Who's ready to enter to win a TON of books?
That's right—it's YA Scavenger Hunt time yet again. Interested in participating? Here's what you need to know:
Somewhere in this blog post, I've hidden an important number. Collect all of the secret numbers of the authors on TEAM ORANGE and add them up. (Don't worry—you can use a calculator!) Then, fill out the entry form HERE. People who have the correct number will be entered to win a copy of every book from TEAM ORANGE!
The contest is 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 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Find out more about the entire hunt—including what other authors/teams are participating—by visiting the YASH home page.
So without further ado...
Gina Damico grew up under four feet of snow in Syracuse, New York. She has since worked as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. She is the author of the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy (CROAK, SCORCH, and ROGUE), HELLHOLE, WAX and the upcoming WASTE OF SPACE (2017), all published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. She lives in California with her husband, two cats, one dog, and and obscene amount of weird things purchased at yard sales.
Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.
With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late?
Oooh...sounds super creepy!
Here's Gina's bonus content:
A note from Gina: This is a deleted scene from somewhere around the beginning of WAX. Poppy has just left a party where she was the victim of a humiliating prank – that part is still in the book, but this part was cut because the character was later cut. Enjoy!
And that wasn’t even the end of it. It was only the end of the humiliation portion of the evening; the weird-ass, what-in-the-hell portion had just begun. The one she would never tell another soul about.
For as she flailed down the suburban, poorly-lit street, wet and half-naked and wanting nothing more than to burrow under her covers and never come out again, a voice called out to her.
Poppy was an intelligent girl. Even in her state of extreme distress, she knew better than to stop and converse with a dark, creepy stranger emerging from the shadows. But something in that voice made her involuntarily pause, literally stopped her in her tracks.
In that one simply syllable: a world of fear. Embedded deep within the man’s baritone, a gritty, scratching rasp. An alien, unknown element that she’d never heard before. Something that had no business being in a human voice. Feedback on a hot microphone. A scientifically impossible sound wave. The screech of an ancient sea monster bubbling up to the surface.
Poppy stayed absolutely still.
The man stepped into the light of a streetlamp. He was ragged and mangy, like a feral dog. Long, greasy hair hung in front of his face. His clothes sagged from his bones. He walked with an odd gait, as if limping on a bad foot. When he got close enough to Poppy—and she let him get close, against her will, as if she’d lost the power to move—she could smell his stale, putrid breath puffing onto her tear-stained face.
She looked up into his eyes—again, not because she chose to—and cringed at the cold, unfeeling orbs looking back at her. The one on the left had a scar next to it, a pale, crescent-shaped gash framing the corner. Later she would remember that they were all black, no whites in them at all, though that could have just been a trick of the light. But what happened next was no trick. She was sure it happened, sure as she’d ever been about anything.
He asked her about the weather.
“Is it going to rain tonight?” he rasped. The aberration was still there in his voice, that staticky undercurrent.
“I don’t think so,” Poppy answered, surprised at how calm she sounded. She did not feel calm.
“Still hot tomorrow? More sun?”
“Yeah. The heat wave is supposed to break next week, I think.”
He gave his head a violent shake, upset by her answer. “That won’t work,” he growled to himself.
And even though Poppy was the one who looked like a drowned lemur, she found herself blurting, “Are you all right?”
The man didn’t answer. He stared at her, curious, cocking his head, as if deciding whether he should unhinge his jaw and devour her whole. Something flashed on his chest—a silver chain around his neck, glinting in the moonlight.
With that, he turned and retreated into the woods, shadows shuddering as he walked through the brush.
That should have been the end of it, but Poppy was still under his spell. Maybe it was the insanity that had come before. Maybe he looked like she felt. Maybe it was the whole To Kill A Mockingbird theme running through the evening and the bizarre thought that this man was her Boo Radley. Whatever it was, Poppy would never be able to figure out what compelled her to shout after him, “What’s your name?”
The shadows trembled.
The woods went silent.
She never saw him again.
Your next steps:
Still on the YA Scavenger Hunt? There are two things you'll need to move forward. One: My secret number—34. And two: Your next stop on the Hunt. Head to Jeff Garvin's website for more great book content and goodies!
And don't forget that somewhere on the TEAM ORANGE hunt, you'll find a deleted scene from my new book, HOW IT FEELS TO FLY, which came out June 14. Interested in an additional chance to win a copy, as well as some book swag? Check out the Rafflecopter below!