Set against the changing terrain of middle-class values and the siren calls of art and puberty, The Shark Curtain invites us into Lily Asher’s wonderful, terrible world. The older of two girls growing up in suburban Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1960s, her inner life stands in quirky contrast to the loving but dysfunctional world around her.

Often misunderstood by her flawed but well-intentioned parents, teenage Lily orbits their tumultuous love affair, embracing what embraces her back: the ghost of her drowned dog, a lost aunt, numbers, shoe boxes, werewolves, rituals, and stories she pens herself (including one about a miscarried sibling she dubs “Frog Boy”). With “regular” visits from a wisecracking Jesus, an affectionate but combative friendship is born–a friendship that strains Lily’s grasp of reality as much as her patience.

From the violence of a peeping tom and catching Mom in flagrante delicto with the neighbor to jungles in her closet, butlers under her bed, and barking in public, Lily struggles to balance her family’s expectations with the visions that continue to isolate her.

“Brilliant, engaging, engulfing, fulfilling, beautiful…  The Shark Curtain will turn you inside out and make you see the world differently.  As well you should.  As well should we all.  Because life isn’t about having the answers, it’s about grappling with the questions.  Chris Scofield’s fantastically fantastic novel pins the tail on the donkey with a pneumatic nail gun—I absolutely insist that you read this book!”

–Garth Stein, author of Racing In the Rain

The Shark Curtain is a full-on adventure tale of the best kind. The heroine, Lily Asher, is a ‘weirdo’—a sweet, troubled, creative teenager who lives life through the lens of her hyper-imagination. Regularly visited by the ghost of her dead dog as well as a tedious and melancholy Jesus, Lily struggles with her own bizarre behavior, puberty, and love for her dysfunctional family. The Ashers are going through what we all went through in the 1960s: the Vietnam War, race riots, the white patriarchy, bullies, death, and too much Valium. It’s Lily’s unusual voice that brings the story all together. Chris Scofield’s The Shark Curtain is a shout-out to all us grrrrrls. Hooray!”

–Tom Spanbauer, founder of Dangerous Writing

“You’ve never met anyone like The Shark Curtain’s Lily Asher. With Jesus as her smart-aleck companion, a dead dog as her guide, a sister who thinks she’s a ‘weirdo,’ and parents absorbed in their own drama, Lily leads you wildly through her imagination, her dreams, and the crazy roller coaster of her teenage years. With deep wit and endless invention, Chris Scofield has created a girl—and a story—unlike any other. Read this book and experience its wonder.”

–Miriam Gershow, author of The Local News

“In The Shark Curtain, Chris Scofield offers us a rare pleasure: a startling and original heroine, Lily Asher, whose quest to understand and experience the world around her is second only to her journey inward, where she grapples with a menagerie of family members, animals, historical and religious figures, and pop cultural icons in a series of both real and imaginary encounters. These twisted and sometimes absurd relationships allow Lily to grasp fleeting and brilliant truths about the human condition, the problem of death, what it means to be ‘crazy,’ what it means to be ‘normal,’ and our very real need for love and acceptance, no matter who we are.”

–J.L. Powers, author of This Thing Called the Future

Author’s Statement

Discussion Guide

THE SHARK CURTAIN, A young adult novel by Chris Scofield.
Publication Date: April 7, 2015, 356 pages
Age 12 +, Trade Paperback Original, $13.95, ISBN: 978-1-61775-313-8,
E-book, $13.95, E-ISBN: 978-1-61775-369-5
Review copies upon request. Digital review copies via Edelweiss.