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The Lake and the Library

The Lake and the Library

No relation

ECW Press

Beiko, S.M.




2013-06-05 12:20:29: Nomination was created
2013-06-05 15:10:32: payment successful from Paypal (order 81)
2013-06-05 15:21:48: payment successful from Paypal (order 83)
2013-06-05 15:25:42: payment successful from Paypal (order 84)

Erin Creasey

Sales and Marketing Director

ECW Press

Feature film


S.M. Beiko works in the Canadian publishing industry as an editor and layout designer and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is her first book.

TBD – book published in May 2013

A sixteen-year-old girl stumbles upon a long-forgotten library, and the mysterious and enchanting mute boy who lives there.

Wishing for something out of Alice in Wonderland, something beyond her adventureless life, 16-year-old Ash is counting down the days until she and her mother move away from their prairie hometown of Treade. It’s Ash’s summer of goodbyes until, after a turn of fate, she finds her way into the mysterious, condemned building on the outskirts of town — one that has haunted her entire childhood with secrets and questions. What she finds inside — or what finds her — is an untouched library, inhabited by an enchanting mute named Li.
Brightened by Li’s charm and his indulgence in her dreams, Ash becomes locked in a world of dusty books and dying memories, with Li becoming the attachment to Treade she never wanted. As the summer vanishes underneath her, and her quest to discover who Li is — or was — proves nearly impossible, Ash must choose between the road ahead or the dream she’s living before it’s too late.

Ash is a sixteen-year-old girl, excited to move away from her small prairie hometown and become a part of the real world. She’s dreamy girl, an artist, who wants more from life than a small town can offer. As the day that she and her mother are scheduled to move approaches, Ash becomes more and more torn between the desire to start anew and sadness at leaving her two best friends behind.

Ash’s two best friends, Tabitha and Paul, are intelligent, witty, teenagers. Tabitha, Tabs for short, dreams of being a model and loves glam rock. Paul is the clean cut, quick-witted, scholarly type.

Li is a tall, handsome, charming, and mysterious dark-haired boy. He’s mute and he lives in an abandoned library. There is something enchanting, mysterious, and slightly dangerous about Li that draws ash to him.

The Lake and the Library is a coming of age story that explores the universal themes of love and loss in a magical, surreal way.
"Part fairy story and part ghost story, The Lake and the Library is a satisfying fantasy novel with enough suspense and mystery to keep the reader guessing.” -- Canadian Review of Materials

Taking place in a dilapidated small town and a magical, long-abandoned library, The Lake and the Library offers an incredibly surreal, visually interesting setting.

Female Tweens
Female Teens

The Lake and the Library has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it because of the surreal, otherworldliness of the abandoned library, but with a much smaller and less eccentric cast of characters.

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Ever since Paul got his first library card, he had tried to dig up
any town records, photos, files, anything concrete to find out
who the building belonged to (even before we felt it belonged
to us). But all we had was poorly constructed hearsay, since the
meticulously kept Treade archives had been burnt down forty
years back at the hand of the archivist’s scorned lover (quite
the scandal). So no matter who we asked or how we persisted,
we were waved off, shooed away, told to “mind our own business,”
and some, who were as ancient as the town and too
slow to trust, said the place was cursed. That those who had
owned it, who had built it, had never even been inside. “Rich
folks and their secrets,” they said. It was the breeding ground
of endings.
Now inside, seeing with my own excited eyes what the
walls had concealed all these years, the mystery didn’t deepen
— it dissipated. All bets were off. We had to start from ground
zero, and all of a sudden I could picture the place lit up and
alive, imagining that a long time ago there were people who
loved this place, who were happy here.
The possibility flickered away in harmony with my flashlight.
I smacked it against my palm and moved out of the rose
outline, wondering how an entire town could totally ignore
this book palace, and realizing that whoever claimed to have
sneaked in here had to be lying; no one could have kept this
quiet all these years. And the books . . . I trailed my hand from
shelf to shelf, the gold foil stamping glittering when I wiped
the grime away, the leather spines buttery and supple, too. I
felt as though I was the first person to ever touch them, that
each time my fingertips brushed across a book that it came to
life, shivering to the depths of its saddle-stitching. I felt like I
was on a mission to salvage every dreaming heart who stood
outside of this building, or in Treade at all, who dreamed of
something more.
After giving it another shake, my flashlight lingered dimly
over a nearby ladder that soared up a free-standing bookcase. I
think everyone who has ever felt that books provide sanctuary
has dreamed of sliding on those kinds of ladders, little library
birds darting from flower to flower for the hidden nectar at
their hands. And I was no exception. Tucking the flashlight
in the waistband of my jeans, I gingerly tested the rungs for
splinters or faults, but my footing was sure despite my soggy
shoes. About two rungs up, I reached out and snagged randomly,
coming away with a gold-stamped cover revealing that
Percy Bysshe Shelley was here, alive and well. “Death is the
veil which those who live call life; They sleep, and it is lifted.”
Up higher were more of his contemporaries, along with the
reams of the poetry I always loved and tried to share, but they
were few and far between who could dive into the lines like I
could, and swim in pentameter like a wave. Even past the mud
caked in my eyebrows or the damp clinging to my clammy
skin, I felt like I was being embraced by long-lost family, like
I was coming home, and all my years of loving literature and
being called out as a nerd or a dork were wiped away. They
gave me strength instead, pulsing their verses into me like
currents. So I kept climbing. Hemens, Burns, Wordsworth,
Tennyson beckoning to my occupied hands — one clutching
the wooden bars, the other browsing. I gingerly wrested each
book free, gave my noiseless respect, and shelved it again.
And I climbed.
Suddenly, I had come to the very top of the shelf, and the
end of the ladder. I chanced a look at the ground beneath me,
only once, and I got the instant boomerang feeling of having
come too high, too fast. I held on tighter and reassured my
drenched feet that I was nimble and safe, and I was just fine
where I was. Nothing could hurt me up here. I took my light
out of my waistband, shining it around to see if I could find
anything else brilliant before I started my descent, and something
winked at me from across the top of the shelf. It was
bound in bright silver, and it seemed like it had been discarded
or simply forgotten where it lay, under a landing and just out
of reach. I only wanted to see the title, feel the book’s weight
in my hands, and savour it. I put the flashlight down on the
shelf top and, hooking my ankles into the rung, started to
rock the ladder side to side. It was jammed at the bottom and
refused to slide where I wanted it to, and I wasn’t about to
climb all the way back down to move it. Arrogance punctuated
my struggle, and I started goading myself on. Lean out a
little, I thought in a whisper. You can reach that, come on. Hands
outstretched, ladder creaking underneath me, I gave it one
more try. I lunged.
The second snap of the night, and this time not in my
favour. As the rung broke underneath me, my wet shoes sent
me wheeling in a backwards-forwards dance to get my balance
again. I was forced to throw myself forwards and wrap my
arms around the top of the shelf, clawing, one foot hanging
free and the other still keeping a toehold on the ladder. I
couldn’t scream — I was too busy trying to summon to my
cause every fibre in my muscles to scream — and with one
bad shove, the flashlight tumbled to the ground to explode in
a rush of glass and metal.
Panic does not begin to describe what went on in my head.
My free foot kicked out in the dark, trying to find a place to
land, while the other was losing the toehold. I was hanging
onto the ladder with my pant cuff caught on the splintered
rung, but even that eventually ripped free, and the ladder
shot away in the other direction. Very suddenly, very vividly,
I could picture the way my bones would break on the way
down, marrow slipping out like icy gel to outline my gnarled
body. I screamed, trying to keep my waking dream death at
bay, and I clenched tight to the bookcase, reining in my hysteria,
because I could feel the heavy shelf rocking with every
precious movement I had left. I tried to reach for the ladder
again with my toe. No go. I don’t want to die, not alone, not in
the dark, in a place where no one goes for fear of a curse or because
they’ve just stopped caring. I could feel my joints popping and
my sweaty palms slipping, the pain searing through my white
Okay. Just focus. I felt around underneath me with my foot;
there had to be a bit of shelf I could plant myself on and use
to shuffle back to the ladder. My toe whispered past a bit of
wood, a bit of hope. That meant I’d have to let go a little and
slide back, gently, so gently, to ease myself onto it. My hands
started loosening up, inch by inch, muscles cramping with the
effort. One hand caught on something sharp as it moved back,
feeling like a bug bite, but I ignored it. I was nearly there, my
foothold halfway to secure. The sharp thing on my hand was
starting to dig in, to nearly cut the flesh, but I was so close it
didn’t matter. Just a little more. A little more . . .
I lost my grip in one horrible instant, and my weight came
down on the shelf too hard, too fast. Crack number three, the
worst of all. I felt the air grow leaden as I fell, heard books
coming free of the broken shelf and smashing to the ground.
Goodbye, Treade. I never had to leave you after all.
I jerked to a stop.
There was a hand around my wrist.

The Lake and the Library is visually interesting with relatable characters, and prevailing preternatural elements. This coming of age story will appeal to viewers in the 13-25 demographic that want a supernatural fantasy without vampires or zombies.

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