CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth WeinAfter I write this confession, if you don’t shoot me and I ever make it home, I’ll be tried and shot as a collaborator anyway. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and this is the easy one, the obvious one. What’s in my future—a tin of kerosene poured down my throat and a match held up to my lips? Scalpel and acid, like the Resistance boy who won’t talk? My living skeleton packed up in a cattle wagon with two hundred desperate others, carted off God knows where to die of thirst before we get there? No. I’m not travelling those roads.

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THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST by Rick YanceyRemember, I was twelve years old. A boy, yes, but a boy who had already seen his fair share of grotesqueries. The laboratory had shelves along the walls that held large jars wherein oddities floated in preserving solution, extremities and organs of creatures that you would not recognize, that you would swear belonged to the world of nightmares, not our waking world of comfortable familiarity. And as I’ve said, this was not the first time I had assisted the doctor at his table.

But nothing had prepared me for what the old man delivered that night.

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MEMOIR OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC by Gabrielle ZevinAbove all, mine is a love story.

And like most love stories, this one involves chance, gravity, a dash of head trauma.

It began with a coin toss.

The coin came up tails; I was heads.

Had it gone my way, there might not be a story at all. Just a chapter or a sentence in a book whose greater theme had yet to be determined. Maybe this chapter would have had the faintest whisper of love about it, but maybe not.

Sometimes, a girl needs to lose.

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DEFIANCE by C.J. Redwine

DEFIANCE by C.J. RedwineI turn away, trying to see where the perimeter ends and the Wasteland begins, but the sun is nothing but a fiery mirage below the tree line now, and the shadows have taken over.

“Last call!” one of the guards shouts, his shoulders flexing beneath the dark blue of his uniform as he reaches for the iron handle beside him and begins tugging the gate inward. I flinch as it slams shut with a harsh metallic clang. The guards weave thick, gleaming chains through the frame, securing it until the guards on the morning shift return with the key.

For a moment, we stand staring at the now-closed gate. Then Oliver wraps an arm around me and says, “It’s time.”

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THE UNNATURALISTS by Tiffany TrentThe etheric energy zips across my eyelids, my wrists, slithering down my stockings into my boots. I am suspended in the crackling field for several seconds before my palms and knees hits the floor.

I breathe slowly, afraid I’m nothing more than a cinder. But cinders don’t breathe. Nor do they think. It’s impossible, thought, that I’m still alive. I should be burned to a crisp.

The field is down. Somehow, I’ve tripped it, though that, too, should be impossible.

The Sphinx’s claws splay before me, five perfectly curved scimitars. One lifts and ticks against the marble plinth as the beast stretches her toes.

I made not be alive for long.

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THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney SummersThe raw crunch of metal sends me reeling back and puts everything on pause for one brief, critical moment where I edge around the wreckage and try to focus on one thing that makes sense. This: Mr. Jenkins is spread-eagle on his lawn, in his housecoat. He’s twitching. Mrs. Jenkins is kneeling over him. She rips his shirt wide open. Heart attack, I think. Mr. Jenkins has bad heart. She’s giving him CPR.

Except that’s not what it is at all.

Mrs. Jenkins’s determined fingers have torn past the material of Mr. Jenkins’s shirt.

And now they are tearing into his chest.

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LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood Brown

LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood BrownI hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that. Sure, I’d wanted to, but too many suspicious drownings got people talking. Fearful townspeople were the last thing I needed. Besides, I was getting a sick thrill out of denying my body what it craved. Self-control was my latest obsession. I doubted my sisters could say the same thing.

Rising through the Caribbean waters, I walked my fingers up the bank of dead coral  until I found the pattern of cracks I was looking for. I followed it to the surface, coming up at the spot where I’d stashed my pile of human clothes. My cell phone was ringing somewhere in the pile.

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TOKYO HEIST by Diana Renn

TOKYO HEIST by Diana RennArashiyama is only forty-five minutes from Kyoto by local train. But it feels remote and sleepy, steeped in humidity. It’s a different humidity than in Tokyo. There’s a freshness in the air, and a scent of grass and water, that makes me think of the dark green matcha we once drank at Kenji and Mitsue’s house. The town itself is surrounded by lush, tree-covered hills – the same hills Hiroshige and van Gogh put in their art. Shop owners take their time unlocking doors, washing down walkways. Couples go out for morning strolls. Men in pointed hats pull rickshaws. I can smell breakfasts cooking: salty, pungent smells of rice and miso, seaweed and salty plums and pickles, staples of the savory Japanese breakfast. Nobody’s in a hurry.

Nobody but us.

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SEND by Patty Blount

SEND by Patty BlountHe taunted me with lips curled into a mocking grin and a bring-it-on wiggle of his fingers. “Oh, I’m not worried about you.”

He should have been worried. If he had a brain, he’d have been terrified. According to the state of New Jersey, I was dangerous, a menace to the society it had removed me from for nearly a year.

He threw a punch that I easily blocked. I heard running footsteps behind me and spun. A security guard and a teacher were coming for us. I also saw something else.

A girl. Staring at me from the front seat of a black pickup.

Dude, duck. The warning came a second too late, which he’d probably planned.

The fist that connected with my face clinched it for me: God was bullied as a kid.

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THROUGH TO YOU by Emily Hainsworth

THROUGH TO YOU by Emily HainsworthI don’t remember much of that night besides her bloody shape slumped against the cracked driver’s-side window, but I remember those fucking bushes.

If I hadn’t dropped the stupid lighter—if Viv hadn’t laughed at me for being a klutz and reached for it herself—if she hadn’t been going quite so fast so we could get to my house and into bed—and if it hadn’t been raining—I might not be standing here staring at her pathetic shrine on the sidewalk.

I wish it were mine.

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THE UNINVITED by Tim Wynne-Jones

THE UNINVITED by Tim Wynne-JonesHe stared up at the ramshackle cottage on the bluff, its yellow paint peeling, the roof sagging. His mother’s studio window faced this way, the best view in the house. Now the window was full of sky and autumn clouds. He could not see her moving about inside.

He took a deep breath and made his way up the hill on a path he had worn himself through the goldenrod and wild asters and spilling milkweed.

The screen door hung open.

He found Mavis on the floor of the studio, slouched against a cabinet, her body limp, her left arm trailing on the floor, blood flowing from a deep and ragged cut across her palm.

“Framing a picture,” she said. “Hand slipped. Honest.”

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SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman

SERAPHINA by Rachel HartmanI remember being born.

In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me, and I was safe.

Then my world split open, and I was thrust into a cold and silent brightness. I tried to fill the emptiness with my screams, but the space was too vast. I raged, but there was no going back.

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AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE by Kat RosenfieldIt was quick.

He didn’t say a word, didn’t make a sound, neither did I. Not until, with his sweat still drying on my skin and his scent still draped over my body, he pulled back and looked down at me. In the dark, his features were nothing but vague lights and shadows.

His voice came from somewhere above me.

“This is the last time we’ll ever do this.”

I laughed at first.

“We’ve got all summer,” I started to say. All summer to be here, be together. The words died on my lips as he looked back at me.

“We’re done,” he said. “This is done.”

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THE VICIOUS DEEP by Zoraida Cordova

THE VICIOUS DEEP by Zoraida CordovaThey stare, but not at me.

At my legs.

My ripped shorts are in my mother’s hands. I cannot read her face, but it isn’t surprise like it should be. It’s worry.

“What’s happening to me?” I don’t know if I’ve actually managed to say it aloud. I sit up on my elbows and look down. Even though I know what I’m going to see, I still shut my eyes for a little while. And when I open them, it’s still there—

My great blue fishtail.

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WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight

WILDEFIRE by Karsten KnightThe boy lay there in his sea-soaked tuxedo. His body was chained to the sharp rock by a series of thick metal links, and he was stretched out like he was on a torture rack. Blood drooled from his mouth down onto his bare chest, where his captor had ripped open his white tuxedo shirt. The lower half of his body was submerged beneath the water.

His eyes flickered in a state of half-consciousness, but he had the presence of mind to loll his head across the seaweed-covered stone and mouth something to Ash.

"Help me."

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