Synopsis: On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.
Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing Charley remembers is blacking out in an Atlanta parking lot, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.
Lost and alone, Charley hunts for a way out. She discovers desolate beaches and human remains, but no sign of civilization–until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with hidden dangers, their greatest threat is time.
They can’t stop the clock. They can only hope to beat it.
As we cut through the trees, the unmistakable smell of roasting meat filled the air. “Someone’s smoking something,” I said, taking a deep breath. Even though I’d just eaten, my mouth watered like I’d just walked by a pre-game tailgate at UGA.
Sabine made a face. “It’s the hog. Don’t worry, Charley, you don’t have to eat it.”
“Have to? I want to. I haven’t smelled anything this good in weeks.”
Natalie laughed. “Sabine’s a vegan, Charley. No meat.”
“I take it you’re not?” Sabine asked, crinkling her nose. But she was smiling.
“Nope. I’m a Southerner. Barbeque is its own food group for us.”
The trees fell away, dumping us on the beach. White sand shifted under my sandals, finer than the black sand I’d been walking on for the past few weeks. But the sand was nothing compared to the scene before me.
The sun sparkled, rising into a cloudless sky. The ocean lay ahead, stretching until it met the horizon, blue kissing blue. Close to shore, the waves broke and retreated. But for the first time since I’d set foot on Nil, the beach was full of people and activity. A fire pit wafted lazy smoke into the air. Around the fire, kids laughed and talked. Two shirtless boys were playing catch with a coconut, throwing it like a football, their shoulders and backs rippling under a sheen of sweat. A girl built like a Playboy bunny was sprinting down the beach beside a tall boy with dreadlocks, like an advertisement for island athletic wear. Other kids floated on surfboards past the whitewater. It looked like an island retreat, like the perfect Hawaiian vacation spot.
Something twanged, like when a violist strikes a sour note.
“Natalie,” I said, turning, “where are the adults? The little kids?”
Author Bio: Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.