Between the Stars and Sky

Between the Stars and Sky
David James
DJ Publishing (2014)
Between the Stars and Sky is a vivid contemporary novel from Young Adult author David James.
In the small, lakeside town of Huntington, the Firelight Festival marks the end of summer. A time to laugh, to live, to love. And for Jackson Grant, it is a chance to begin again.
But there is a darker side to the Firelight Festival, a deadly tradition known as the Firelight Fall. A secret game. A legendary lie. A test of bravery. Those who fall risk everything, and Jackson is on the edge. Until he meets a girl who pushes him over.
For Jackson, falling for Sarah Blake might be as dangerous as jumping in the Firelight Fall. As summer burns away, Jackson and Sarah ignite an unstoppable love game. For her, his heart is on fire. And soon, Sarah shows him life, saves him from loss, and opens his heart to an infinite and wild love found between the stars and sky.
Lyrical and deeply romantic, Between the Stars and Sky is a poetic and heart-stopping read for fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and E. Lockhart.




"The writing is beautiful, lyrical and the characters well- drawn." - J.H. Trumble, author of Don't Let Me Go


"Breath-takingly lyrical, heart-breakingly real, Between the Stars and the Sky left me wanting only one thing: more.” - Joy N. Hensley, author of Rites of Passage


"I am in awe of David James." - Nyrae Dawn, bestselling author of Charade


"I really don't have enough words to express how amazing this book is. I give Light of the Moon five stars. And that's because I can't give it ten." - Emma Hart, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Love Game


"Light of the Moon is beautifully poetic in its writing. David James has crafted a tale that is completely mesmerizing with the blending of two worlds. His artful merging of two strong characters will leave you dying for more." - Helen Boswell, author of Mythology


“David not only embraces but exceeds in his writing about diversity.” - teacups&bookends, blog


"The Warrior's Code blends action and drama perfectly, creating a truly unbeatable story." - Christopher Waltz, author of Ivy League




Light of the Moon Book 1

The Witch’s Curse Book 1.1

The Warrior’s Code Book 1.2

Shades of the Stars: An Anthology Book 1.5

Shadow of the Sun Book 2 Coming Soon


Between the Stars and Sky


“One day we’ll find the place where love is infinite.”


Jackson Grant is on the edge-

of everything.

Life. Loss. Love.

His hope is flickering-

until he finds a girl who ignites him.

A girl who shows him life,

saves him from loss,

and opens his heart to an infinite love

found between the stars and sky.


Between the Stars and Sky

a novel

David James


Copyright © 2014 David Knapp

Published by DJ Publishing


All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews when credit is given to the author by name.


First hardcover, September 2014

First e-format, September 2014


Cover design by Keary Taylor

Font by Vanessa Bays

Edited by Annie Burns


The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Knapp, David, 1986-

Between the Stars and Sky / by David James. - 1st ed.


Printed in the United States of America


To those who want to find an infinite love-

and to those who already have.


“The world only exists in your eyes.

You can make it as big or as small as you want.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald





AN ECHO of that day beat in my heart forever; night and day and back again, as though the world stopped and started the very last night of the Firelight Festival.

“The festival is a love story,” she said, always.

Even now I wonder if the story was real.

If Mom told the truth or lied.

If she knew.

“Did you ever jump?” I asked her.

She nodded. “Just once.”

“When I’m old enough, I will. I’ll jump.”

“No,” she told me. “You won’t.”

“Why?” She said, “I won’t be there to catch you.”

Chapter One




But fear is a silly thing, and I can do nothing to stop the way it looks or holds. Against fear, we are powerless if we cannot look it in the eye. Helpless, if we cannot step past the bitter lies of our nightmares into the sweet reckonings of our truths.

I want to face my fear.

But I can’t.

Fear is everything-

I am-

not. Because right where I should be, I am lost. They tell me this is normal: to lose a life and fall back into the past as if it were the future you always wanted. It is okay to suffer when you have lost. They tell me these feeling are temporary, fleeting. Soon, these feelings will be as lost as I am now.

“It’s fine,” Dad says. He smiles but his eyes can’t seem to find mine. “Sometimes we all need a year to restart. Sometimes we need more. Get lost and find yourself again. You are so strong.”

Dull words and contradictions. Empty promises, false hopes that have never met an action. And I can’t help but feel that my dad has no idea what it means to be lost to a world that cannot find a place for him, desperately wanting to be a part of it.

“It will be fine,” he says again.

He doesn’t tell me I’ll love again.

He doesn’t tell me to forget.

I smile. I lie. “I know. I just need some time to think.”

Dad puts a hand on my shoulder, his arm falls around me. Even though he is twice my age, my arms are twice his size; I could break him like this. “You’re always inside your head, Jackson. Just like her. Ever since you were a boy, you’ve lived inside yourself instead of really living at all. Think about that, son.”

“Everyone thinks,” I tell him.

“Not like you. You let your thoughts consume you, Jackson,” he says, and even though he smiles, it is tilted sad at the sides. As his eyes search mine, I realize this: I could never break him, but with the right words he could break me. He could shatter me. “Apply for jobs while you’re up north. Something in the city, maybe. It’s been over a year since you graduated high school; you don’t want to lose any more time.”

I don’t know what I want.

But I will not change the way I think. Mom thought the same as me, and in that small token I want to keep this part of her just for myself.

You are poetry, Jackson
, she said to me.

You are the life you choose.

And make yours poetry.

“I’ll apply for jobs,” I tell him, as though the thought had not occurred to me every night since I lost-


Suddenly, I am furious.

I am sad.

And I realize I cannot tell the difference between the two. That maybe I’m even more lost than I thought.

I cannot hear the poetry anymore.

“You’ll be helping Miles with the store?”

“Yes, Dad.” I lie. I haven’t talked with Miles in years, not since we left that tiny town, and I don’t know how to start now. “He said I’d be helping with the inventory, mostly.”

“Good, good.” He squeezes my arm. “That will be good for you, I think. Enough for now. Teach you real work before you can find that new job. Employers like a man who knows what it’s like to work.”

“I know.” There is guilt laced deep within my words, like it’s my fault this happened. My fault that I don’t care about everything my Dad does. My fault I am young and broken, and want more than anything to fit back together but don’t know how.

I don’t know.

Too quiet, like a stumble of words falling out before they were meant to, he whispers, “I’m proud of you.” And maybe he is, maybe he thinks I’m everything he’s ever wanted in a son because he has never seen me. But even so, there is a wall between us that cannot be taken down, a forever hymn of love and loss that began with Mom and grows stronger each day.

We don’t know how to be without her.

We talk.

We hug.

“It will be okay,” he says. “I’ll try and visit but-”

“I get it,” I tell him.

We lie.

“Be... Be...”

“Safe?” I try, because I know all the things he wants to say but can’t. All the things he doesn’t want to remember I was before, after, during.

“Yes,” he agrees. “Be safe.”

And as we say goodbye and the door closes behind me, I wonder which parts of the conversation were actually true. It doesn’t matter that I want desperately to find a place where I belong so I can start my life, or that I can’t stop thinking about all the days I have lost not knowing who I am or who I want to be.

Parents don’t listen or care about that stuff, not really. They smile. Love the best they can. And tell you your personal life can be sorted out in the meantime. In the future, with a job and a reason for existing, you’ll know exactly who you are.

Money matters; it is security.

A job matters; it has protection.

But no one tells you that money doesn’t last forever and no job is protected when no one needs it. No one tells you that when you lie to your parent about getting a summer job near the family lake house, they won’t know and it doesn’t matter. They won’t check because they don’t care enough to know. No one tells you that if you leave town, your broken heart stays broken. No one tells you that you’ll never forget love even if you want to, even if the memory of it kills you every single day and night.

And I refuse to believe my reason for existing is nothing more than a job that will eventually eat me from the inside out. I want a different reason. One that is painful and wonderful and exciting and forever. Before, I thought I had found that reason, but now even Natalie is gone and I am alone. And I am left with what thoughts my Dad presents me, pretending security is more important than love, protection more important than not being able to breathe from laughing too hard.

But everyone lies.

For some, ignorance is bliss.

And I am afraid my reason for living will leave me again. For me, the unknown is between wrong and right, between what is and what should be. And I fear life will always taste bitter, a place on the edge of freedom.

A half life.

Between a truth and a lie.

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