Alice Isaacs bears the mark of the afflicted. Unlike the millions before her, she survives. Afraid she is a carrier of the disease, she abandons her family and disappears into what remains of the world. Bodies litter the streets. Cities lie in waste. The government ceases to exist. What the Withering doesn’t destroy, the Clan kills, cleansing the world of those they hold responsible. Those like Alice.
Then one night Alice meets Brandon. He brings word of a rural town untouched by the sickness. He promises a future. He reminds her of what it means to feel… of what it means to love.
Yet the Clan is watching. They’re always watching.
Alice emerges from the shadows and follows Brandon’s promises into his hometown. Everything seems perfect. Too perfect. As hard as she tries, she can’t ignore the softly spoken secrets, the vengeful stares from the town’s elite, the smoke streaming from the woods as the clock strikes the witching hour.
With the imminent arrival of the Clan and the town’s sinister past set to reveal itself, Alice must make a stand, not only for herself, but for those she has come to love. Yet the more she learns about the Clan, the town, herself, the harder it all seems. Maybe they’re right. Maybe the mark does mean something. Maybe she is more than just a girl on the run. Maybe she did cause the Withering.
Blake Mathews didn’t mean to burn down the local museum or barge into the girls’ locker room. He definitely didn’t intend to knock over the bookshelf in the school library, creating a domino effect that left no book untouched, but he can’t help it. He’s bad luck.
His luck changes when he pulls from the library wreckage a book that grants wishes. As Blake explores the true meaning of the phrase “reading is power,” he starts hearing voices and seeing apparitions. Like the little girl who leaves messages written in steam on the bathroom mirror, the scratching sounds coming from the attic, the whispers warning that someone is coming for him.
He follows these clues into the darkest corners of his house where he uncovers a decades-old murder. The more he learns about the murder, the more he recognizes the parallels between then and now. It’s happening again. Except this time, all signs point to Blake being the next victim. His only hope for survival is to destroy the book.
But that won’t be easy. A demon dwells within its pages. And the person who commands it is lurking in the attic, waiting for Blake.
Human beings have evolved beyond emotions. Envy, greed, and hatred cease to exist. Behind the government, the System weighs every decision to secure an efficient, long-lasting society. Anything without value–the weak, the disabled, the Emotionals–faces termination. There is no crime. There is no violence. There is no war.
Everything is perfect.
For the past sixteen years, Penny and her family have eluded the System, hiding amongst the Rationals, learning to emulate their ways. But when her sister fails her year five test and exposes the family secret, Penny abandons her family and takes refuge in the hills outside Region 7.
The hills aren’t empty. There are others like her. Hundreds of them. Their leader, Professor Hume, has a plan to infiltrate the Rational government–a plan sixteen years in the making. Given a stolen identity and thrust into a position of power, Penny must use everything she learned from her parents to persuade a movement that will change the world forever.
Yet the more she learns about Professor Hume, about the origin of the Rationals, about the mysterious boy Charles, about herself, the more the question burns in her mind: what if she’s helping the wrong people?