Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.
To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.
Unlike most authors, I didn’t start writing books when I was five years old. In fact, I’d never been too interested in reading or writing. Hanging out with friends in the small Spanish town where I grew up always seemed more appealing than anything a book could offer. It took about twenty-seven years and a global financial meltdown for me to discover the magic world of writing.
At the time, I was living in New York City, and one morning I discovered I was no longer expected at my sixty-hour-a-week investment banking job. Most of my friends had very demanding jobs, so I spent my days wandering around on my own.
Like other unemployed people, I started living through the nights and sleeping through the days. New York is known as the city that never sleeps for a good reason! One night, tired of surfing the web and watching TV, I opened a Word document and started typing a short story, which I saved in my computer with little interest. That was the day Nate and Sophie were born.
Days later, since the financial industry seemed to be going into a downward spiral, I decided to spend three months traveling through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. I thought, naïve me, that by the time I returned, the financial crisis would have come to an end.
Something really strange happened to me during that trip. No matter where I went, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story. Nate and Sophie followed me everywhere. No matter how hard I tried to forget about them, they just wouldn’t go away. At the beginning, I thought I was losing my mind, but soon after, I realized I had to continue writing the story.
When I came back to New York, I went right back into it, and that’s how The Year of the Great Seventh was created. Unfortunately, halfway through the novel, I received a letter from the immigration department informing me that, with no job, I was no longer welcome in the United States. Without much of a choice, my boyfriend and I decided to pack our lives, along with my half-drafted manuscript, and begin another exciting adventure in London, where we now live.
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Admitting I wasn’t going to fall asleep, I emerged from under the bed covers, went over to the windows, and sat on the floor. They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Well, if the city lights were going to keep me awake, I might as well enjoy the view.
Crossing my legs in the lotus position, I admired the city skyline. The other glass tower across from us seemed to be private apartments. Most of the floors had their lights on. The energy of this city was captivating. Life continued on through the night in the city that never slept.
It was starting to snow. The frosty flakes resembled white cotton candy. They seemed to be defying the laws of gravity as they were suspended on the air and then swirled up into the sky. It was probably due to the air current caused by the tall buildings. But as things stood in my life at the moment, anything seemed possible.
The traffic was as dense as rush hour in downtown L.A. Cars jammed around Columbus Circle, and no one thought twice about leaning on the horn, even though it was past .
In one of the apartments opposite, a man was sitting by the window, typing on a laptop. The room was dark, but the reflection of the computer screen lit up his face. I could see him clearly. It was as though we were sitting across from each other. I was sure he could see me, too. We were so close, but at the same time, so far. This must be the big city syndrome where you can feel so alone amongst so many people. And knowing that Nate was just across the wall only enhanced the feeling.
I had to start blocking any thoughts of Nate. I had to give myself a break or I was going to start losing my mind. Unfortunately, I was aware that ignoring a problem wasn’t likely to make it go away. I couldn’t believe Nate had planned to hide the stain on his back from me. How long did he think he could pretend everything was going to be fine?
Dad taught me to only believe what could be proved by science, but this lulled me into a state of denial. Nate was vanishing with the tick of the clock, and I had to help him. I wasn’t sure how yet, but I couldn’t fail him. I wanted to slap myself to throw myself into action. How could I be so passive when I was losing the only thing I wanted?
The man in the apartment across from me was drinking from a cup and flicking through the pages of a book that he had next to the laptop. After scanning a few more pages, he continued to type. I wondered what he was doing. I wanted to think he was writing a detective novel based in 1950s Manhattan.
The man stopped typing and stared openly at me, as if he also needed to share his secrets with a stranger. It was snowing hard, and thousands of snowflakes playfully spiraled up into the sky, proving reality had many dimensions. The simple stare from a distant stranger was appeasing that loneliness that was taking hold of me.
I couldn’t stop staring back. Here, sitting on the floor of this grandiose room, in the epicenter of the madness of this city, I just felt so small. How was I, this tiny, fragile girl, going to make the world change its course?
The man with the computer—as if he could hear my thoughts—smiled at me and nodded. Without uttering a word, and with the power of our surroundings, this stranger confirmed that, yes, I could do whatever I gave myself to. It was probably a coincidence, but there were moments like this when the universe conspired to prove that life was full of magic moments. You just needed to learn to see past what was in front of you.
The man went back to typing on his computer, unconscious that with just one stare he’d provided me with the courage I lacked. I was beginning to fall in love, but in this case, with New York City. There was something about the anonymity of this city that brought us closer as humans.
Copyright 2013 Teresa Orts.
Originally published in the United Kingdom, The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts ties together the drama of modern day high schools to the intriguing history of Ancient Egypt.
All Sophie wants is to escape California, and her ticket out of is her love of history. However, this knowledge is tested when Nate, her school’s resident “It” boy, brings her a secret that has roots in Ancient Egypt. Racing against time and breaking all the rules in order to uncover the secrets that Cleopatra left behind, Sophie and Nate travel from sunny LA to the exciting city of New York where romance, drama, and new chances for discovery await them.
If you are looking for a new drama to read by the pool this summer, this might be a good option for you. I didn't personally love this book, but The Year of the Great Seventh is indeed full of thrills ranging from a huge Hollywood premiere party to the ravages of an ancient curse. However, the action isn’t the whole story--there is also a romance between Sophie and Nate that tests them both, though in different ways.
This book is perfect for fans of Ancient Egypt or people who grew up with the Percy Jackson series or the Twilight Saga and are looking for a new, mature series to follow!
Comments? Thoughts? Looking forward to this one? Let us know!
The (YA) Bookcase
The (YA) Bookcase