Dear Agent,

ONE THOUSAND STARS THAT BIND is a gender-bent YA alt-history retelling of ALADDIN, set in communist, steampunk'd Romania during an era where the country's leaders have to make a history-changing decision: remain under communist rule, or embrace democracy.

Seventeen-year-old Alina lives on the streets of Bucharest, stealing what’s needed to survive. With no home and no family, she daydreams about life within the Palace of Parliament, where worries become the thought of yesterday, and luxury is as normal as the rising sun. Within those palace walls, eighteen-year-old Iulian is heir to Nicolae Ceausescu, leader of the Romanian communist party. But he wants nothing to do with his father’s views, expectations, or even the place they call home—to Iulian, it’s a prison.

When Alina is caught stealing, she’s given a choice—retrieve a cursed oil lamp, or be sent to a labor camp for her crimes. Valuing even her impoverished life, she accepts. The lamp in question is believed to hold a mistic tigan, or mystic gypsy; a tribe of people who have the ability to control the senses, but are bound to an object with the abuse of such powers—if you believe the folklore, that is. And folklore becomes reality when Alina awakens Gypsy, the a-gender tigan bound to the lamp, and she becomes their new master. Gypsy knows a tigan’s soul is unable to pass onto the afterlife until they fulfill the desire of their master’s heart, and they believe this means making the prince fall in love with Alina. Although she may not realize it yet, Alina’s true heart desire is much deeper than that— it’s saving her country from the squalor she’s lived her entire life in. Iulian will soon have the power to do so, but to utilize it, he’ll need the proper persuasion. He'll need Alina.

The dual POV follows Alina and Iulian on their intertwining journeys—one to escape Romania, the other to save her—and the budding romance that grows in between. ONE THOUSAND STARS THAT BIND is complete at 73,600 words. As a full-blooded and proud Romanian, I’m excited to present a story that shines a twisted light on a dark time in the country’s history, while praising its unique cultural facets. And as the Creative Director for REUTS Publications, a boutique publisher of young adult and new adult fiction, I know that Romania and its culture are often underrepresented in YA.


Thank you for your time and consideration,