with the government. Leen wants to help her mum and to keep up with her now-adult friends — but every time she tries to cross, she’s struck with vertigo and intense panic. She literally can’t do it. And she doesn’t know what’s wrong with her. Meanwhile she’s getting “adult feelings” for a boy and sneaking around trying to learn forbidden adult knowledge to understand why it’s kept from juveniles. Is this going to work out well? Leen, no 😂😭 I did love the mix of technology and maaaaybe magic, as Leen struggles to figure out how the Crossing Gate works and what kind of hold it has on their society. Any snippets and hints about Elpax’s history and royal family had me curious for more. And I have to admit, I really do love a non-US-centric world as a refreshing change.
But I didn’t know how to grow up, how to feel ready.
The Crossing Gate dives into the complex feelings and fears of growing up, while showing us an insidious world where freedom is an illusion, and Leen is running out of time to figure out who she is and what she wants.
Also see the super epic giveaway below and my interview with the author!!
Title: The Crossing Gate
Author: Asiel R. Lavie
Publication Date:January 4th, 2022
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Purchase a copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Blackwell’s
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She can’t grow up. Literally. In the kingdom of Elpax, juveniles must walk through the mysterious Crossing Gate to become adults—and seventeen-year-old Lenora is determined that her third attempt at crossing to adulthood will be successful. Even though adulthood means facing horrible realities, such as sin-spots appearing on her body whenever she commits a sin, it also means being able to have a job. And Lenora needs to work to support her struggling family.
But Lenora’s Crossing Day goes horribly wrong.
Accused of trying to start a revolution, Lenora must obey the kingdom’s laws to the letter if she wants to take suspicion off herself. But following the rules isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when she meets a mysterious and handsome stranger who makes her feel emotions she’s never experienced before—even though juveniles in Elpax aren’t supposed to be capable of falling in love.
With the long arm of the law looming over her and her family, Lenora must walk a tightrope between following the rules and investigating why she’s unable to cross. Not to mention discovering where her new adult emotions are coming from. But as Lenora uncovers more of Elpax’s terrible secrets, she realizes that fighting the system might be the only way to save her family, her country, and her first love.
The first in an epic series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, The Crossing Gate combines the tropes of classic YA dystopia with a Greek-inspired setting and fantasy elements that will whisk readers away on a journey like no other.
Hi Asiel! Thanks for chatting with me today about The Crossing Gate! Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey and how your book went from idea to finished novel?
Hi CG! Thank you for having me today. Oh boy, that was a long and unexpected journey that started three years ago. The idea came from my own experience in growing up. I remember that I went shopping with my friend, and I stopped in front of a storefront that was filled with girly cushions. I told my friend they were so pretty and I even took a picture for them. Her reply was casual but unexpectedly annoyed me! She said, “Yea, they are so pretty, but they are for kids and not for you.” Her words hit me so deeply, thinking what was wrong in liking cushions that were made for teens- and not a typical taste of a thirty-two-years grown-up mom?
All the way back home, I kept thinking about her words. I often like/think and dress like a much younger person and not the way my society is expecting from me at my age. But I won’t be myself if I just did what others were expecting from me. Sometimes when I hear harsh comments regarding my clothes or a certain behavior, I feel sad and helpless. I wished if there was a machine that will force me to “grow up” to the accepted standers. Yet again, what if this machine stopped working in the middle of the process?
I slept, and I dreamed about Lenora standing in front of the Crossing Gate. I wrote the scene when I woke up, and from there, the story slowly was built to become a complicated and tangled book! I needed to make a ton of researches on Greek mythology, how to name my characters and the Provinces. Draw a map and calculate the speed of cars and the distance they will cut across the kingdom, and much more. With the great help of my editor, Shalini, we managed to build strong world-budling and tell the story without confusing the reader.
Since I had never written a novel before, I had to take creative writing courses. I learned about new things like “show, don’t tell.” Avoid passive voice and use strong verbs. Then the long editing process came along, alpha and beta readers, find a publisher, cover design, social media, and my website, until I finally, held my book in my hand!
Being an author is such a long and wild and magical journey for sure 😍🙌🏻 Can you tell us 2 random facts about your main character, Lenora? (Or Leen, as we know she likes to be called!)
1. Lenora is a fast runner. Although she has asthma, that didn’t stop her from winning the running competition in her province.
2. She has ADHD.
Do you have a favourite moment from your publishing journey so far?
Yes! It’s when I read the reviews and find out how readers think about the novel and how they are connecting to the book. I love when readers reach out personally to ask questions about the book and discuss what they like and didn’t like about it.
Can you tell us about some of the themes in The Crossing Gate and what drew you to exploring them?
I grew up in a society where adult stuff was forbidden for kids to know and considered taboo. I always thought this wasn’t suitable because when the grown-ups kept warning us from some stuff- in our case, it was talking to boys and young men- at least they could have explained the reason behind what was wrong with talking to boys when we reach a suitable age- like that we could be raped or abused. Instead, we were left in the darkness until we were eighteen or something.
Many women get married without even knowing the nature of the relationship between a husband and a wife. Many got raped or sexually assaulted and abused without even knowing what was happening to them. I am glad that nowadays things are different and girls are being educated at an early age.
Some experiences at a young age can cast a long effect on one’s life – especially loving the wrong person or being involved in a toxic relationship. Something I personally suffered from. And how can we survive such relations and become better and stronger versions of ourselves.
Did you plot much of the story before you started? Did you know how it would end up front, or did anything surprise you along the way?
Besides Lenora’s journey to grow up, I absolutely had nothing in mind. But while I was writing book one, the ideas kept coming; one idea led to the other. Suddenly I found myself overwhelmed with ideas, and I had to stop writing book one and plot the whole series from the beginning- around one hundred years before Lenora was born. I have a wall in my home covered with papers, so I won’t forget a tiny thing about the story. Because the story will become more complicated with the upcoming books, and everything is connected.
I had two ideas for how to end the book. One was a romantic ending that -I and my editor- didn’t like. We thought that it was better for Lenora to “earn the ending” and achieve the main goal of the book, which is to finally grow up.
And lastly! Was any chocolate harmed in the making of this novel? 😉
Yes! A lot of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! 😊
Thanks so much for the amazing interview, Asiel, and am wishing you all the best with The Crossing Gate’s upcoming release in 2022!!
Asiel R. Lavie is the author of THE CROSSING GATE. She holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, but writing stories was her passion since childhood. She’s a book reviewer, a World Story Book contributor, co-admin, and an official Arabic translator for The World Story Book Young Adult Edition; a project was created by the Canadian Author Edge O. Erne. When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her either in the garden playing with her kid or watching movies.
Website | Instagram | Twitter
Enter the rafflecopter below where you can win one of these epic prizes:
– A Kindle Fire tablet, 7″ display, 16 GB, latest model (2019 release), color of choice (US ONLY)
– 2 paperback copies of The Crossing gate (INTL)*
– A Hardcover copy of The Crossing Gate (INTL)*
– A $25 Amazon Gift Card
*Both paperback and hardcovers will be pre-ordered through book depository. Winners will be receiving their copies on January 4th, 2022.
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