YA Book Releases Next Week (March 17-23)

It's a new column of my blog. I'm going to present to you a set of young adult books every week that come out on the following week. They are going to be in order, from the less interesting to the one that piqued my curiosity the most. The one that impressed me the least is the first and the one I think the best is the last. Of course, it's just my personal opinion, sort of a guideline, I have to put it into order somehow. So here is the first 9 books that will release next week.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 3/18/2014
Pages: 384
Age range: 13 years


There are no men in Claysoot.
There are boys, but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday.
The villagers call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby is prepared to meet his fate. But when he finds a strange note from his mother, he begins questioning everything he's been told about the Heist . . . and what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds his primitive town, which no one can cross and survive. With no answers in sight, Gray must decide whether he should wait to be taken—or risk everything on the hope of the other side.


Marie Lu

“An action-packed thrill ride from beginning to end. I devoured this in one sitting and might have gnawed a nail or two off from all the excitement. More, please!”


“An action-packed, emotionally charged, plot-twisting adventure.”  

About the Author

Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. She is also the author of Taken.

More by this Author

  1. Stolen: A Taken Novella
  2. Frozen

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   Publisher: Little, Brown Books for                     Young Readers
       Publication date: 3/18/2014

                       Pages: 288

         Age range: 14 - 17 Years


Sixteen-year-old Moe's Shoplifters Anonymous meetings are usually punctuated by the snores of an old man and the whining of the world's unhappiest housewife. Until the day that Tabitha Foster and Elodie Shaw walk in. Tabitha has just about everything she wants: money, friends, popularity, a hot boyfriend who worships her...and clearly a yen for stealing. So does Elodie, who, despite her goodie-two-shoes attitude pretty much has "klepto" written across her forehead in indelible marker. But both of them are nothing compared to Moe, a bad girl with an even worse reputation.
Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe: a beauty queen, a wallflower, and a burnout-a more unlikely trio high school has rarely seen. And yet, when Tabitha challenges them to a steal-off, so begins a strange alliance linked by the thrill of stealing and the reasons that spawn it.


Tavi Gevinson

"I want to build a shrine to this book. It explores and debunks high school clichés, and understands the language only teenage feelings speak. Its three narrators make a unique story not only exciting to experience vicariously, but relatable. It will sit on my shelf next to a My So-Called Life boxset and copies of The Virgin Suicides and Girl, Interrupted." 

Anna Farris
"Hilarious and wise, Trinkets brought me straight back to those hellish days of high school. I fell in love with these three girls--their individual struggles are so real and wonderfully touching."

About the Author

Kirsten Smith first began writing poetry while attending Occidental College but has made a career out of writing screenplays. Her screenwriting and producing credits include 10 Things I Hate About You, Legally Blonde, The House Bunny, She's the Man, and Whip It. She is the author of The Geography of Girlhood and lives in Los Angeles, California.  

Read an Excerpt  


“Her low self-esteem is my good fortune.”


This Must Be the Place

The people who say Portland is a place
where hipster thirtysomethings go to retire
clearly have never been to Lake Oswego,
my new hometown,
the burb of all burbs,
a suburban utopia of Audi-driving type As,
a place so white they call it “Lake No Negro,”
a place where dads go
when they don’t care that their kid
was happier living in Idaho;
a place for dads to go when
they’re hoping a constant downpour of rain
will wash away the past like it wasn’t even there
and all they can see is a new job
and a pretty new wife
and a place
to send your daughter to be educated properly
and ignored resoundingly.

Old and New

Of the six months I’ve been here,
the first two were friendless
until I met Rachelle.
She needed a bestie and I needed somebody.
I met her by joining Yearbook,
which is a shortcut to friendship
if you’re one of the new people.
I’m new enough so no one knows my name,
but I’m old enough to realize who everyone is.
I’m new enough not to understand
why they call Ken Headley “SpoogeBob,”
but I’m old enough to have heard that
Mr. Hart had to leave school
because he made a pass at Martin Pierce
in the bio lab.
I’m new enough to be clueless about
what the Interplanetary Analysis Club actually does,
but old enough to realize
if there’s any guy
any girl
would kill to be with,
it’s Brady Finch.

Human Anatomy

Brady is by his locker
and as he’s reaching up to get something,
the word sinew comes to mind—
probably because we just learned it
in our human anatomy discussion in Biology.
I’m going to tell Mr. Lopez
that if he wants people
to really appreciate human anatomy,
he should show a slide of Brady Finch’s forearm
while saying the word sinew
and I bet every girl’s C-minus would
suddenly sprout into a B-plus.
Brady zips up his backpack
and slams his locker shut
and his sinew comes down
and curls around its rightful place in the world:
the shoulder of Tabitha Foster.



I wonder what the point of being quote-unquote popular is, since sometimes it’s a highly annoying thing to be. For instance, idiots and plebeians constantly come up to you and invade your space with inane greetings, bids for attention, and pleas for friendship.
“Hey, Tabitha…. How’s it going?… Whassup?… Love your earrings….” Etc. Etc. Barf. Space invasions are draining.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I like it that people know me and I have the perks of getting away with whatever I want, but most of the time I would appreciate an iota of privacy.
Right now is one of the few times I actually receive said iota—hanging out in the bathroom with Kayla and Taryn. Sure, they talk about ridiculous things, but at least when they’re looking in the mirror, they’re not paying attention to me.
“I did an hour and a half of cardio last night,” Kayla offers, pushing her long black hair out of her eyes. Asian girls are the luckiest when it comes to their hair. They barely have any on their bodies, and then they have these supershiny, hassle-free manes.
“I’m pretty sure Coke Zero makes you constipated,” Taryn says, clutching her stomach.
A minute later Kayla squints at a bubbly blonde exiting the bathroom. “Serena Bell’s on the Pill,” she prattles. “That’s why her boobs are so humongo.”
“Mine are just a God-given gift,” Taryn says, fluffing her cleavage out of her low-cut Juicy Couture top. It’s true; her C-cups are an asset, and she sure as shit uses them as one.
For once Kayla and Taryn aren’t barraging me with questions like “How’s Brady?” and “What are we doing tonight?” because they’re busy reapplying their makeup and primping and making faces at themselves in the mirror.
I’m a secret connoisseur of Mirror Faces. Every girl’s is different. My mom’s is a smoky glance, eyes half shut, all sexy and mysterious. Kayla puckers her lips like she’s making a kiss, sucking in her cheeks. Taryn tilts her chin down, with a saucy little half smile, angled in a way so she looks ten pounds lighter. Too bad none of them can pull it off in real life. That’s what sucks about a Mirror Face; you make it because it’s how you want other people to see you, but you’re the only person who actually gets to.
This is possibly a topic worthy of the LOHS blog, but who has time. Just because Ms. Hoberman gave me an A in Creative Writing last semester, it doesn’t mean I should be wasting my time blogging. Blogging is for people who don’t have social lives. Besides, Ms. Hoberman gives everybody an A. Hence, my signing up for her Shakespeare class this semester. The best thing is the field trips, where you get to hang out with your friends under the guise of extra credit. This year we only get a nighttime trip to Northwest Classical Theatre to see a play, but next year, when we’re seniors, we go to Ashland for the weekend for the Shakespeare Festival. As in, an entire weekend where you get to hook up with your boyfriend and get drunk, and your parents foot the bill for the whole thing because they think you’re “learning.”
As for Brady, I’ve never seen his Mirror Face. His Everyday Face is pretty gorgeous, though. He has dimples and thick blond hair that he wears a little shaggy in the most adorable way, and he has moments of being truly charming. He’s not a big believer in deep conversations, but what guy is? And really, what’s the point? It’s easier not to have deep conversations. You end up talking endlessly about your feelings, not his, and then exposing yourself too much until you finally arrive at a place of inevitable heartbreak and disappointment.
Kayla finishes putting on her opalescent pink Dior lip gloss complete with plumper. Her lips look blindingly sticky.
“Can we go?” I ask. Marcia Abrahams keeps looking over at me, and I have a hunch she’s gathering the courage to come over and ask me what I’m wearing to Spring Fling. She always asks me what I’m wearing, like clockwork, eleven weeks before a dance, and then somehow ends up wearing something almost identical. Imitation is supposed to be a compliment, but copycats are annoying and should be ignored whenever you see them plotting their space invasion.
That said, one advantage of being on a high rung of the Lakers social ladder is that you and your like-minded peers get to have your lockers right next to one another. I don’t know how it happens that way, but it seems like the primo real estate always belongs to A-listers.
Kayla and Taryn and I saunter up to our bank of lockers to find Brady and his boys already there. Brady is getting a vitamin supplement out of his locker. He’s very into “peak performance.”
Jason Baines asks him, “Where were you last night?”
“Yeah,” Noah Simos adds. “You never showed up at Ferber’s.”
“Didn’t your mom tell you?” Brady says. “She had me come over to your house so she could suck my dick.”
Have you ever noticed how boys love making jokes about sleeping with each other’s mothers? Either that or discussing how gay the other person is. If you have a penis, you apparently possess an endless supply of this type of unfunny comedy.
Noah punches him, and Brady laughs, slinging his arm around me. I smell his D&G cologne. It isn’t entirely unpleasant. I look up at him like, You are the most charming person I know, and your arm around my shoulder makes me happier than anything in the entire world.
“What time should I pick you up tonight?” he asks, kissing me.
“Like, nine?” I say. He may be kind of a D-bag, but he does have nice lips. And he’s six two, which is good, since I’m an inch or so taller than most of the girls in my grade. Sometimes people ask if I’ve ever modeled. My mom took me to get professionally photographed once, but I hated it. It was all hot lights and faking it, and it got boring fast. Although, in a weird way, I guess you could say that’s what I’m doing now, looking up at Brady and playing the part of Perfect Girlfriend. Either that or I’m giving him my very own Mirror Face.


I know I wasn’t directly responsible for Lindsay Manatore having to run track with one half sweatpants, one half short shorts, but I probably should have stopped Alex from cutting the leg off them with Janet’s pocketknife. But in a way I’m glad I didn’t, because it was funny. Anytime we crossed Lindsay’s path on the track, I would start to sing, “Who wears short shorts?”
Alex befriended me in the first place because she thinks I’m funny. That, and she assumed because I dress the way I do, I belonged in their social circle. I told her, “Oh no, I just have a terrible fashion sense.” Next thing I know, I was being introduced by Alex to her friends as her hilarious, sarcastic new friend Moe. That was at the beginning of freshman year, and that’s the person I’ve stayed ever since. Before that, I was friends with losers, but I’ve got to say being with the tough kids or the “burnouts” or whatever you’d call them has its perks because no one effs with you. The problem is people mostly avoid you because they assume you’re dangerous or you’ll beat the crap out of them, so you don’t really have a chance to mingle a whole lot.
The only person who sees something close to the real me is Noah. He probably would not admit that in HIS journal. But he’s a popular kid, and those kids don’t even keep journals. Their lives revolve around status updates, and by status I mean STATUS. He hangs out with people like Tabitha Foster and Brady Finch and Jason Baines. Noah only talks to me after school when we’re alone, then he leaves before my aunt gets back from work. Or I leave before his mom gets home.
Yesterday I waved at him when I saw him walking into his house with his parents. He didn’t wave back. I heard his mom say, “Who’s that?” His response: “I don’t know.” Hey, asshole, if you’re going to pretend not to know me, that’s fine, but I live next door to you. Couldn’t you just say, “I think she lives next door to us”? I don’t need him to proclaim undying love for me or tell the whole world that we make out and sometimes do even more than that, but at least admit I’m a person you’re familiar with. Douche.



“Please tell me it’s not gonna rain later.” Kayla points, looking at the gray sky as we walk up the perfectly manicured walkway to Taryn’s front door.
“Sorry. It’s gonna rain later,” I say. It’s Portland. It rains 155 days a year.
Kayla rings the bell, which echoes out some cathedral-on-crack-style chimes. The house is a gaudy white McMansion perched right on the water in Lake Oswego. Not my taste, but in our neighborhood new money reigns supreme, and this is the perfect example of what it buys you. Taryn’s parents have oodles of fresh cash, courtesy of her dad’s sweet upper-management job at Nike and her mom’s at Wieden+Kennedy.
“I’ll drive,” Taryn offers, tossing her curly blond hair as she swings open the front door.
“I want to find something hot,” Kayla says, fingering her belly-button ring, which is proudly on display thanks to a strategically rolled-up sweatshirt, designed to show off her lean, flat stomach.
Kayla has a gym in her house, and she wears a red rubber “core bracelet” on her wrist to remind her to suck in her stomach. Her personal hero is Tracy Anderson, Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer. I’m pretty sure she owns Tracy’s entire workout wardrobe, down to the shoes. If her mom would let her, she’d probably dye her hair blond to match Tracy’s, but fortunately she realized that “blond Asian” is not the greatest look. Thanks, Bai Ling.
We reach Taryn’s red Mini, a present from her parents for the incredible accomplishment of turning sixteen. Kayla crawls into the backseat.
“Don’t you already have a closet full of hot?” I nudge her.
“Too much is never enough,” she singsongs.
Our Friday afternoon shopping excursions are a ritual. I used to love them, but then about a year ago, I started wondering if spending my dad’s cash was just another form of taking his hush money; if he didn’t have so much of it, my mom probably would have divorced him a long time ago. Every time I buy something with a fifty-dollar bill he’s given me, I’m going into greater debt with the enemy. But if it weren’t for the enemy, I guess I wouldn’t have gotten Tiffany diamond-stud earrings for Christmas last year.
We peel into the Washington Square parking lot, and Taryn does one of her typical “I need two spaces instead of one” parking jobs, nearly plowing into a guy in a wheelchair.
“Jesus!” I yell.
“Just because he’s handicapped doesn’t mean you need to put him out of his misery,” Kayla adds.
“Whatever. He’d thank me for it if he knew Macy’s doesn’t carry Miu Miu,” Taryn sniffs. She is one of those girls who live for any razzle-dazzle chance at fashionistadom and the possibility of possessing couture. Not that the Washington Square Mall is crawling with couture, but you’d be surprised at how many kids in our grade have dads with Learjets and moms who still trot out furs for parent-teacher meetings. If anyone can sniff out a thousand-dollar dress in a mall, Taryn can. She once used the bio lab tables as an impromptu fashion runway when Mr. Lopez left the room for one of his infamous fifteen-minute bathroom breaks.
Kayla starts gravitationally beelining toward Forever 21, the home of all her slut-wear. “Let’s go to Forever Twenty-One,” she says.
“We’re going to Bebe,” Taryn says firmly. Spring Fling is almost three months away, but she’s hell-bent on nabbing the perfect dress early.
“Why do you want to go to Forever Twenty-One? They print Bible verses on the bottoms of their shopping bags.” I roll my eyes.
“They do not!” Kayla gasps.
“See for yourself,” I say with a shrug.
“I’m going to Nordie’s.” I suggest it because I know neither of them will want to go there. It’s “too nineties.”
“Meet back at Yopop for fro-yo afterward?” Taryn says, and I nod.
Kayla points at the Forever 21 window. “Ooh—glitter tube top!”
“Watch out,” I say. “Total sinner wear. You might need some redemption.”
Kayla sticks out her tongue, and I can’t help but laugh. She may be a bit of a ludicrous idiot, but she’s at least somewhat trustworthy. When I drunkenly told her about my dad having an affair last year, she never mentioned it again. And in exchange, I never talk about all the slutty things she’s done with half the guys she’s done them with. Last year in Family and Consumer Science (formerly known as Home Ec), Mrs. Sykes talked about a study where girls who had good body image were more likely to abstain from sex, and girls with bad body image were more likely to be promiscuous. How weird is it that if you like your body, you don’t let anyone see it, and if you don’t like your body, you want to show it to everyone? And why wouldn’t Kayla love her body, since there isn’t an ounce of fat on it?
“See you in forty-five minutes,” Tayrn says. As they head off, I breathe a sigh of relief. I can finally do what I came here to do.


Marc and I played Rage after school. Beached Whales were exploding left and right when he started giving me shit because I hang out with dirtbags and a guy who doesn’t even acknowledge me in public. I told him I don’t need his overprotective brother speech. It’s not like his friends are a ton better, since all they do is blaze up and ride bikes. He argued with me for a while and said that’s different from actually doing bad things like tagging buildings or being mean to people or constantly partying and whatever else we do. I said it’s none of his business what we do, and besides, who else am I supposed to hang out with? So he let it drop and said he’s just looking out for me, and then he killed a shit ton of Gingers and Fattys. I was pissed until I realized that’s just what brothers do. They try to protect you from the bad guys, even in a video game.



Even if you have enough money to do what you want, it’s still fun trying to get something for free. Especially something from the Nordie’s jewelry case.
“Can I see that one?” I ask, pointing to a Maya Brenner bracelet with chunky gold chains and a little coin with small stones of turquoise and coral. The other day I saw Alexa Chung wearing it on a blog.
The despondent saleslady unlocks the case. She looks like all the gloomy weather has soaked straight through to her soul. Either that or she’s been sprayed with a little too much Eau de Homeless on her walk to work. That could bum out anybody.
“Oh, and the earrings,” I say once she plunks the charm bracelet on the velvet pad on the counter. She turns to get them.
“No, not those.” I point. “The pearl ones. And that silver bracelet with the big chain links? And can I see the gold hoops? Thanks so much.” As the saleswoman sets out one thing after another, I smile sweetly. “Do you mind getting out that pendant necklace too? Sorry.”
“Which one?” She’s starting to get confused.
“It’s so hard to make up my mind here,” I say, holding up the gold hoops. “By the way, I love your blouse. It looks amazing on you.”
“It does?” She looks down at her navy-blue sheath as if seeing herself for the first time. I feel a little guilty for preying on her insecurities, but I guess on the plus side she looks happier now than she did five minutes ago.
“Jean, there’s someone on line three for you—Eric?” a woman from the Clinique counter calls over.
From the look on Jean’s face, it’s obvious Eric has been dodging her for weeks. His favorite activities are probably Nintendo, drinking Coors, and not returning the calls of women he’s had sex with. Jean is obviously one of them. Seeing her happy face, I remember feeling that excited when Brady used to call me. Now I just feel stuck in a loop of bad chitchat and sloppy make-out sessions. Sometimes, yes, we do the actual deed, but we’re usually drunk, so I don’t even know if it qualifies. It’s basically a formula of grabs, gropes, and insertions, all leading to an inevitably brief conclusion. I wouldn’t rank it as one of my all-time favorite activities. This trip to the mall would score way higher.
“I’m with a customer. Tell him I’ll call him back,” Jean says, casting a disappointed eye my way.
“No, it’s cool.” I give her a knowing smile. “Go ahead. I’m fine.”
“I’ll be right back.” Jean nods appreciatively and goes to take the call. Jackpot.
“Hey, stranger!” Jean blurts into the phone. After a second she says, “Yeah, I love Ruth’s Chris!…” Then her shoulders slump. “I think I still have it. It was only a fifty-dollar gift certificate, though, so I’m not sure how big a dinner it will get us….”
He wants her to take him out to dinner with her gift certificate? Jesus. Jean needs to hang up on this guy and delete his number. But whatever—her low self-esteem is my good fortune. When she hangs up, I give her a little wave and say, “Thanks! I’ll come back later!” and stroll off. Leaving everything behind but the Maya Brenner bracelet.


Walking your trinket out of the store is the worst and best part. You’re about to become either a brilliant con artist or another juvenile-delinquency statistic.
I force myself to slow down and supposedly admire a pink sundress, but underneath the sleeve of my sweater, I’m covertly ripping off the price tag and tiny bar-code sensor from the bracelet, which is fastened on my wrist. I drop the tag and sensor on the floor and walk on through Sporting Goods.
Ninety seconds later, I’m at the street exit. I take a deep breath and make the final plunge through the electronic gates by the front doors—which, 87 percent of the time, are for show, but still they’re the final, exhilaratingly scary hurdle—and I push open the door. The winter air hits me like a slap of freedom.
I quicken my pace as I start toward the parking lot. I figure I’ll make a hard right in thirty feet, walk around the building, and reenter the mall near Yopop. I pull out my phone to text Kayla my ETA, and move faster and faster, freer and freer. I pick up speed and round the corner of the building, and that’s when I walk right smack into a security guard.


Blood bolts to the surface of my skin so hard it feels like my face is being pricked by a hundred little pins.
I have no freaking clue what to do, so I cover. Badly. “Oops. Sorry. I’m such a spaz—”
He smiles a slow, casual smile. A tattoo of a bobcat or some kind of jungle lion peeks out from under his collar. I stare at it. Was he my age when he decided to permanently ink himself? Was it something he did with his friends? I wonder if he regrets it.
“I’ll need you to come with me,” he says.
He chuckles a little bit. “I think you know.”
“I do?” I ask. There is literally no oxygen going in or out of my body.
“Girls who steal three-hundred-dollar bracelets aren’t as dumb as they look.”
“I didn’t steal anything.” I try to make my Mirror Face, my model face, my “you are the most charming person I know, and your arm around my shoulder makes me happier than anything in the entire world” face, but he doesn’t buy it.
“I need you to come back inside and show me what’s on your wrist.”
I have no choice. So I say, “Oh, shit! Is this what you’re talking about?” I hold out my wrist. “I totally forgot I tried it on! I’m an idiot.”
He smiles at me. Just beneath his smile, I can see the tattooed point of the bobcat’s claw, poised above his jugular.
“You may have ‘forgotten’ ”—he stresses the word, obviously not believing me—“but you still left the store without paying for it, which means you broke the law.”
When we head back inside, I try to look like nothing’s wrong, but then I see Jean standing there by the big glass doors. She’s pointing me out to her coworker and wearing a smug smile on her face. Ten minutes ago, Jean was the loser and I was the winner. Now it’s a completely different story.
“Eric is just using you for a free steak,” I snipe to Jean as we pass. Her smug smile disappears. The guard holds out his arm for me to take, and it’s almost the way a gentleman leads a lady onto the dance floor—or a bobcat drags its prey into the forest after the chase is over.


“This is what happens to princesses in real life.”


Okay, question of the day: What’s the big deal about Spring Fling? People blow hundreds of dollars on one night for a cheesy photo with a backdrop full of stars. I’ll admit the prospect of dancing to pop songs with Noah Simos isn’t the worst thing I can imagine, but it’s never actually going to happen, so there’s no use wasting time thinking about it.
Aunt B keeps telling me stories about her high school dances, which are fully boring. She keeps insisting that if I don’t go to Spring Fling I’ll regret it. She’s big on “living life to the fullest” and having “no regrets.” I always feel that’s what people who peaked in high school say. Not that it’s her fault—she didn’t plan on having to give up her life because my parents died in a random accident and she had to become guardian. Of course I have regrets, like not paying more attention to my folks when they were right in front of me, but I try not to spend too much time dwelling on it, because I was only seven when it happened. I have a few special memories I keep to myself and a few things I wish I’d done differently, like not whining about wanting a skateboard for my birthday. If I hadn’t, they probably would still be alive. But the more you think about stuff like that, the worse you feel, and the more you talk about special memories, the less special they become. Marc and I actually agree on this topic, and last year for Christmas, he gave Aunt B a T-shirt that says “No Regrets” as a kind of joke. She didn’t laugh. He said he regretted giving it to her, but she didn’t laugh at that either.

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Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 3/18/2014
Series: 100 Series
Pages: 336
Age range: 15 - 18 Years


No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.



"Dark and riveting...A mash-up of The Lord of the Flies, Across the Universe, and The Hunger Games."

The Bulletin

"Likely to be a hit with readers who want their Pretty Little Liars mixed with Lord of the Flies."  

About the Author

Kass Morgan received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's from Oxford University. She currently works as an editor and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt



The door slid open, and Clarke knew it was time to die.
Her eyes locked on the guard's boots, and she braced for the rush of fear, the flood of desperate panic. But as she rose up onto her elbow, peeling her shirt from the sweat-soaked cot, all she felt was relief.
She'd been transferred to a single after attacking a guard, but for Clarke, there was no such thing as solitary. She heard voices everywhere. They called to her from the corners of her dark cell. They filled the silence between her heartbeats. They screamed from the deepest recesses of her mind. It wasn't death she craved, but if that was the only way to silence the voices, then she was prepared to die.
She'd been Confined for treason, but the truth was far worse than anyone could've imagined. Even if by some miracle she was pardoned at her retrial, there'd be no real reprieve. Her memories were more oppressive than any cell walls.
The guard cleared his throat as he shifted his weight from side to side. "Prisoner number 319, please stand." He was younger than she'd expected, and his uniform hung loosely from his lanky frame, betraying his status as a recent recruit. A few months of military rations weren't enough to banish the specter of malnutrition that haunted the Colony's poor outer ships, Walden and Arcadia.
Clarke took a deep breath and rose to her feet.
"Hold out your hands," he said, pulling a pair of metal restraints from the pocket of his blue uniform. Clarke shuddered as his skin brushed against hers. She hadn't seen another person since they'd brought her to the new cell, let alone touched one.
"Are they too tight?" he asked, his brusque tone frayed by a note of sympathy that made Clarke's chest ache. It'd been so long since anyone but Thalia—her former cell mate and her only friend in the world—had shown her compassion.
She shook her head.
"Just sit on the bed. The doctor's on his way."
"They're doing it here?" Clarke asked hoarsely, the words scraping against her throat. If a doctor was coming, that meant they were forgoing her retrial. It shouldn't have come as a surprise. According to Colony law, adults were executed immediately upon conviction, and minors were Confined until they turned eighteen and then given one final chance to make their case. But lately, people were being executed within hours of their retrial for crimes that, a few years ago, would have been pardoned.
Still, it was hard to believe they'd actually do it in her cell. In a twisted way, she'd been looking forward to one final walk to the hospital where she'd spent so much time during her medical apprenticeship—one last chance to experience something familiar, if only the smell of disinfectant and the hum of the ventilation system—before she lost the ability to feel forever.
The guard spoke without meeting her eyes. "I need you to sit down."
Clarke took a few short steps and perched stiffly on the edge of her narrow bed. Although she knew that solitary warped your perception of time, it was hard to believe she had been here—alone—for almost six months. The year she'd spent with Thalia and their third cell mate, Lise, a hard-faced girl who smiled for the first time when they took Clarke away, had felt like an eternity. But there was no other explanation. Today had to be her eighteenth birthday, and the only present waiting for Clarke was a syringe that would paralyze her muscles until her heart stopped beating. Afterward, her lifeless body would be released into space, as was the custom on the Colony, left to drift endlessly through the galaxy.
A figure appeared in the door and a tall, slender man stepped into the cell. Although his shoulder-length gray hair partially obscured the pin on the collar of his lab coat, Clarke didn't need the insignia to recognize him as the Council's chief medical advisor. She'd spent the better part of the year before her Confinement shadowing Dr. Lahiri and couldn't count the number of hours she'd stood next to him during surgery. The other apprentices had envied Clarke's assignment, and had complained of nepotism when they discovered that Dr. Lahiri was one of her father's closest friends. At least, he had been before her parents were executed.
"Hello, Clarke," he said pleasantly, as if he were greeting her in the hospital dining room instead of a detention cell. "How are you?"
"Better than I'll be in a few minutes, I imagine."
Dr. Lahiri used to smile at Clarke's dark humor, but this time he winced and turned to the guard. "Could you undo the cuffs and give us a moment, please?"
The guard shifted uncomfortably. "I'm not supposed to leave her unattended."
"You can wait right outside the door," Dr. Lahiri said with exaggerated patience. "She's an unarmed seventeen-year-old. I think I'll be able to keep things under control."
The guard avoided Clarke's eyes as he removed the handcuffs. He gave Dr. Lahiri a curt nod as he stepped outside.
"You mean I'm an unarmed eighteen-year-old," Clarke said, forcing what she thought was a smile. "Or are you turning into one of those mad scientists who never knows what year it is?" Her father had been like that. He'd forget to program the circadian lights in their flat and end up going to work at 0400, too absorbed in his research to notice that the ship's corridors were deserted.
"You're still seventeen, Clarke," Dr. Lahiri said in the calm, slow manner he usually reserved for patients waking up from surgery. "You've been in solitary for three months."
"Then what are you doing here?" she asked, unable to quell the panic creeping into her voice. "The law says you have to wait until I'm eighteen."
"There's been a change of plans. That's all I'm authorized to say."
"So you're authorized to execute me but not to talk to me?" She remembered watching Dr. Lahiri during her parents' trial. At the time, she'd read his grim face as an expression of his disapproval with the proceedings, but now she wasn't sure. He hadn't spoken up in their defense. No one had. He'd simply sat there mutely as the Council found her parents—two of Phoenix's most brilliant scientists—to be in violation of the Gaia Doctrine, the rules established after the Cataclysm to ensure the survival of the human race. "What about my parents? Did you kill them, too?"
Dr. Lahiri closed his eyes, as if Clarke's words had transformed from sounds into something visible. Something grotesque. "I'm not here to kill you," he said quietly. He opened his eyes and then gestured to the stool at the foot of Clarke's bed. "May I?"
When Clarke didn't reply, Dr. Lahiri walked forward and sat down so he was facing her. "Can I see your arm, please?" Clarke felt her chest tighten, and she forced herself to breathe. He was lying. It was cruel and twisted, but it'd all be over in a minute.
She extended her hand toward him. Dr. Lahiri reached into his coat pocket and produced a cloth that smelled of antiseptic. Clarke shivered as he swept it along the inside of her arm. "Don't worry. This isn't going to hurt."
Clarke closed her eyes.
She remembered the anguished look Wells had given her as the guards were escorting her out of the Council chambers. While the anger that had threatened to consume her during the trial had long since burned out, thinking about Wells sent a new wave of heat pulsing through her body, like a dying star emitting one final flash of light before it faded into nothingness.
Her parents were dead, and it was all his fault.
Dr. Lahiri grasped her arm, his fingers searching for her vein. See you soon, Mom and Dad.
His grip tightened. This was it.
Clarke took a deep breath as she felt a prick on the inside of her wrist.
"There. You're all set."
Clarke's eyes snapped open. She looked down and saw a metal bracelet clasped to her arm. She ran her finger along it, wincing as what felt like a dozen tiny needles pressed into her skin.
"What is this?" she asked frantically, pulling away from the doctor.
"Just relax," he said with infuriating coolness. "It's a vital transponder. It will track your breathing and blood composition, and gather all sorts of useful information."
"Useful information for who?" Clarke asked, although she could already feel the shape of his answer in the growing mass of dread in her stomach.
"There've been some exciting developments," Dr. Lahiri said, sounding like a hollow imitation of Wells's father, Chancellor Jaha, making one of his Remembrance Day speeches. "You should be very proud. It's all because of your parents."
"My parents were executed for treason."
Dr. Lahiri gave her a disapproving look. A year ago, it would've made Clarke shrink with shame, but now she kept her gaze steady. "Don't ruin this, Clarke. You have a chance to do the right thing, to make up for your parents' appalling crime."
There was a dull crack as Clarke's fist made contact with the doctor's face, followed by a thud as his head slammed against the wall. Seconds later, the guard appeared and had Clarke's hands twisted behind her back. "Are you all right, sir?" he asked.
Dr. Lahiri sat up slowly, rubbing his jaw as he surveyed Clarke with a mixture of anger and amusement. "At least we know you'll be able to hold your own with the other delinquents when you get there."
"Get where?" Clarke grunted, trying to free herself from the guard's grip.
"We're clearing out the detention center today. A hundred lucky criminals are getting the chance to make history." The corners of his mouth twitched into a smirk. "You're going to Earth."



The Chancellor had aged. Although it'd been less than six weeks since Wells had seen his father, he looked years older. There were new streaks of gray by his temples, and the lines around his eyes had deepened.
"Are you finally going to tell me why you did it?" the Chancellor asked with a tired sigh.
Wells shifted in his chair. He could feel the truth trying to claw its way out. He'd give almost anything to erase the disappointment on his father's face, but he couldn't risk it—not before he learned whether his reckless plan had actually worked.
Wells avoided his father's gaze by glancing around the room, trying to memorize the relics he might be seeing for the last time: the eagle skeleton perched in a glass case, the few paintings that had survived the burning of the Louvre, and the photos of the beautiful dead cities whose names never ceased to send chills down Wells's spine.
"Was it a dare? Were you trying to show off for your friends?" The Chancellor spoke in the same low, steady tone he used during Council hearings, then raised an eyebrow to indicate that it was Wells's turn to talk.
"No, sir."
"Were you overcome by some temporary bout of insanity? Were you on drugs?" There was a faint note of hopefulness in his voice that, in another situation, Wells might've found amusing. But there was nothing humorous about the look in his father's eyes, a combination of weariness and confusion that Wells hadn't seen since his mother's funeral.
"No, sir."
Wells felt a fleeting urge to touch his father's arm, but something other than the handcuffs shackling his wrists kept him from reaching across the desk. Even as they had gathered around the release portal, saying their final, silent good- byes to Wells's mother, they'd never bridged the six inches of space between their shoulders. It was as if Wells and his father were two magnets, the charge of their grief repelling them apart.
"Was it some kind of political statement?" His father winced slightly, as though the thought hit him like a physical blow. "Did someone from Walden or Arcadia put you up to it?"
"No, sir," Wells said, biting back his indignation. His father had apparently spent the past six weeks trying to recast Wells as some kind of rebel, reprogramming his memories to help him understand why his son, formerly a star student and now the highest-ranked cadet, had committed the most public infraction in history. But even the truth would do little to mitigate his father's confusion. For the Chancellor, nothing could justify setting fire to the Eden Tree, the sapling that had been carried onto Phoenix right before the Exodus. Yet for Wells, it hadn't been a choice. Once he'd discovered that Clarke was one of the hundred being sent to Earth, he'd had to do something to join them. And as the Chancellor's son, only the most public of infractions would land him in Confinement.
Wells remembered moving through the crowd at the Remembrance Ceremony, feeling the weight of hundreds of eyes on him, his hand shaking as he removed the lighter from his pocket and produced a spark that glowed brightly in the gloom. For a moment, everyone had stared in silence as the flames wrapped around the tree. And even as the guards rushed forward in sudden chaos, no one had been able to miss whom they were dragging away.
"What the hell were you thinking?" the Chancellor asked, staring at him in disbelief. "You could've burned down the whole hall and killed everyone in it."
It would be better to lie. His father would have an easier time believing that Wells had been carrying out a dare. Or perhaps he could try to pretend he had been on drugs. Either of those scenarios would be more palatable to the Chancellor than the truth—that he'd risked everything for a girl.
The hospital door closed behind him but Wells's smile stayed frozen in place, as if the force it had taken to lift the corners of his mouth had permanently damaged the muscles in his face. Through the haze of drugs, his mother had probably thought his grin looked real, which was all that mattered. She'd held Wells's hand as the lies poured out of him, bitter but harmless. Yes, Dad and I are doing fine. She didn't need to know that they'd barely exchanged more than a few words in weeks. When you're better, we'll finish Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. They both knew that she'd never make it to the final volume.
Wells slipped out of the hospital and started walking across B deck, which was mercifully empty. At this hour, most people were either at tutorials, work, or at the Exchange. He was supposed to be at a history lecture, normally his favorite subject. He'd always loved stories about ancient cities like Rome and New York, whose dazzling triumphs were matched only by the magnitude of their downfalls. But he couldn't spend two hours surrounded by the same tutorial mates who had filled his message queue with vague, uncomfortable condolences. The only person he could talk to about his mother was Glass, but she'd been strangely distant lately.
Wells wasn't sure how long he'd been standing outside the door before he realized he'd arrived at the library. He allowed the scanner to pass over his eyes, waited for the prompt, and then pressed his thumb against the pad. The door slid open just long enough for Wells to slip inside and then closed behind him with a huffy thud, as if it had done Wells a great favor by admitting him in the first place.
Wells exhaled as the stillness and shadows washed over him. The books that been evacuated onto Phoenix before the Cataclysm were kept in tall, oxygen-free cases that significantly slowed the deterioration process, which is why they had to be read in the library, and only then for a few hours at a time. The enormous room was hidden away from the circadian lights, in a state of perpetual twilight.
For as long as he could remember, Wells and his mother had spent Sunday evenings here, his mother reading aloud to him when he was little, then reading side by side as he got older. But as her illness progressed and her headaches grew worse, Wells had started reading to her. They'd just started volume two of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the evening before she was admitted to the hospital.
He wove through the narrow aisles toward the English Language section and then over to History, which was tucked into a dark back corner. The collection was smaller than it should've been. The first colonial government had arranged for digital text to be loaded onto Phoenix, but fewer than a hundred years later, a virus wiped out most of the digital archives, and the only books left were those in private collections—heirlooms handed down from the original colonists to their descendants. Over the past century, most of the relics had been donated to the library.

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date3/18/2014
Pages: 400
Age range: 14 - 17 Years


Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.
A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, a visor, and a wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.
Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father's unexpected death, Regan can't bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.
Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it's addictive and dangerous—Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty . . . a decision that will affect the lives of millions.
Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.


Sophie Jordan

A tense read full of twists, mystery and romance. Be ready for a mind-trip! ELUSION will leave you breathless!

Elizabeth Norris

Alluring, tense and mysterious, ELUSION will pull you into its reality and you won’t want it to let go. With plot twists you’ll never see coming, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.

Meet the Author

Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam met when Claudia edited Cheryl's previous novels, Learning to Swim and The Pretty One. Claudia works as an editor in New York, but she's also the author of several books for tweens and teens, including the In or Out series and the mash-up Romeo & Juliet & Vampires. They liked working together so much that they decided to cowrite a bunch of things, including movie proposals and TV sitcom scripts. And then one day they had the idea for Elusion, and the rest is the future.
Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam met when Claudia edited Cheryl's previous novels, Learning to Swim and The Pretty One. Claudia works as an editor in New York, but she's also the author of several books for tweens and teens, including the In or Out series and the mash-up Romeo & Juliet & Vampires. They liked working together so much that they decided to cowrite a bunch of things, including movie proposals and TV sitcom scripts. And then one day they had the idea for Elusion, and the rest is the future.

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher 
Publication date: 3/18/2014
Pages: 352

Age range: 14 - 17 Years


In Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery, sixteen-year-old Angie Chapman must piece together the story of her kidnapping and abuse. Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing—and ultimately empowering—page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.


Lauren Myracle

“Unflinchingly honest and brilliantly conceived. This book will haunt you.”

ALA Booklist


Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Readers...will certainly find themselves emotionally involved in [Angie’s] story frombeginning to end.”

Cinda Williams Chima

“A story of survival and resilience that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.”  

Meet the Author

Liz Coley's short fiction has appeared in Cosmos magazine and speculative fiction anthologies. Her passions beyond reading and writing include singing, photography, and baking. She plays competitive tennis locally in Ohio to keep herself fit and humble.
With a background in science, Liz follows her interest in understanding "the way we work" down many interesting roads. Pretty Girl-13's journey into the perilous world of dissociative identity disorder is one of them.

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Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 3/18/2014
Pages: 320
Edition: Reprint Edition
Age range: 12 - 17 Years


My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

Meet the Author

Karen Healey is the author of the Aurealis winner and William C. Morris Debut Award finalist Guardian of the Dead, The Shattering, and When We Wake. She technically lives in New Zealand, but actually lives on the internet. You can find her at www.karenhealey.com.        

Read an Excerpt



My name is Tegan Oglietti. One of my ancestors was a highwayman, and another was a prince. Two were Olympic medalists, three were journalists, half a dozen were chefs, a whole bunch were soldiers, and a lot were housewives who didn’t get a quarter of the credit they deserved.
I’ve been thinking about inheritance a lot lately, about what we make, about what makes us, about the legacies we give those who come after us. Well, I would, wouldn’t I?
We all begin with our past.
That last day, I was running late for the train, and I almost didn’t stop to say good-bye. But Mum called me into the kitchen, where she was working on an experiment for her little restaurant.
“Ricotta and beef ravioli,” she said, waving a laden fork at me. “Open your mouth.”
I did. The pasta was light and silky, and although I prefer cheeses with more flavor, I had to admit the ricotta added something to the texture.
“Good?” said Mum, quick dark eyes moving over my face.
“Good,” I said through my mouthful. “Contributing to global destruction with the production of heat-trapping methane gases, but really very tasty. Tasty destruction! Now can I go?”
“Mm,” she said, eyeing the liqueur bottles lined up beside the microwave. With any luck, I’d be coming home to a spectacular dessert. “Oh, wait.” She hooked an arm around my neck and hauled me back, kissing my cheek. She smelled like herbs and flour, the warm smell that meant home. “There. Now you can go and save the world.”
I laughed, kissed my fingers to the photo of Dad hanging on the kitchen wall, and ran out the door, rubbing the pink lip gloss off my face. Alex would be waiting, and she would want the complete goss report before we met Dalmar at the station.
Smart, intense Dalmar, who cared about the environment and domestic violence and famine. Handsome, talented Dalmar, whose skin was smooth and dark, whose eyes were round and a deep, rich brown, like new-turned soil. Perfect, perfect Dalmar, who’d been my brother’s best friend for eighteen years, and my boyfriend for one day. The climate-change protest was going to be our official first date, and I was already planning our wedding.
My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.
I’ll tell you the whole story.
You might wonder why I bother; you already know the facts. But one thing I’ve learned over the past months—maybe even before—is that facts aren’t enough. It’s not enough to know; you have to believe. It has to be personal. So here I am, giving you my memories and my feelings and my words. My soul, if you like. It’s the only thing that still belongs to me, and there were some times, bad times, that I doubted even that.
But I know the Father was wrong. No one can take your soul from you. You have to give it away.
Here’s my soul. I’m giving it to you.
I hope you’re listening.
Alex opened the door before I could knock, her grin wide on her narrow face. She was wearing what she called her protest uniform—long red peasant skirt, leggings, heavy boots, and a bright shirt under a sleeveless vest covered with buttons. STRAIGHT NOT NARROW. WOMEN AGAINST WAR. RIGHT IS MIGHT. UP THE UNIONS. I could see placards with more meticulously lettered slogans leaning against the wall and tried not to grimace. Those things were heavy, and I’d been hoping not to lug one around all day. But for once, Alex had concerns other than saving humanity from itself.
“I got your text,” she said. “Tell me everything, from the beginning.”
“Fourteen billion years ago, the universe expanded,” I said, jumping out of Alex’s reach. She’d stopped boxing, but she still had a mean right hook, even when it was just for fun. “Okay. Okay. He came around to my place yesterday, and I said, ‘Owen already left for Tasmania,’ and he said, ‘I know. I want to talk to you.’ ”
“Oh my god, Teeg,” Alex breathed. “We’re running late, but tell me as we go.”
Alex swung her battered satchel over her head. I knew from experience that the bag might contain anything from a couple of muesli bars and a bottle of water to fireworks, a complete set of lock picks, and a collapsible crowbar. She picked up two of the signs and thrust them at me, shouldering the rest herself.
“Do I have to?”
“Yes, lazy,” she said, and called a cheerful good-bye to her foster mother.
“It’s just that it’s so freaking hot.”
I already had heat rash, prickly red bumps on the backs of my knees, and it was only September. Mum said that when she was my age, Melbourne’s spring had been long and wet and cool, hitting the nineties only in November or even December. The superstorms and bushfires hadn’t been so bad, either.
But it was 2027, and things were getting worse—which is why Alex and Dalmar were so keen on this protest. I mean, they were always up for a march or promoting a petition from a stall on Swanston Street, but this time the Prime Minister was attending the rally. I didn’t think she’d actually do anything about the climate, but it was an election year, the youth vote was up for grabs, and Dalmar had some cautious hopes.
He had a lot of hope, Dalmar. I think that’s why I fell in love with him. It was all those conversations in the garage, where, between practices, he tried to get Owen involved. In anything, really.
“We’re going to inherit the world, and everything needs to change,” he’d said. “Adults don’t care, so we have to make them care, or replace them.”
Owen called him obsessed, which was pretty hilarious because Owen was the single most obsessed person I knew. His whole life revolved around music, usually to the exclusion of minor things like environmental collapse, or the horrific state of refugee camps in the Horn of Africa, or his little sister. I started playing the guitar to spend more time with Owen, but I ended up listening to Dalmar. I learned to care.
To be honest, I cared more about Dalmar than things like climate change. One was right there, in the extremely awesome flesh, and the other was slow and terrible and felt far away. I cared, but not like Dalmar and Alex did. Still, it’s not like I betrayed myself and my own ideas to get closer to a beautiful boy. I just couldn’t resist his hope.
“So he said, ‘I want to talk to you,’ and you said…” Alex prompted.
“And I said, ‘Oh, really?’ like a total idiot.”
“But it doesn’t matter, because then he took my hand—”
“Oh my god.”
“—and said, ‘Tegan, I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and if you say no, I will understand, and it won’t ruin our friendship, but would you like to go out with me?’ ”
Alex stopped in the street. “Seriously?”
I grinned. “Just like that.” Every word he’d said was written on my brain in blazing letters of gold.
“And then what?” she demanded.
“Classified.” My whole body was buzzing with the memory.
“Teeg, I will kill you and sink the corpse in the river.”
I snorted. “What river?” The Yarra ran through the city, but you couldn’t hide a body in that shallow brown flow.
“I will dig a river and fill it with my tears, because I will be weeping from the betrayal of my best friend not giving me every damn detail!”
“We kissed,” I said. “Well, I kissed him, and he kissed me back. In the front hallway.”
“Oh wow. That is the best.”
“Then Mum walked in and said, ‘Oops,’ and walked back out, and Dalmar said sorry and I said sorry at the same time, and then we went up to my room, and seriously after that is classified.”
Alex pursed her lips and nodded. “Acceptable.”
“He said I was beautiful,” I said softly. I could feel a tingle in my lips, the ghost of Dalmar’s kisses. We hadn’t done much, just held each other and talked and laughed. The talking and laughing we’d done for years, but after so much waiting, the touch was all new, and it was like a drug, making me giddy and calm at the same time. I didn’t want to pick apart something so special with Alex, much as I loved her. Let it be just for us, Dalmar and me.
“You are beautiful,” Alex said. “I wish I had your boobs.”
“You want my backaches?”
“Well, maybe not,” she conceded. “Or your red nose.”
“I burn so fast,” I sighed, and scowled at the tip of said red peeling nose. Dalmar had kissed that spot last night, I remembered, and the frown smoothed out.
“Haaah, look at you. You’re so in love!” Alex spun around in the street, signs and all, wide skirt flaring up around her hips. “You and me and Dalmar and Jonno have to do something. A couples dinner. Couples bowling!”
“Um,” I said. I didn’t like Alex’s boyfriend that much. He was one of those pretentious guys who thought conversation was all about being smarter and more important than everyone else in the room. And he talked down to me all the time, just because I was the youngest. But Alex thought Jonno was hotter than summer at the beach, and I had to be supportive. “Can I keep Dalmar to myself for a bit?”
“Of course, yeah. Want me to get lost at the rally?”
I hesitated. I really did, but… “I don’t want to be that girl, you know?”
“Please, I know you’d never abandon me for a guy. I’m offering! We go together; I conveniently get lost in the crowd; oh no, where is Alex? Gosh, it’s just you and Dalmar, holding hands…. You can make out all you want.”
“Gross,” I said. “In public?”
“Whatever, lovebird. But tonight, you and me are still up for some exploring, right?”
So the satchel was holding the lock picks and the collapsible crowbar, and probably a couple of flashlights, too. Alex’s version of exploring meant breaking into abandoned buildings, underground tunnels, and the occasional construction site, ferreting out the secrets of the city. It was a great way to spend a few hours, and not something I thought my mother ever needed to know about.
It was nearly midday, and we were flagging in the heat. Like most 2027 Australians who weren’t sun-loving beach bunnies, we tried to avoid the outdoors between eleven and three in the hotter months, when it seemed as if the sun was maliciously beaming right through the hole in the ozone layer and setting us aflame. I was slathered in a thick layer of SPF 70 sunscreen and wearing dark sunnies and a big floppy hat, and with all that, I knew my nose would still be redder by the end of the afternoon.
But the Prime Minister was meeting the petitioners on the steps of Parliament House at noon, so our sun-shunning habits had to adjust to her schedule.
My pocket beeped. My heart jumped.
“Dalmaaaaaaaar,” Alex cooed.
“If you do that when he’s here,” I warned, and fished out my phone. She was right, of course; the message was from him.


It was a perfectly ordinary message that he could have sent the day before yesterday, or any time in the three years we’d been friends instead of my big brother’s preachy best friend/best friend’s annoying little sister.
Except for that postscript of kisses.
For once, the flush in my cheeks owed nothing to the sun. I ducked my head under my hat and silently thanked Alex for her mercy as she pretended not to notice a thing.
Not that it mattered. When Dalmar stepped off the train and met us on the platform, I think the whole world could have seen how I felt. But for me, the rest of the world wasn’t there. Just Dalmar, with his easy stride and wide smile.
I know Alex was talking, but I can’t remember a word. I’ve tried, I really have, but it’s all just buzzing.
He leaned into me, and we touched fingertips. It was a game we’d come up with the night before, finding how little we could touch and still be in contact. We were seeing who could hold out longer, but eventually he gave in and held my hand. He had bass-player calluses. He’d built them up fingering those thick strings, and now they were rough, stroking down the side of my little finger. Nothing in the world had ever felt that good.
“I missed you,” he said, relieving me of the placards.
“I missed you, too,” I replied, and leaned my head against his free shoulder.
A narrow hand landed in the small of my back and shoved. It was Alex, her other hand on Dalmar’s back. “We’ve got to catch a train, lovebirds,” she grunted. “Next platform, move move move.”
Dalmar laughed. “You should be a general, Alex.”
“No way, man. Make love, not war.” She darted up the escalators before us, multicolored curls bouncing on her shoulders.
We made it to the platform in time to catch the train to Parliament Station. The car was full of people dressed in Earth Punk fusion; I felt completely underdressed and sweaty in my shorts jumpsuit with a nonmatching long-sleeved cotton bolero thrown on at the last second to try to stop my arms from burning. Dalmar, with his orange safety vest catching the lights in the car, and Alex, with the badges on her protest uniform, fit right in. The train car was loud with debate.
I caught a glimpse of the golden statue of the goddess Mazu, who watched over the shallow remnants of the Maribyrnong River that dribbled by the Buddhist temple. She might bring us good luck today. Mazu was the protector of the sea, after all, and rising oceans were probably one of her concerns.
But I wasn’t Buddhist. Instead, I silently asked the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, to intercede on our behalf.
Prayer concluded, I let the train’s motion sway me against Dalmar where he stood braced against the yellow pole. “I wrote you a song,” I whispered in his ear, resisting the urge to kiss his earlobe.
“Really?” He slipped his hand from mine and draped it over my shoulder, pulling me close.
“I’ll play it for you tonight,” I promised. “Just so you know, nothing good rhymes with Dalmar.”
“Far. Car. Tar. Star. Bizarre?”
“Help!” I sang, making up the lyrics as I went along. “I need Dalmar. Help! He’s so bizarre. Help, you know I need Dalmaaaar. Help!”
“You and your Beatles,” Alex said.
“Best musicians of their century,” I said, as I had many times before. “And ours. And all the centuries to come.”
“Let’s make sure the species has centuries to come,” Dalmar said.
As the train jerked to a stop, we stepped out together, into the future.
I don’t remember if it hurt.
There are questions I get asked a lot, in therapy, at school, and even at the compound, when the girls loosened up enough to talk to me. What do you remember? What did you see? How did it feel?
I’ll tell you the whole story. Even the embarrassing parts, even the bits where I behave like an enormous loser.
But I can’t tell you if there was any pain.
The truth is, it all stops with us pouring out of Parliament Station and up the steep steps, with Dalmar’s arm around my shoulders and Alex grinning at how cozy we were together. I was thinking of finding a quiet place to kiss Dalmar, and wondering whether Alex could be talked into letting me do some free-running practice before we broke into whatever abandoned hulk she wanted to explore. I was thinking about whether Owen might bring me something back from Tasmania, and if Mum might be whipping up my favorite raspberry macarons, and if Dad would be proud of what I was doing today.
And then it all stops. The final memory of my first life is a freeze-frame of me leaning against Dalmar on the way up the steps.
But when Marie thought I was ready, I saw the same footage everyone else did.
It’s awful phone video, not even a real camera. Nothing like the superclear footage you guys have of everything now. But you can still make it out easily enough if you know what to look for.
There’s the Prime Minister in a blue skirt suit standing under a shady canopy, speaking to the protesters, saying pretty things that aren’t quite promises. There’s the dark-haired girl high on the steps, just visible in the corner of the screen. There she is, falling down. There are screams as the crowd starts to realize what’s happened, and someone shouts, “It’s a sniper!” and then the camera turns to the sidewalk as the unknown videographer runs away.
Memory loss is a perfectly normal trauma reaction, Marie says, but it still feels weird. Watching that footage doesn’t spark a thing. It could be a perfect stranger dying on the steps of Parliament House.
But it was me.
I woke up one hundred years later.
And then things really went to hell.


A Hard Day’s Night

There was light in my eyes and soft murmuring at the edge of my hearing, like a radio cycling through stations. Bits of the conversation became clear, then faded out again.
“—activity indicates conscious interaction—”
“—report to General—”
“—my patient. I’ll talk—”
“—press conference in—”
The noise went away altogether, and the light brightened. I tried to blink it away.
Eyelids. I had eyelids, and a face, and a neck and a chest. I tried to sit up, my hands flailing weakly at something soft. I felt like a fish out of water, flopping and struggling to breathe. Once, when he was home on leave, Dad took me fishing, and I caught one, and then I screamed and screamed when I realized the fish would die.
“It’s all right,” a voice soothed. A woman’s voice, I thought, with a faint accent I couldn’t place. “You’ve been sedated. It’s wearing off.”
“Can’t see,” I choked. “Only light.”
“Your vision should clear soon. My name is Dr. Carmen. Do you remember your name?”
Did I? “Tegan,” I said, relieved. “Tegan Oglietti. What happened?”
“Your date of birth, Tegan?”
“December 17, 2010.”
There was a slight pause, then, “And today’s date?”
“Ummm. September 23. Did I miss the rally? Where’re Dalmar and Alex?”
“We’ll get to that in a moment,” Dr. Carmen said. “For now, I just want to check on you. Your communication centers and memory seem fine. That’s very good!”
Something stung my toes. I kicked automatically.
“And you’ve got good nervous responses. Can you feel this?”
The stinger hit my ankle. “Yes! Stop it!”
“Don’t panic, Tegan. It’s okay. Please say yes every time you feel something.”
I obeyed as the stinger moved up my body, down both arms, and finished between my eyebrows. The steady motion-and-response calmed me down; it also gave me time to think.
“Am I in a hospital?” I asked tremulously. “Is my mum here?” A shadow passed through the light, and I blinked harder. “I see something!”
The shadow paused, hovering in the middle of my vision. “Keep blinking,” she advised, and I did until the shadow resolved itself into a blurry face. I could make out dark, short hair and pale skin and not much else.
“I can see you,” I said. “But not very clearly.”
“It might take a little while for full vision to return,” Dr. Carmen said. “But your responses are great, Tegan.”
“What happened?” I asked again, with more force. It hadn’t escaped me that she hadn’t answered any of my questions.
Her face moved to one side and then down. She’d sat down next to the bed, I figured after a moment. Her accent was weird—like a little touch of American mixed into a normal Australian accent.
“Tegan, I’m afraid I have bad news,” she said, and my stomach tightened into a knot. There’d been an accident. Someone had set off a bomb. There’d been an earthquake.
“This is going to be very hard for you to hear, but I want you to listen to as much as you can. Do you remember going to the rally?”
“Yes,” I whispered. “We were on the way. Who’s dead?”
She ignored that, as she’d ignored the other questions. She was following a script, probably from a book called How Soft-Voiced Doctors Break Bad News, and she was going to stick to it, whatever I said.
“Well, a sniper was waiting to attack the Prime Minister. I’m afraid that—”
“Just tell me who’s dead!” I shouted. “Dalmar? Alex? Who did the sniper hit?”
There was a pause. “He hit you, Tegan,” she said very calmly. “The bullet tore through your heart, left lung, and right kidney. Bone fragmentation damaged most of your other internal organs.”
I sucked in a big gulp of air, and she hurried into the silence left by my shock.
“You were declared dead in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. But you’d signed up for the donation program, do you remember?”
The bright yellow cards declaring that in the event of my sudden death, I was donating my body to science. I’d signed up the day I turned sixteen, with my mother’s proud signature on the form. It could mean giving up my eyes, my skin, my kidneys to someone who could use them better. Or it could mean being used for experimentation or dissection by med students who needed corpses to study. It wasn’t as if it would matter to me once I was dead. My soul would go to heaven, so my body might as well be of use to someone.
But none of those things had happened, right? Because I was here, wherever here was.
“I remember,” I whispered. “I was dead? I died? But I’m here!” This couldn’t possibly be heaven.
“Legally, technically, yes, you died. But as you say, you’re here. Most of your organs were too hurt to be donated, but your brain and spine were undamaged, and you were moved to the hospital within minutes. You were a perfect candidate for a new treatment. A cryonic treatment. Do you know what cryonics is?”
“Freezing dead people,” I said automatically. There had been some talk in the news about advancing techniques, but I hadn’t known they’d actually gone ahead with experimentation.
“Exactly. So—”
“That’s what you did?” I gasped. “Where’s my mum?”
“You can think of it as being in a coma,” she said. More and more of her face was swimming into focus now. “A sort of frozen coma that lasted a long time.”
Dr. Carmen paused, waiting for the obvious question, but my mind was whirring, and I missed my cue.
“It’s 2128, Tegan,” she said. “I’m sorry, I know that must be difficult to hear. You’ve been in stasis for just over a century.”
It felt like running headfirst into a brick wall—a pain so huge it was hardly pain at all.
My vision hadn’t cleared enough to make out expressions yet, but Dr. Carmen’s voice was soothing. “Tegan, I realize that it won’t feel like it yet, but you’re a very lucky girl.”
“Shut up,” I told her.
She did, while I concentrated on breathing.
“I want to be alone,” I said, and prayed that she’d give in.
I had to get out of there. I had to find Dalmar and Alex. I had to get in touch with my family.
But most of all, I had to find out what was really going on.
Of course I didn’t believe her. Would you? Think about waking up to a complete stranger saying, Hey, surprise! It’s the future!
Marie says that not believing her was a defense mechanism, and also a perfectly normal traumatic response.
But I don’t know. I still think it was rational to assume that she was lying.
I mean, come on. She told me I was lucky.
At the time, I was just relieved that telling her to get out was apparently on-script. The blurry shape of Dr. Carmen stood up. “Of course, Tegan.”
“And stop calling me Tegan,” I added viciously. “I don’t know you. We’re not friends. What’s your first name?”
She hesitated, and I got the feeling she was leaving the prepared speeches behind for the first time. “It’s Marie,” she said.
My middle name. Huh. “Okay, Marie. Thanks for the info. Get out.”
Something smooth and slim was slipped into my hand, and I jumped.
“It’s a… well, like a bell,” Dr. Car—Marie said. “When you want anything, or if you want to talk to someone, just squeeze it three times, and they’ll come. All right?”
“Fine. Bye, Marie.”
I heard a chiming, and then a swish, and I lay there, blinking hard and counting down the seconds as the room gradually became clearer around me.
When I was eleven, I spent three days in the hospital with an infection that needed IV antibiotics—thankfully, it wasn’t a drug-resistant strain. This place smelled like a hospital, all right, that clean industrial smell. But it didn’t sound like one. I couldn’t hear anyone moving back and forth, or talking in the corridors. There was no beeping machinery or rattle of wheeled beds being rolled over linoleum floors.
I slid my legs out of the bed and stood. The soles of my feet felt tender against the floor, but I could support my weight on them. Well, that was proof against the whole revival thing, right? Surely my legs wouldn’t hold me up if I’d actually been out of it for a hundred years.
I was wearing a loose blue thing, sort of like a really wide tunic dress, made out of some material I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t game to just strip it off, but the neck was wide enough for me to pull it out and look down at myself.
There were lots of little white scars on my chest and stomach, but I’d expected that and braced myself for it. What really shocked me was a much smaller thing.
My legs and underarms and, in fact, all the skin I could see were completely bare. I didn’t go in for all that shaving-plucking-waxing stuff. Someone had done it to me while I was asleep.
I mean, I had those scars, so they’d probably been a lot more intimate with my body than just shaving my legs, but for some reason the idea that someone had removed all my body hair while I was unconscious really grossed me out.
When I took my first step toward the door and automatically reached to push my hair over my shoulders, I discovered that it wasn’t only my body. My questing fingers found only the soft, bare skin of my scalp.
The bastards had taken my hair. Eight years of growth, just gone.
My fists clenched. I was suddenly more angry than scared, which, let me tell you, is a much better response when you wake up in a hospital bed with no hair, no underwear, and no memory of what got you there. Being frightened had threatened to make me slow and stupid; being furious made me move.
I wanted to throw the alarm thing at the wall, but instead I put it carefully on the bed, with a hand that trembled with control, and tested the door. It wasn’t locked, and I could see no one moving down the dimly lit corridor.
So I walked out.
The corridor was long and silent and completely empty of people.
It was also almost completely dark. Lights turned on overhead as I padded along and turned off behind me. There were other doors evenly spaced on each side, but I wasn’t brave enough to test any of them yet.
To be honest, I was thinking about Alex’s games and how many of them involved long halls, flickering lights, and monsters jumping out of nowhere. I didn’t have a grenade launcher or a flamethrower. I didn’t even have Alex’s right hook.
I kept close to one wall and walked fast, ready to take my chances with one of the side doors if I heard anyone coming.
No one did, and that didn’t make sense. What kind of hospital didn’t have a nurses’ station or full-time lighting? My skin prickled under what I was almost certain was silent scrutiny. There had to be security cameras somewhere.
Twelve doors down was a door striped in red with a picture of a flame above it.
It was way too obvious of an exit. What I needed was a window—something that would give me an idea of the lay of the land, or possibly even an escape route in itself. I’d dropped from a story up a couple of times, when security crews had come to investigate the lights Alex and I were flashing around their construction sites. I wasn’t the best free runner in the world, but I was confident I could safely do it again.
I opened the door to the left of the fire escape.
There was no window there, just an empty trolley bed with a mattress, and equipment I didn’t recognize. I backed out, crossed the hallway, and tried the door on the right.
There was no window there, either. But the bed was not empty.
On the white mattress lay a naked man, several years older than me, maybe twenty-one or twenty-two. It was hard to tell, with all the wires and tubes attached to him. His bare chest rose and fell, and his eyes were open, but his face was slack and quiet.
There was no curiosity or alarm in his face. He was staring directly at me, and nothing about him said he registered my presence at all.
I could have stayed there for a few minutes, gaping like an ill-mannered jerk, but my ears picked up the sound of someone’s voice in the corridor. The man’s room was a dead end; I had to get out.
Obvious escape or not, I ran for the fire door.
In the dim light, concrete stairs stretched upward; I was apparently on the bottom floor. I pounded up two steps at a time. The feeling of air rushing over my bare scalp was weird, and running without a bra was really uncomfortable, but my muscles worked fine.
I was hitting the zone, where everything was smooth, efficient motion. Other fire doors flashed by on the landings, but I wasn’t interested in going back inside.
What I needed was the roof, and eight floors up, I found it.
Gasping for breath, I burst through the roof door at pretty close to my top speed and stumbled two steps to a clumsy halt that wouldn’t have hurt so much if I’d been wearing shoes.
The sky was dark, but there were a ton of lights; under them, the roof was bright as noon and almost as hot. It was a flat, skinny rectangle, edged with a low concrete wall. That would have been easy to deal with, but inside the wall, there was a wire fence taller than I was, except at the narrow gap left for the fire-escape ladder. There were lights showing the roofs of other buildings, close by and lower. I was way closer to the ground than I’d thought—maybe only two or three floors up, which meant that most of the building was underground.
And standing by the fire escape, the obvious exit, was a man in a uniform with a long weapon in his hands, spinning to stare at me.
I took off.
“Halt!” he called behind me. Something whistled past my ear, and I dodged behind an air-conditioning unit, teeth gritted.
Keep moving, I thought. Keep momentum. My flying strides eating up the concrete, I charged at the corner where the wire fence made a right angle.
I loved right angles.
I was trying not to remember all the times I’d tried this trick and had to bail out, for Alex to laugh hysterically at me (and, one time, help me to the emergency room). Free running is half body, half mind. If either one quits on you, you can’t pull it off.
I’d never tried the trick with someone shooting at me, but my timing, for once, was perfect. I popped up the fence right-left-right, using my momentum to push off and up. In fact, I had so much speed I nearly went straight over, but some frantic grabbing at the top turned into a decent grip, swinging me around and down to stand on the edge, facing back along the length of the roof.
The man in uniform was aiming directly at my face. “Halt!” he bellowed again, just as another man burst out of the fire door.
“Don’t shoot!” he shouted, and then, “Tegan! Stop!”
I jumped off the roof.
I was two stories up, I was wearing very little, and I’d never done a drop that high onto a hard surface. Even if I rolled to take the impact, it should have really hurt, but my brain was busily pumping out endorphins, and I couldn’t feel much. As it was, my right forearm, which hit first, went numb and then throbbed. There was no stopping to assess the damage, though. I was up on my bare feet again, seeking out shadows.
Ahead and behind me, sirens sounded.
I darted between buildings, listening for shouts and footsteps as well as I could over my own frantic heartbeat. If I could get far enough away, or find a good spot to hide, I might be okay. All I had to do was make it to someone who’d let me borrow their phone.
There were voices ahead. I flattened against the wall and edged back around the corner.
Voices ahead again, and coming closer. But on the other side of the narrow alley was a door, and if luck was still with me, I could make it there in time.
I darted across, praying for deliverance, and yanked at the door handle.
The good news was, it wasn’t locked.
The bad news was, the room was full of people.
They’d been looking toward the front of the room, where a small, dark-haired woman was speaking at a podium. But as I burst in, they all turned in their seats to stare at me.
“Who the hell is that?” someone muttered.
“Tegan?” the woman at the podium said, sounding stunned.
“That’s her,” said someone else. “The Living Dead Girl!” And then I was surrounded by people, all of them loud and excited and shouting questions at me.
“Tegan, what’s your opinion of Operation New Beginning?”
“Tegan, what do you think of the twenty-second century?”
“Tegan, are you proud of what you’ve helped achieve?”
“Tegan, do you think it’s acceptable to add revivals to an already overpopulated society?”
“Tegan, are you looking forward to our dead diggers coming home?”
I shrank against the wall, staring at them, unable to register details or tell them apart. They were just a blur of strange clothes and outlandish hairstyles. A swarm of small things swooped in, buzzing around me like mosquitoes. I shook my head back and forth, and stared into one, watching the tiny camera lens. Something zipped past my eyes, and I shrieked, slapping it away and stamping on the horrible thing as it hit the ground.
They stopped shouting all at once, apparently appalled at this destruction.
“Out of my way!” someone sounded through the hush, and shouldered her way through the pack, hair flying, elbows akimbo. “Can’t you see this girl is injured? This press conference is over! Leave my patient alone!”
I recognized her voice and clung to it as the one real thing in the nightmare.
“Marie?” I asked, too scared to be ashamed at the way it came out like a sob.
“Yes,” she said, turning my hand over carefully. “Oh, Tegan, what happened?”
“I ran,” I said, distantly aware that the pain in my arm was getting worse. Men in uniforms were filing into the room and herding out the journalists. Some of them were still shouting questions as they went.
“Sit down,” Marie said, and got me into a chair. “I’ll fix this up. Nothing’s broken; you’re all right.” She pulled out a little black pouch and sprayed something on my arm.
There was blood on the floor. Blood from my torn feet, from my scraped arm. The endorphins and adrenaline were fading, and my body was telling me I’d hurt it a lot more than I’d had time to feel in that wild flight.
Sore as I was, I still tensed all over when someone else came through the door. It was the second man on the roof, the one who had told the guard not to shoot.
“There you are, Tegan,” he said.
Marie stiffened, too, and didn’t look up. “Colonel Dawson, please wait in the hall,” she said.
“I need to—”
I need to establish my patient’s physical health,” Marie said.
The colonel stared at the back of her head, still bowed over my hand, then at me.
“Well, then,” he said, forcing good humor into his voice. “I’ll see you later, Tegan. Unless—”
“Get out!” I yelled, my voice squeaking with the strain. The door closed, leaving Marie and me alone in the big room.
The journalists had made it feel small and crowded. Those mosquito machines, buzzing around me. They were only cameras and microphones, I thought, nothing to be scared of. But they’d been picking up every detail of me—my shaven head, my torn skin, my fear.
“Those people,” I said. “Their clothes. Their tech.” I couldn’t make myself form longer sentences.
But Marie seemed to understand. “We meant to introduce you to change gradually,” she said. She sprayed my feet and shook her head. “A big dose of culture shock… that wasn’t supposed to happen.” She looked up at me, and I found myself inspecting her face, concentrating on the details to keep myself steady. Marie had thick, straight, blue-black hair in a tight bob, creamy skin, and high cheekbones. There was no fold in her eyelids, but fine wrinkles spread from the corners of her dark brown eyes. As far as I could tell, she wasn’t wearing any makeup. She was maybe my mum’s age, maybe a bit younger.
“Marie,” I said, “is this really the future?”
She took my good hand in both of hers, looking steadily into my eyes. “I’m sorry, Tegan,” she said, sounding so, so sad. “It really is.”


I Am the Walrus

One of the many things the twenty-second century has gotten right is painkillers.
I didn’t feel a thing as Marie picked all the tiny bits of grit out of my scrapes, washed them all down with something that smelled revolting, and sprayed on something else that turned into a thick layer of dark brown gunk.
“It’s artificial skin,” she explained. “You had something like it in your time, but this is better. It’ll prevent infection while the skin underneath heals. Not that there should be any infection; you’re on a lot of immunoboosters. We were worried about today’s diseases. Let me have a look at your shoulder.”
“What’s Operation New Beginning?” I asked as she gently rotated my upper arm. “Ow!”
“Sorry. Just a muscle strain and some bruising, I think. Operation New Beginning is a project researching and experimenting on the revival of the cryonically frozen. Like yourself.”
“So this is your job? You do this all the time?”
“No,” Marie said. “Well, it is my job, yes. But you’re the first successful human revival.”
I thought of the blank-faced man in his hospital bed. An unsuccessful revival?
“So there’s no one else,” I said. My voice felt tight and dry, but I could feel tears sliding down my cheeks. “Alex and Dalmar—were they okay? The sniper…”
“They were fine, Tegan. The sniper was aiming at the Prime Minister, but he was an amateur. He panicked after he shot you and didn’t try again. From the records we have—” She sat back on her heels and looked at me uncertainly. “I’m a body doctor, you know, not a psych specialist. You’ll need to talk to someone qualified.”
“No,” I said. “I don’t want people poking in my brain.”
Marie’s face went even sadder. “Tegan,” she said, “you signed your dead body over to science. And you’re the first revival who can actually answer questions; maybe the only one for some time. I’m afraid you won’t be given much choice.”
I would have run again, maybe, if I hadn’t been so sore and shocked. As it was, I just sat in that chair, too numb to even think of escape.
That morning, I’d been in love and loved. I’d had family and friends, and an idea of my place in the world. That night, I’d lost everything.
It was kind of a lot to think about.
They put me in a room—a room with a real bed and an attached bathroom. They gave me real clothes to wear, and some books and a stereo. The stuff was all weirdly familiar and therefore looked suspiciously like things that had been hauled out of a museum and set up to make me feel more comfortable. The old stereo still worked, and they’d found some CDs, which, by the way, were an outdated medium well before my time. It was an odd mix—some Elvis Presley, some Dusty Springfield. A lot of European classical. Some disco rubbish I listened to only once, and a few Broadway musicals.
No Beatles. No guitar so that I could make music of my own.
No computer to give me that large dose of culture shock, the one I’d already had.
No windows.
I spent most of the next three weeks grieving.
Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve spent the last two and a half months grieving. I reckon I’ll do it for the rest of my life—every time I see or hear or smell something that reminds me of the life and the people I used to have.
But for those first weeks, it took up a lot of my time. I was grieving for the people I’d lost and the experiences I’d never share with them. Alex and I weren’t going to spend a gap year volunteering in South America. Dalmar and I weren’t going to have sex. Owen wasn’t going to play at our wedding. And Mum would never, ever feed me again. On top of my own grief, I had to deal with theirs; I thought they must have felt something like this when I died, so fast and violently, and that was almost more than I could stand. It was bad when Dad died, but losing everyone at once was much, much worse.

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 3/20/2014
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series , #3
Pages: 336
Age range: 14 years


In the stunning conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose tirlogy, there is nothing more dangerous that a secret closely kept…

Cass and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they separate to pursue the only evidence that could save them, their worlds—and their romance—are torn apart by spiteful friends and murderous enemies.

When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order’s twisted plot, Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom. But it turns out Luca has a shocking scheme of his own.

From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, from clever courtesans to vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and once and for all decide her destiny. Who will fly beside her when she finally finds her wings?


Kirkus Reviews

Cass and Luca return to Venice to clear their names and put an end to the Order of the Eternal Rose once and for all in this trilogy closer. On their heels are the apparently immortal Belladonna and her evil doctor. Also converging in Venice are the Order leader who has the Venetian Senate in the palm of his hand and Luca's illegitimate, psychotic half brother. There is danger aplenty, and plucky Cass soon finds herself in the thick of it. Having kicked one leg of the obligatory love triangle away in Belladonna (2013), Paul wedges it back in place by placing Falco and Cass in a fervent colloquy that Luca witnesses, leading to the also-obligatory estrangement of Cass from her betrothed. Much wringing of hands ensues over this, as well as the deaths of friends and servants incurred during her quest. Cass and the plot lurch from peril to peril with far too much telling and not enough showing; villainous dialogue is often helpfully interpreted in a sort of narrative play by play. Short chapters that end in minicliffhangers keep the pages turning, though, helping readers speed past the frequently purple prose. The rather interesting acceptance of prostitution as a legitimate career choice for young women in the late Renaissance goes largely unexamined, as does the relationship of Venice's Jews to the larger population, sparked by an irresponsibly throwaway scene. Formulaic, anachronistic, undemanding. (Historical mystery. 14 & up)

About the Author

Fiona Paul is a writer, wanderer, and free spirit, with degrees in psychology and secondary education. She’s traveled all over the world, and many of the scenes in Venom, Belladonna and Starling were inspired by real-life experiences (though she won’t tell you which ones). She now makes her home in St. Louis, Missouri. You can visit Fiona Paul at www.FionaPaulBooks.com, read her blog at FionaPaulBooks.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter at @fionawritesYA

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

When the last drop of light drained from the sky, Cass and Luca crept out of the shed where they had been hiding. Cass took a moment to stretch, her muscles grateful to be free of the cramped enclosure. After Luca had torn open his shoulder escaping from the Doge’s dungeons, the wound had festered, leaving him feverish and incapacitated for nearly a week. Cass knew each day that passed meant fewer people would be searching for them, but the waiting had been agony. She was desperate to resume her quest to destroy the Order of the Eternal Rose.
There was only one way to do that—find the Book of the Eternal Rose and pray it contained enough evidence of wrongdoing to bring the Order’s members to justice. Hatred coiled inside of Cass like a tangle of serpents. She embraced it, channeled it toward the task at hand. “The shore is this way,” she said.
Luca squeezed her fingers as they turned off the path, and she relaxed slightly. The whispering tide ebbed and flowed just out of sight. The wind was warm but brisk, whipping the fabric of her dress up around her legs. Luca walked stiffly, his injured arm cradled against his torso. They traveled east along the water until Cass found what she was looking for—an old batèla tied to a wooden dock. She glanced around. A handful of cottages—all dark—stood nearby. The boat might belong to any of them.
Walking boldly out onto the dock, Cass knelt down and loosened the rope that moored the small rowboat. “Get in,” she told Luca.

He paused. “Is there no other way than to steal from peasants?”
“Our alleged crimes have gone beyond mere theft,” Cass said. She didn’t remind him that they were heading to Villa Querini so they could steal from her beloved aunt. There was no other way. Cass and Luca would need money to return to Florence and seek out the book. It was safer for Agnese if she believed they were dead. “Besides, someone will probably find the craft and return it.” Nimbly, Cass’s fingers worked through the knots while Luca watched with a mixture of surprise and admiration.
“I had no idea your talents were so . . . varied,” he said.
Cass smiled. It felt like the first smile in days. “Wait until you see me row.”
And row she did. Wood ground against metal as she pulled the oars, leaning into each stroke, her muscles burning in protest as the boat moved slowly and steadily through the lagoon. She scanned the water as she rowed, looking for other craft, for boats that held soldiers, for anything out of the ordinary. But the night was a curtain of blackness, with nothing but a hazy moon to guide her. If they suddenly came upon another boat, there very well might be a crash.
Luca took in each of her movements, the expression on his face suddenly making Cass feel shy.
“What?” she asked. She looked down at the water, her eyes tracing the path of the wooden oar as it cut through the lagoon, before letting her gaze return to her fiancé. He was still watching her. “You’re staring.”

“I was thinking that each time I feel I know you, you surprise me again.” His voice was low but full of warmth, like if he were feeling a bit stronger, he might lean over and kiss her.

Cass fumbled one of the oars at that thought. As she reached out to retrieve it, she remembered a trip in a batèla she’d made with Falco. It was the night they had found the body of Sophia, Joseph Dubois’s former servant. Cass’s cheeks grew hot as she thought of Falco tugging at fabric and undoing laces, at the two of them tangled together beneath a blanket as their mouths tasted each other. Idiota, she cursed herself. She was certainly full of surprises. Unfortunately, not all of them would make Luca look at her with such tenderness.

“You’re starting to get winded. You should let me take a turn,” he said.

Cass shook her head. She’d force herself to row until her back was breaking and her hands were bleeding before she did that. Luca would reinjure his shoulder if he tried, and besides, she deserved to suffer. She had dishonored him with Falco. She had put her handmaid in harm’s way, and Siena had died. Cass didn’t know if she would ever forgive herself.

She followed the southern coastline of the Giudecca around to the east and then turned south before reaching San Giorgio Maggiore. The shore of San Domenico appeared out of the mist, its tall grass blowing back and forth as if beckoning to her. Cass navigated the boat past an open field and around to Agnese’s dock. She looped a coil of rope around one of the mooring posts. Tying what she hoped was a secure knot, Cass rose slowly to her feet in the wobbling craft.
Luca took her arm and steadied her as she alighted from the boat. She turned to give him her hand as he stepped from the batèla after her.
They stood at the edge of the dock, uncertain, a pair of silhouettes backlit by the moon. Cass couldn’t believe she was home again. It had been only a week, but the place felt alien to her. Patches of the normally neatly manicured lawn were unkempt, the shrubbery that framed the front of the villa beginning to overtake the grass. Her knees went a bit quivery, and her heart rose into her throat. Giuseppe had never neglected his gardening duties. What did it mean?

“Cass? What is it?” Luca asked.

Rather than explain why the unruly hedges seemed a harbinger of bad tidings, Cass stepped from the dock onto the lawn. Luca was close behind her. As she neared the front door, she could see the draperies of black fabric that covered the door and all of the windows.
Draperies that meant someone was dead.
A shudder moved through Cass. She reached out for the carved molding around the door to steady herself, trying to deny to her brain what her heart was screaming. Her aunt was fine—she had to be. For all Cass knew, the swatches of fabric might be for her. Perhaps after failing to locate them, the Senate had declared Cass and Luca dead. Agnese could have hung the ceremonial draperies to honor Cass, despite having no body to bury.
Luca rested a hand on her back. His touch gave her the strength to move forward, but the front door was locked, the villa completely quiet. Cass didn’t know what she’d been expecting. It was late—of course the place would be secure. She wondered who might answer the door if she knocked. Bortolo, the butler, had been Agnese’s servant for more than twenty years, but age had taken its toll and Cass had no doubt he was dozing somewhere. Agnese’s handmaid, Narissa, might still be lurking about, mending chemises by candlelight.

But Cass couldn’t knock. Even though she thought of the servants as family, she and Luca were criminals, with large bounties on their heads. She had to assume that anyone would turn them in for a life-changing amount of gold. Men had betrayed their real families for much less.

Instead, Cass led Luca around to the back of the villa, to the garden, where she was dismayed to find that Agnese’s rosebushes looked as if they hadn’t seen water in days. The stems were gnarled and twisted, like witches’ fingers; the blooms hung low. Even the marigolds had withered, their petals littering the dirt like a field of golden teardrops.
Luckily, the servants’ door was unlocked, and Cass and Luca slipped quietly into the kitchen. And then she knew for certain. It wasn’t merely the faint smell of decay, masked by rosewater and the tinge of something medicinal. It was a feeling that overwhelmed her the instant she set foot inside the villa. A feeling of emptiness.
A feeling of death.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 3/18/2014
Pages: 336
Age range: 14 years


What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.
Now Alice is forced to face the con­sequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?


Jennifer Echols

“A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.”


“Alice and Harvey’s relationship is raw, honest, moving, and unapologetic in its depiction of their individual, and collective, pain.”

John Corey Whaley

“Julie Murphy weaves together a tender and funny tale of love, friendship, heartache, and redemption. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.”

Siobhan Vivian

“Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!”

About the Author

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk.

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