GENRE: YA Scifi
WORD COUNT: 80k
Fifteen-year-old Tanwen Varro's father warned her what could happen if the colony found her useful. Told her to keep her head down and stick to the basic education requirements lest she be conscripted into the colony's military and lose all chance at a normal life. But nothing's normal in a land marred by fallout, where fiery raids--the result of a protracted fight with a rogue collective--have forced the New Mexican colony underground.
It's easy enough pretending Tanwen's uninterested in school when her best friend is killed in a raid. That changes when new friends and a way out of her family's obligations to the colony become too good to give up, especially when she starts dating her classmate Brant. But when Tanwen can't erase evidence of her intelligence fast enough, her father's paranoid fears come to life. The colony's council taps her as the ideal candidate to infiltrate enemy territory, taking her beyond the dark tunnels of the colony and plunging her into the middle of the conflict.
Her father trained her to be a survivor, but the colony will train her to be a spy. And when she learns a devastating truth, she must ultimately find the strength to come home.
First 150 Words:
When Mom raises her voice that crucial octave--the one that gets the hair on the back of my neck standing at attention--I sometimes wish we left her behind like she wanted. It would probably make things simpler. But not necessarily better.
I stay bent over the control panel, my back to my parents, and pray the nanobots will hurry up and neutralize the sooty soil. We can't lose another crop. Not this late in the growing season.
"I didn't move halfway across the country to live underground." Mom always says that, and today is no different.
Dad just grunts. He probably doesn't even look up, too busy repairing the flame-resistant webbing we suspend over our five acres of beans, barley, and broccoli. Drought tolerant varieties that are supposed to stand up to the extremes here.
I retreat to the next row, out of the strike zone for now.