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First Look: Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap


Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap is a modern re-telling of Tristan and Iseult, one of the original star-crossed lovers. Does that mean you can expect kissing? Absolutely. Emotions? Of course. Tissues? Most likely. It comes out March 12, 2019 but we’re sharing a first look at the debut below! Read on for the prologue. (Isn’t that first line so good?)






A romance—Mrs. Dwyer taught us this in sophomore year English class, when I was still going to my old school—a romance is more like a fable. It traffics in ideals, mysteries, and obsessions. Grasp too hard at the characters in a romance, and they’ll float away from you, become abstract, drift in the direction of myth.


Believe me, I don’t feel mythic at the moment. Sisyphus aside, my unchanging daily routine, here at this desk, is the opposite of mythic. My narrative perch, Mrs. Dwyer might have called it, and I do feel perched here in time, a bird at rest without an impulse to migrate farther.


Back then, though, everything was different, I was different, and I suppose I did feel romantic: in the common, everyday use of the word, red roses and poetry, but also in the academic sense, wrapped as I was in the myth of my own story. Tristan always felt that way to me, too. Tristan, so beautiful his edges were blurred, like he didn’t quite exist in reality. Tristan the Ideal, Tristan the Mystery, Tristan the Obsession.  I saw it all in that very first moment I set eyes on him, when I wanted to swallow his pain, hold it in my mouth like a hard candy, let it melt until it was part of me.


Maybe that is what happened. Maybe that was the cause of all the trouble that followed.


I’m getting ahead of myself.


Mrs. Dwyer also taught us that the word novel comes from the Italian for “new little story,” something fresh, something that, at the time the word was coined, no one had ever tried before. So you see, this can’t be a novel, because it’s not about anything new. It’s about the oldest thing in the world. It’s about love.



Izzy + Tristan Cover

Izzy, a practical-minded teen who intends to become a doctor, isn’t happy about her recent move from the Lower East Side across the river to Brooklyn. She feels distanced from her family, especially her increasingly incomprehensible twin brother, as well as her new neighborhood.


And then she meets Tristan.


Tristan is a chess prodigy who lives with his aunt and looks up to his cousin, Marcus, who has watched out for him over the years. When he and Izzy meet one fateful night, together they tumble into a story as old and unstoppable as love itself.