on November 8, 2015
When seventeen-year-old Lucas Marshall tests positive for the M0A1 gene—a genetic abnormality believed to predispose humans toward violence—he is shipped off to an impregnable government facility to undergo a battery of psychological tests aimed at making him crack. Now, having survived their tests and proven his mental stability, Lucas is labeled safe to return home.
But any hope Lucas has of returning to a normal life is shattered when the van transporting him to the reintegration facility is forced off the road by a group of radicals intent on accessing the facility and exposing its dehumanizing practices. And Lucas is their ticket through the front door.
Spurred by rumors that the facility is secretly holding one of his old friends captive, Lucas and his bunk mate, Chris, agree to infiltrate the testing facility’s inner sanctum. Once inside, Lucas’s carefully laid plans begin to unravel and he's forced to seek help from those still locked within the facility’s concrete walls. But when every genetic test claims your only allies are hardwired to become the next Charles Manson, it’s impossible to know who to trust.
This fast-paced, not-so-distant dystopian futuristic tale will appeal to teen readers. VERDICT: A must-have for libraries seeking dystopian futures packed with action, violence, and moral dilemmas ~School Library Journal
The strobe light above my bed jarred me awake, its irritatingly bright and equally annoying buzz breaking through the brief three-minute dream I’d drifted into. A dream about a world where Tyler was alive and I wasn’t trapped inside a concrete shoebox at the mercy of some geneticist’s whims.
I looked up at the circular light hanging from the ceiling, thinking of all the destructive ways I could silence it but never planning to act on any of them. Violence was the reaction IGT’s scientists were hoping for, the one reaction that would get me condemned forever.
The thin pillow they’d gifted me did little to block the light, but I yanked it from beneath my head and slapped it over my eyes anyway. You’d think after three nights, I’d be used to their latest form of torture—sleep deprivation—but no. Every time the blasted thing flared to life, I’d shoot out of bed, my feet hitting the cold tile floor as I willed my heart to stop racing. Adrenaline coursed through me, making me edgy, irritable, and ready to lash out at anybody and everything. A few more nights of that, and they’d win. I’d lose what little control I had left and snap, turning myself into the violent threat I swore I’d never become.
“Shit, man, get it together.” Frustrated, I jumped down from the top bunk and dropped my head to my knees, forcing my breathing to slow. It didn’t work. It never did.
The temperature in our room was jacked up to over 80 degrees. Sweat poured off my body, trickling into my eyes and screwing with my already hazy vision. I didn’t know how much longer I could take this. Three nights of being jolted awake every thirteen minutes and seven seconds had me seriously contemplating giving up. At least locked away in a cell surrounded by darkness and silence, I would’ve been able to sleep.
Chris grunted and flopped over on the bottom bunk, then settled back into the mattress and started snoring again. I watched him for a minute, jealousy flooding my system. He’d obviously found a way to block out the lights, not even flinching as they flashed above us in a blinding crescendo of torment. I needed to figure out how he did it, bribe him if need be, perhaps with my dessert at meals or the magazine I’d smuggled in. Either way, Chris was going to tell me how he’d managed to sleep through this latest test or it was going to be his face and not the flashing light above my bed that I took my anger out on.
The room went blissfully silent, but flashes of silver and white still streaked my vision, each burst ratcheting up my anger. The lights always lasted longer than the noise. Like a tease … a way to poke at us for a few more seconds.
I straightened up and stared at my bunk. I hated the hard-won comfort it offered. Our beds were sparse—a mattress, a blanket, and a flattened pillow. We’d had sheets when we first got here; that is, until the guy across the hall figured out how to tie his into a noose. I don’t think the staff would’ve cared so much if he’d used it on himself. But he went after his roommate, left him dangling over the edge of the metal bedframe. Or so the rumors said.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
TRISHA LEAVER lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes young adult fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. She is a member of the SCBWI, ITW and the YA Scream Queens— a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror! To find out more about her, please visit her website at: www.trishaleaver.com
LINDSAY CURRIE Lindsay lives in Chicago with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and a 160 pound lap dog Sam. She loves Halloween, peach tea and Disney World (in no particular order) and is a contributor to the @YAScreamQueens.
An author of young adult and middle grade fiction, she is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press and Spencer Hill Contemporary. For more details on Lindsay’s upcoming books, please visit her at: www.lindsaycurrie.com.