“grabs readers from the first page and won’t let go…showdown that follows is a doozy”
bulletin of the center for children's books
“delivers the goods”
“strangely inventive…entertaining and exciting”
“unusual supernatural thriller”
“very original…Nelson's writing skills are unique”
dreaming in books
“highly unique…quickly pulled into the story”
25 hour books
“innovative…quite the kick for teen and adult audiences alike”
living read girl
“quite well written”
“breathtaking, mesmerizing, heart stopping, pulse racing and mind blowing...my all time new favorite vampire book…utterly amazing”
read for your future
“refreshing…I loved Emma from the start…the NASA Space Center setting is a particularly brilliant touch”
powerful…strong writing…captivating…hard to put down”
I have never been the skittish type, but I jumped about three feet and even let out a tiny bit of a shriek. It was a deep, deep man’s voice that somehow made me instantly conscious of the bones inside my arms and legs, as if they had separated from the tissue and I couldn’t use them anymore.
I spun around, fists raised; there was no one there. But the door, the big wooden door with the pattern like a Z, was gone. There was nothing there but a tall black rectangle in front of me. It’s open.
“What were you expecting?” the deep voice went on. “For me to say, ‘Enter freely and of your own will?’”
I never heard the door open, not a creak. No one was standing there that I could see. The flashlight was at my feet, still aimed up at the stars. I reached for it and the voice spoke again.
“My God, you are young, aren’t you? A girl. What are you doing here by yourself?”
The voice was coming from the black rectangle inside the house. I pointed the flashlight. I could see at least twelve feet of empty space beyond the open door, the flashlight beam tacking a spot on the far wall with a nail of light.
The floor was rough sawn and littered with dust bunnies and little bits of trash and leaves. There were no footprints in the dust that I could see. I was just about to say something about the car being stuck, and now I was glad that I hadn’t.
“Where are you?” I said, feeling a pulse start up in my neck.
“Ah, I like that,” the voice said.
The voice was outside now, somewhere to my right. I swung the flashlight beam over. Still no one there. I turned in a frantic circle. Every direction was empty.
“Your throat is…vollkommen. Perfect,” the voice said. “I can smell just the slightest hint of…Salz. And your feet are bare. More than perfect. And is that some kind of u-ni-form?”
The word ‘uniform’ was pronounced in three slow syllables as if he wasn’t used to it. Not a hint of redneck; the voice almost sounded cultured. I felt my skin freezing in horror.
The first time it happened, I was in the eighth grade. His name was Lane Garner. He was standing across a volleyball net from me in his parent’s back yard. The afternoon sun blazed behind his head, framing his face with fire. I fell in love without even knowing the color of his eyes.
Lane Garner slammed the ball off the top of my head. I blocked a couple of his spikes. By the end of the day we were sitting on the back porch chopping ice with an ice pick and trading turns cranking an old fashioned wooden ice cream maker between our knees.
After that he came over to my house every day. Shot basketball with me in my driveway. I couldn’t sleep for thinking about him…his long, muscular legs, lanky arms, the way the collar of his t-shirt always shifted toward his left shoulder. Lane Garner was the most beautiful human being I had ever seen.
I have never taken drugs, other than prescription stuff, but those months must’ve been what an addict feels like. I wanted to be with Lane every second. Hold his hand for the rest of my life. More than that, I wanted to absorb him. Be absorbed.
I covered my notebooks with his name. He gave me a fake gold necklace that said LANE. One night I rolled over and nearly choked to death in my sleep, but still I wore it.
I was wearing the necklace in the Explorer Middle School gym one morning when a sick odor of overripe oranges came up into my nose and the world flashed off. When I woke up, everything was strangely round, as if I were looking at a reflection in a Christmas ornament. My nose was snuffling in a puddle of warm urine. A hundred of my not-so-closest friends were watching, including my soon-to-be-former BFF Gretchen Roberts...and Lane Garner.