Brian Schott; Bloomsbury
Isabella Biedenharn
November 01, 2017 AT 11:42 AM EDT

Earlier this year, Jeff Giles beguiled readers with his YA fantasy novel The Edge of Everythingwhich followed 17-year-old Zoe as her path crossed with a mysterious bounty hunter called X from an even more mysterious place called the Lowlands.

EW can exclusively reveal the cover for Giles’ Edge of Everything sequel, The Brink of Darkness, below — along with an introduction from the author himself about what it’s like to write YA fiction. Check out Giles’ words of wisdom along with the stunning cover, below. And don’t miss the redesigned paperback cover for The Edge of Everything above.

The Brink of Darkness hits shelves July 3, 2018.

Bloomsbury

From Jeff Giles:

Writing young adult fiction is a blast in part because the people who read it are such a welcoming audience: loyal, open-minded, hungry for words and for wonder. I was at a book festival in Atlanta this year where someone in Moaning Myrtle cosplay asked me to autograph the toilet seat around her neck. How could you not be inspired by somebody who loves books that much? Elsewhere, readers have asked me to sign other authors’ novels because the authors in question were famous and the lines at their tables were too long. Somewhere there are YA classics floating around with my huge, ecstatic signature, a doodle of myself and a small disclaimer: “I did not write this book.”

The other reason writing YA novels is energizing is that you can write about virtually anything but the unhappy inner life of grown-ups—which there’s enough books about already. The first novel in my series, The Edge of Everything, concerns a Montana girl named Zoey who treks into a blizzard to save her little brother and their dogs, Spock and Uhura. In the process, she comes across a young bounty hunter from the underworld just as he’s about to drown a man who’s been damned in a hole in a frozen lake. Zoe convinces him to let the man go, her argument being that even murdering a murderer is wrong. She later gets too close to the bounty hunter and discovers that he himself is chained to the underworld simply because he was born there. He’s never committed a crime, never lived a true life. The bounty hunter is not even allowed to have a name. Zoe names him X because he’s an unknown variable. She risks herself trying to help him escape, even as she uncovers some awful secrets about her own family.

The sequel to The Edge of Everything is called The Brink of Darkness, and will be published by Bloomsbury next July. Brink is the story of X’s return to his Hell-ish home, his search for the parents he’s never known and his last, all-or-nothing fight to get back to Zoe forever. The new novel is darker than Edge, but it’s interspersed with what I think of as “Edward Scissorhands”-type humor and (hopefully) a realistic depiction of a slightly weird, loving family caught in supernatural circumstances they can hardly believe. I tried to ask questions without obvious answers: What does it take to be redeemed and forgiven? What do we all owe each other? And how much would we do for someone we love — not just in theory, but right this very second?

I worked as an editor at Entertainment Weekly for years, and there’s no place I’d rather share the cover of The Brink of Darkness — and the redesigned The Edge of Everything paperback (above).

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