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“Sit,” Noelle said and gestured toward the cot positioned on the floor.
Without much thought I wandered over and stretched out to lie down. Had it not been a trying day and with bombings outside, I’d have opted to go home or at the very least refused special treatment. That was what Noelle offered me, wasn’t it?
“You don’t have to stay here all night,” I said. It felt weird to be watched as I slept. “If I need anything, I can let you know. Or I mean, whoever stays.” I didn’t want to assume she wouldn’t go home either. I shut my eyes and relaxed against the cot. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed I’d been in, but it beat the straw in the barn.
“Toby and I will alternate, unless your fever breaks. Then we’ll both go home and let you sleep in peace.”
Hearing her words was enough to help me relax. “Okay,” I mumbled. If only I had the ability to control my own body temperature.
Noelle shut off the lights which helped ease the throbbing pulse behind my eyes. The distant wail of the siren ceased. Had it ended? Was everyone safe? I took momentary comfort in the quiet of Noelle’s office and allowed myself to fall asleep.
During the night, I heard the door whine and I attempted to roll over, only half cognizant of where I was. The cot groaned beneath me and I felt the warmth of metal against my cheek.
“Wake up, little girl,” an unfamiliar voice said, and I heard the distinctive click of the safety released from a gun.
My eyes flashed open, staring up at the intruder, the gun tight against my skin. How would I get out of this mess?
When They Came
by Kody Boye
Genre: YA Sci-fi/Dystopian
Release date: April 3rd 2017
I was never afraid of monstersâat least, not until They came: the visitors from outer space.
Now They're in our skies, on our streets, always watching, forever waiting.
At seventeen, I'm just about to graduate from the Juvenile Education System and declare my career of choice. The Midnight Guardâwho protect our community from the vicious things that lie outside our wallsâcalls to me.
Itâs hard, dangerous work, with grueling hours that offer little sleep, but itâs the one thing I know will help make a difference in
our ever-changing world.
Nothing like waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to find your mother standing over your bed holding a thermos, moldy picture frame, and plastic bust of Albert Einstein.
That wakes me up, fast.
This whole thing is a shocker because for the last year, Mom’s been doing nothing but staring out the window, hoping my older sister, Luci, will come home. Such a disaster. Back in 2611, Luci ran off with her high school beau, Josiah, saying they wanted to start a new life somewhere that wasn’t Western New Massachusetts. For the record, I don’t blame my sister for leaving. Mom isn’t exactly the poster girl for stable parenting. And Josiah is a nice enough guy. You know, in the way that vanilla is a nice enough flavor.
That said, Luci only left us a quick note on the kitchen table the day she took off. Since then, my sister hasn’t sent us any word. Mind you, this is the same Luci who couldn’t go six hours without talking to Mom. Now, twelve months go by without so much as a peep? That’s not Luci.
Long story short, Mom and I are both pretty worried.
We just show it in different ways.
Mom holds up the bust of Einstein and stares at me wild-eyed. She doesn’t say anything, but that’s pretty typical. After Luci left, my mother’s routine has been pretty predictable.
Bed to window.
Window to bed.
A little eating.
Not much sleep.
But now, Mom’s out of her chair with a vengeance. Plus, she’s even wearing one of her old lab coats from her researcher days. The frayed insignia of “United Americas” is still visible on her pocket protector. We’re not even supposed to know the name of the United Americas anymore, let alone save themed clothing. My high school teaches us that the only government that’s ever existed are the sickos in power today: the Righteous Command and Ultimate Authority. Mostly, we call them the Authority.
So what’s Mom doing in her old lab coat? Tons of scenarios skitter through my head. Most of them end with Mom getting trucked off to a mediprison. The Authority strives for purity in all things. Any signs of what they call mental weakness, and the Authority declares you an enemy of the state, and you disappear.
At this moment, the words total panic pretty much sum up my life. “What’s wrong, Mom? It’s four a.m.”
The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise
by Bob Collopy
Genre: YA/Adult Dystopian
Release Date: July 21st 2017
The Department of Smoke
The Best Shall Rise
New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.
Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.
For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?
About the Author:
Bob Collopy was raised on southern values. A world of rigidity and blind faith. He was then moved to Sedona. A near cultlike world, grown from 1960's flower children. He was then moved to Scottsdale. A world of extreme wealth and vice. He then went to college and joined a fraternity so notorious it was on national and world news multiple times.
Due to these shifts, Bob always found himself the the semilucid observer; constantly confused and adjusting to new and opposing sets of norms few cultures would ever call normal or even acceptable.
The city Bob has created is a blending of these intense and opposing cultures and the people trying to survive and conquer them.
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Sea of Strangers
(The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
By Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Know your enemy if you want to survive…
The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.
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Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.
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Every author has an agenda when they’re creating a book. Sometimes it’s as deceptively simple as “tell an entertaining story,” and sometimes it’s as gruelingly complex as “expose a dangerously vile aspect of modern society,” but it’s still an agenda. Often, there isn’t just one, and some authors have agendas or messages they thread through every book they write, even if they’re unconnected to each other.
For me, that thread is asexuality.
I grew up knowing I saw the world differently than everyone else, but not really understanding how deep that went. How could I understand that when I had no reflections of myself to help me? The first time I ever heard the term asexual was in biology class, and that was only in relation to the reproduction of amoebas. No one ever introduced me to asexuality as an orientation, and nothing I read or watched hinted at the possibility, either. I was raised in a liberal community, and I knew growing up that it was okay to want a relationship with anyone of any gender. There was never anyone who said it was okay to want no one. The lack left me stumbling through life trying to figure myself out by trial and error. It left me floundering in relationships because I couldn’t understand my own lack of desire.
Asexuality is categorized by a lack of sexual attraction to other people regardless of gender, aesthetics, personality, or other characteristics. Like all other orientations, asexuality isn’t defined by the type or frequency of sex someone has but by their physical, sexual, and psychological attraction to another person. Someone who is asexual does not feel sexual attraction to anyone no matter what. Gray-asexuals very rarely do. Demisexuals may feel attraction to some people, but only after they form an emotional bond or attachment. It’s more complex than that, of course, but those are the basics. I go into more detail in the Queership column Coming Up Aces as well as in several essays posted on my blog.
Proper representation can help the next generation avoid the uncertainty, confusion, and self-recrimination that I went through. This is why I put at least one asexual-spectrum character in each of my series and make a point of declaring their orientation on the page. If readers encounter the term and meet characters who fall somewhere on the spectrum, they’ll bring that awareness with them into their lives. Maybe it will resonate with them. Maybe the characters will remind them of a friend of theirs or a sibling. Maybe their basic understanding of asexuality won’t come into play at all until they meet someone later in their lives. Whatever the case, it is my hope that representation in fiction will cause a ripple effect that spreads a lot farther than the world of books, and that is why there is definitely one message you’ll find in all of my books:
I am asexual, and we exist.
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