BUT, since the booksigning scene was already shared during my cover reveal (and I have it up here: Booksigning Excerpt), I guess I should share another excerpt with you instead, right?
So, here's some of Chapter 1, where you get to meet Phoebe, Em, Grace, Alec, and, of course, Dev:
I rocked forward, balancing my book on my knees and tried to ignore the yelling and chatter around me. The edge of the cafeteria bench dug into my legs, practically cutting off my circulation, but I barely noticed.
Em elbowed me, leaning over to hiss in my ear, “Seriously, Feebs, put that down. You look like a freak.”
“Uh-huh. Just one more page…it’s getting good.” I flipped the page. Maeve was about to be transported to the Otherland and the court.
“God, you are a freak.” Em heaved a dramatic sigh and turned to talk to the rest of our tablemates.
Yes. This was it. It was like magic jumped off of the page and into my fingers, travelling straight to the pit of my stomach. Aedan.
The words rolled over me and the cafeteria faded away.
Aedan held out his hand, waiting, his gold-flecked eyes meeting hers, making it impossible to look away. Even though Maeve was dying to reach out and wrap her fingers around his, she hesitated. The whole situation was insane.
“Trust me…”I whispered along with him and my heart skipped a beat.
“What the hell?” Em broke into my thoughts and I jolted back to the cafeteria and caught sight of a guy a few tables over trying to stuff an entire hoagie into his mouth. God, reality sucked.
It took a second to focus and I closed Golden slowly, holding it so tight that the corners of the cover dug into my palms. Even on a reread, it was perfect. “Em, I think I’m in love.”
“Just a tip, Phoebe,” Em said as she none-too-gently pried the book from my hands and slipped it into my messenger bag, “Normal people don’t read books during lunch, unless they have a test the next period.”
My fingers itched to pull Golden back out of the bag. My brain was still on a book high, stuck on the Hill of Tara in Ireland with an incredibly swoon-worthy guardian. The contrast between that and a South Jersey high school cafeteria was jarring. “Normalcy is overrated.”
“Normalcy is what keeps us afloat in this sea of teenage drama,” Em said in her best authoritative voice with a dramatic toss of her short, dark curls. Without missing a beat, she managed to seamlessly pop back into her conversation with Grace and Alec.
We were like four legs on a wonky table. Em and me, the band geeks…I was the bookish one to balance her drama nerdery; Alec, the sciencelete; and Grace, our resident cheerleader. Most of us, like me, kinda flew somewhere below popular and above total nerddom. Grace, with her blown-out strawberry blonde hair and designer wardrobe, was a part of the glitterati but still deigned to sit with us nobodies. If she hadn’t been a sciencelete with Alec before making the squad, she probably wouldn’t even know our names. Instead, she was the voice of reason to balance Em’s theatrics, Alec’s geekiness, and my tendency to quote fictional characters. And Em and Alec, who had grown up next to each other, were the glue that held us all together.
I unpacked my sandwich and resigned myself to the fact that I’d gone from living in a world of ancient magic to lunchtime mundane.
“Can someone explain to me why we even need pep bands?” Em said, breaking into Alec and Grace’s debate about football. “I’d do anything to get out of another Friday night of freezing our butts off in the stands and playing the stupid victory march over and over again.”
Grace was still wearing her red and orange uniform from the pep rally that morning, and even her color coordinated, beribboned ponytail screamed school spirit. “That’s assuming our team even manages a touchdown against Millbrook. Their offense has a spread-passing attack that dominates the field and their defense has given them five shutouts this season. I doubt you’ll be playing any victory marches tonight.” The words that came out of her mouth sounded like they made sentences, but I wasn’t really sure what they meant.
Em elbowed me. “Did you understand anything she just said?” Grace sometimes forgot that Em and I routinely failed the football module in gym every year, which was kind of impressive considering we were forced to sit through all the home games for credit in band.
I took a bite of my sandwich, swallowed without chewing, and twisted my nose at Grace. “Total lack of athletic knowledge here, remember?”
Grace threw a carrot stick at me. “Says Miss Wannabe Olympian.”
“Because archery is so much like football. If someone starts running at me, I don’t try to jump on them. I shoot them.” I anchored my hand alongside my chin and shot her with an imaginary arrow.
“Like that girl from that new movie.” Alec said, “Perfect Zombieism. That was so awesome how she made a bow out of that tree branch and her shoelaces.”
Not that scene again. The shoelace thing I could forgive even though it was a string made out of braided fishing line in the book, but the branch part was annoying. “That’s so not possible. She’d never get enough force and distance out of the size stave they used in the movie. I read the books and they weren’t that ridiculous. Hollywood messes up everything.”
“But the movie is still really cool,” Grace said with a shrug. “Even with its total lack of respect for the laws of physics.”
“And biology,” Alec added, which earned him another shrug from Grace. “What? All good zombie movies at least pretend there’s some kind of biological reason for their zombies.”
I pressed my hands flat to the table and sat forward. “Okay, this is something that’s been bugging me for a really long time. Did you notice that the people in Zombieism all have perfect vision? Totally not realistic.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Em mouth, “Here we go again,” to Grace.
I continued. “Will someone please tell me why no one in dystopian or apocalyptic novels has bad vision? I’m so blind without my contacts that, if we ever have a nuclear or zombie apocalypse, I’m screwed. I won’t even be able to get contact solution, and, if my glasses break, that will totally suck. If the world was ending and people were scrambling for their lives, you know there would be some people going ‘Guys? Guys? I can’t see where you are.’”
“Well, if the world is ending, we’ll just leave you behind to fend for your half-blind self.”
“Thanks, Em. Thanks so much.”
“I’ll blindly fight off the zombies with you.” Came a voice from behind me... Continue Reading