"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Alaya Johnson Feature

Magic and economics clash in a new fantasy novel about island culture.

By Jonathan Messinger
Time Out Chicago
PEARL DIVER Alaya Johnson dug her inspiration from Japan’s island culture.

Thirteen-year-old Lana wakes up one morning to find she’s in the throes of her first period. She’s filled with all of the expected emotions: fear, dread, anticipation, nervousness. But instead of, say, pilfering her mother’s supply of pads, she must dive deep into the ocean and pluck a jewel from the mouth of a rare fish to avoid bringing disgrace to her family.

You know, it’s one of those stories.
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