"We can't be together." he said sorrowfully. "The others will not understand."
"To hell with what they think!" She cried. "I love you, and that's all that matters!"
Boundary is a supernatural romance novel written by Santonian author Isidora Nolan, published in 1341. It is the first book in a series of the same name, and stars Natalie Abate, who moves from Santonia to Fynwik, Stolisia. Natalie then falls in love with a demon who calls himself Jason, whose mere presence puts her at great risk.
The book received mixed reviews. Some praised the likeable characters and tone, while others criticised story structure and certain themes and plot points.
Despite this, the book reached first on the bestsellers list within 3 weeks, and remained on the list even after being dethroned for many months after. With the release of each of its sequels it returned to the top of the charts.
It was a rough time, I think. Just a deep funk. I'd graduated with a degree in teaching, but there were no jobs in my field. I was looking, but they simply weren't there, yknow? You end up worrying, am I not looking hard enough? Did I do something wrong? Am I not cut out for this job that I've spent five years working for? And as I slept on a friend's couch after another long day of trying to find some employment, anything, I thought, I'll write out how I feel. It'll be cathartic.
Nolan had recently graduated from a Santonian university with a degree in teaching, but had been unable to find employment in the field and had to resort to "couch-surfing". During this period of her life, she wrote Boundary as a way to vent her hopes and frustrations, using it as a way to cope. After having a job application accepted, she finished the story and deemed it complete. According to Nolan, she then gave a copy of the story to one of the friends who'd let her sleep on their couch, as a sort of thank-you. This friend then supposedly submitted the story to a local publishing house that specialised in supernatural romance, where it was soon reviewed and accepted as viable. Nolan only found out when she opened their acceptance letter, which had been delivered to the friends address.
She agreed to continue forward despite not being ready for it, and edited the novel to fix issues and emphasise some things. According to her, now that she'd found a way out of her funk, she hoped her novel might help others do the same.
I think any outsider will see themselves in Jason, though hopefully not as a one to one parallel! We've all had times where we felt shunned by others, felt as though our needs were ignored for some "greater good", and Jason was a way for me say, it's okay. Someone will see you, and they'll know how you feel. You won't always be so alone!
The reaction was very mixed across the board. Some outlets praised the characters for their realism and relatability, viewing them as excellent role models for people dealing with a struggle to belong. Other outlets agreed with the message of acceptance but criticised the 'vehicle' for that message, particulary in the character of Jason. Said a Stolisian outlet,
It's all well and good to suggest that trust and acceptance are paramount in a fulfilling life, and I wholeheartedly agree with that notion. But to deliver it through the story of a human girl falling in love with a demon? I struggle to understand that. It makes me beg the question of if the author has ever visited Stolisia or spoken to a Stolisian, or knows anything of the genuine danger that demons pose, and the blood on their hands. I worry that someone young and impressionable could read this and end up seriously injured by following the letter of her message, not the spirit.
Stolisians in particular found the book to be in poor taste, as did some southern Divinitians, but other countries found it far more enjoyable. It was wildly popular in Nolan's native Santonia, as well as countries like Maleli.
Boundary has something of an awkward reputation as a trashy novel with an enthusiastic fanbase, who are willing to defend its issues to the death. Were the fanbase removed from the equation, no easy feat, it would simply exist as an unprecedented high point for the genre of supernatural romance.