Welcome, all of you taking part in the spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt! Read on …
Welcome to this year’s YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…not to mention chances to win amazing prizes. At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Once you’ve added up all the clues, you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team!But don’t wait to get started on the hunt: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours.
You can learn everything about the contest at the YA Scavenger Hunt page, where you can see links to all authors participating and see the full list of prizes up for grabs. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter either or both! (I’d go for both if I were you.) I’m a part of the RED TEAM — but there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books! Also, I’m having a little secondary contest of my own, so be sure to read all the way to the end of this entry for your chance to win one of FOUR very special prize packs.
But first, you need to learn about …
THE SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, if you look for it, you’ll find where I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Make VERY VERY sure. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify to win!
Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Without any further ado, let’s get to today’s special guest, the author I’m hosting for the hunt — GRETCHEN MCNEIL!
Gretchen is the author of YA horror novels POSSESS, TEN and 3:59, as well as the upcoming YA mystery/suspense series Don’t get Mad, beginning in 2014 with Get Even and continuing in 2015 with GET DIRTY, all with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.
In addition, Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano and the voice of Mary on G4’s Code Monkeys, and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and was a founding member of the vlog group YARebels. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
GET EVEN follows the secretive exploits of four high school juniors — Kitty, Olivia, Margot and Bree — at an exclusive Catholic prep school.
To all outward appearances, the girls barely know each other. At best, they don’t move in the same social circles; at worst, they’re overtly hostile.
Different goals, different friends, different lives, but the girls share a secret no one would ever guess. They are members of Don’t Get Mad, a society specializing in seeking revenge for fellow students who have been silently victimized by their peers. Each girl has her own reason for joining the group, her own set of demons to assuage by evening the score for someone else. And though school administration is desperate to find out who’s behind the DGM “events,” the girls have managed to keep their secret well-hidden.
That is until one of their targets — a douchebag senior who took advantage of a drunk underclassman during a house party, videotaped it on his phone, and posted it on YouTube — turns up dead, and DGM is implicated in the murder.
Now the girls don’t know who to trust, and as their tenuous alliance begins to crumble, the secrets they’ve hidden for so long might be their ultimate undoing.
And has Gretchen got a treat for you — it’s the original, never-before released first draft of the opening scene of GET EVEN!
Gretchen says: “Long since cut, this is the first thing I ever wrote for GET EVEN. I still have a soft spot for Bree’s shenanigans.”
YA SCAVENGER HUNT EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Bree reached her hand into the darkness and fumbled blindly for her messenger bag. Dammit. Stupid thing had to be there somewhere.
The small storage closet was almost completely dark, with the less than notable exception of a meek, greenish glow that slipped in through the gap below the door. Though her pupils must have dilated to the size of quarters after three and a half hours in the inky blackness, there still wasn’t enough light to make out more than the hulking shape of a basketball rack and a few pep rally flag poles propped up in the corner. Even the heap of folded mats on which she’d been camping out was nothing more than a murky void beneath her, and the only reason she knew she was actually in the storage closet in the Bishop DuMaine Preparatory School gym was the lingering stink of aging rubber, floor wax and B.O. that filled her nostrils with every shallow breath.
Lovely. How was it that she got all the glamorous jobs? Just once she’d like to be the one with the cushy assignment – internet research or hitting a house party for a little firsthand reconnaissance – instead of the what she usually got stuck with: crouching in damp bushes before breaking into someone house, hiding beneath garbage-strewn bleachers to record a supposed private conversation, or bored out of her mind hours on end, trapped in a putrid, dark closet.
Maybe one day she’d insist on a safer task. Something where she wouldn’t run the risk of getting expelled for trespassing, for instance. A wry smile crept across her face at the thought of one of the other girls locked up in a gym closet for hours then perpetrating misdemeanor vandalism at school. They’d either lose their nerve or their lunch, and though it would absolutely compromise the mission, Bree thought she might insist on someone else doing the dirty work next time, merely for entertainment value.
Still, it was her own fault she was spending a Monday night on the first week of junior year huddled in the dark. She always volunteered for the dangerous assignments, like a junky looking for her next fix. The adrenaline, the risk, the knowledge that at any moment she might get busted, forcing dear old Dad to bail her out of juvie. Shit, getting caught just might be worth it.
Bree laced her fingers together and pressed her palms outward. Every muscle ached, every joint creaked and groaned in protest. She slipped off the creaky stretch mats and forced herself into a standing position. She needed to be alert, ready to spring into action when her alarm went off at exactly nine o’clock as she’d only have thirty minutes of disabled school security to get into the A/V room, install the remote video player, and get out or she’d be trapped at school all freaking night.
Which despite her earlier fantasies of arrest, was not the way she wanted this to go down.
There was too much at stake.
Bree looped her messenger bag over her shoulder then patted the pocket of her hoodie for the hundredth time, making sure her Ziploc bag of supplies was still safe and sound. A palm-sized USB port media player loaded with a very special video, the facilities manager’s key to the A/V room, lifted from his key ring earlier that afternoon, and a tiny flashlight. Everything was set.
Bree’s hand trembled as she rested it on the interior door handle of the closet. She hoped the security system would actually go offline as she’d been promised or her part of the mission would be over before it began. She felt like Han Solo powering up the Millennium Falcon on the Death Star. “I hope the old man got that tractor beam out of commission,” she said under her breath, “or this is gonna be a real short trip.”
She laughed out loud. John would have been so proud that she was quoting Star Wars as he firmly believed there was a Star Wars quote applicable to every moment in life. She wondered what John would think of what she was doing – would he approve? Worry? Get pissed off that she hadn’t told him about it?
A faint beep broke the silence. The alarm on her tablet.
Biting her upper lip, Bree twisted the door knob and cracked the door. She didn’t breathe, just stood frozen, waiting for the searing scream of the school’s security alarm to inform her that the police would be arriving in exactly one hundred and twenty seconds. But there was nothing. No alarm, no flashing red lights, no nothing.
Bree swung the door open and stepped confidently into the gym. Emergency exit lights tinged the cavernous space alien-green, but other than that, the gym was dark and still.
Or was it?
She could have sworn she heard movement from the upper bleachers, a faint ring of footsteps on hollow wood.
Bree held her breath, her ears straining to catch the dying echo of footsteps. She stood dead still and scanned the upper reaches of the gym where the second floor balcony stretched up to the ceiling. Nothing moved. Silence descended on the gym and all Bree could hear was the pounding of her own heart.
“There’s no one here,” Bree said out loud. Her voice sounded powerful in the pingy acoustics of the empty gym. “Just me.”
Bree turned her focus to a door on the far side of the gym that led to the A/V room upstairs. Her hand crept to her pocket and her fingers wrapped around the stolen key ring.
“And I have a job to do.”
And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Claudia Gray, and more! (I’ll be giving away a signed ARC of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, one of the very first to get out into the world, so you know you want to get your hands on that one.) To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 88. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
(And they said there would be no math.)
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for all the exclusive prizes (and your chance to win), you need to check out the next author … Jessica Shirvington!
As for the extra contest — comment right here, on this entry, and you’ll be entered to win one of THREE prize packs, each of which contains signed copies of my three most recent books: a paperback copy of SPELLCASTER, a hardcover copy of the second book in the Spellcaster trilogy, STEADFAST and (drum roll please) an ARC of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, the first book in my upcoming YA science fiction Firebird series from HarperTeen. If you’ve followed the Red Team all through its journey, you’ve already read a scene A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (or you will), so hopefully you’re looking forward to checking it out. All you have to do is comment; I’ll have your email address then, and will be able to contact you if you win.But you can enter a second time by following me on Tumblr (just click the link here at the top of my website), or by tweeting “Checking out A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by @claudiagray at the YA Scavenger Hunt! #yash”. Good luck to everyone!
(Be sure to tweet about the YA Scavenger Hunt, too, with the hashtag #YASH!)