SOLSTICE EXCERPT: TEAM DYSTOPIA
Hi! P. J. Hoover here, author of the upcoming dystopian/mythology YA novel, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), and today is one of my favorite excerpts from Solstice! Excerpts are divided into two groups: Team Myth and Team Dystopia. Over here is Team Dystopia! I was trying to find the perfect dystopian excerpt, maybe from somewhere in the middle of the story, but the opening chapter captures so much about the dystopian world of Solstice that I had to go with it. I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for reading!
Mom says, “Watch the heat today.”
I nod and hug her and go to school like normal. Her concern’s nothing out of the ordinary. And neither is the heat.
At school, after lunch, I walk through the school’s old parking lot, keeping my head down so that the mist doesn’t get in my eyes. The vapor sprays out from above, causing a layer of green gel to settle on my skin and hair. I run my hands through my hair to try to smooth it, but it’s no use; the cooling gel only makes the curls get wilder.
Heat waves ripple over what remains of the black tar, disturbed by a random cactus here and there. A couple years ago they finally tore up the blacktop and attempted to plant some native greenery, but everything except the cactus had a hard time taking root. I take my time before my next class, soaking in the heat. Everyone else complains about it, but to me, the heat finds a way to sink into my soul and give me strength.
For the school to be spraying gel, the heat has to be extreme. Just before I walk back inside, I glance at the bright orange numbers of the thermometer plastered on the side of the school. It blinks one hundred and twenty-one degrees Fahrenheit, the uppermost boundary of the orange zone. The temperature hasn’t climbed this high since we moved to Austin four years ago. It rarely even reaches into orange at all, staying below one-hundred and sixteen most of the time. I pull out my FON to double check it, and it registers the same. One degree more and . . .
The sirens start blaring in an earsplitting pattern of high and low, up and down. One degree becomes a reality. The numbers turn red. The temperature reads one hundred and twenty-two. The risk of heat-related death doubles.
I step inside, and for a second, all the kids just look around at one another, like the sound hasn’t yet registered. Like they’re all waiting for someone else to move.
“It’s another drill,” one guy to my left says.
“Didn’t we just have a drill?” someone else asks.
I shake my head because I know this isn’t a drill; I’d seen the thermometer. But I don’t want to cause a panic. The principal comes on the intercom system and does the job for me.
“Report to your designated cooling areas immediately. This is not a drill.”
Realization sinks in, and the hall erupts in chaos. Since I’m on the Disaster Student Council, I need to help out. I push my way through the crowd until I escape into the science hallway. The concrete makes the sirens even louder as the sound bounces from one wall to the next, then off the floor and ceiling and straight into my ears. I check each classroom to make sure it’s empty, and then I circle back to the gym—the designated cooling area for our high school. I take up my position at the door on the far left and start directing kids inside.
Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.Buy the Book!
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade novel, Tut (Tor Children's, 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.
P.J. is hosting a huge giveaway on her site, so make sure you check that out after you enter the giveaway below!