Today we have a sneak peek from The First, the young adult fantasy novel by author Sarak Zaske.
Cassie Craig is not the chosen one. Not even close. She’s just an ordinary 15-year-old girl whose curiosity leads her to make a strange new friend, Violet. But Violet is more than just a little weird. She comes from a group of people who were here on earth long before us. Powerful people. And they aren’t exactly happy with the way humans have been treating their planet…
Here is an excerpt from The First…
I should have never gone to the new girl’s house. The walls didn’t need to melt, and the ground didn’t have to disappear under my feet to know that I should have stayed far away from Violet Starkey.
Violet was weird.
She looked like one of those abducted kids who’d recently escaped from a locked basement. She was super small and skinny, all elbows and knees, and even though it’s sunny some 200 plus days a year in Oakland, California, Violet was pale as a zombie. From the state of her hair, she must have been terrified of a brush. And her clothes? They looked like they’d been bought twenty years ago, and I don’t mean they’re retro.
The strangest part was she hardly ever spoke, not even to the other losers in our class. If you asked her a direct question, she just stared at you from behind her mega-thick glasses. Even the teachers didn’t know what to do with her, and the rest of us, we ignored her. It was simply social suicide to hang out with someone like Violet.
But I couldn’t stay away. My dad always says I’m like a monkey, and when I see something interesting, I have to find out more, no matter how stupid or dangerous.
I wasn’t at all interested in Violet until that day we played volleyball in gym. Ms. H did a bad job of dividing up the teams, again. Angie, that’s my used-to-be best friend, said Ms. H does it on purpose because she likes to watch the humiliation. This time, though it wasn’t a perfect mismatch. Angie and I were somehow mixed up with the weaklings on the green shirt team, and our friends, Mattie and Emily, were on the much better red shirts. In fact, five of the six girls on the red shirts played JV volleyball. The sixth was Violet.
Why Ms. H put her with the jocks I’ll never know. Violet was so small. And jump? You would think she was rooted to the ground. That’s the funny thing. I mean the thing that I noticed.
It happened because Angie and I tried to make a real game of it. Two good players can hold a side in volleyball, sort of, but you have to push a lot of the dead weight out of the way. Angie and I were running around like crazy trying to keep our side alive. We quickly learned to aim at Violet because everyone else on her side was too good. Violet would just put her arms out and wait for the ball, which would fly right by her.
We were doing pretty well with this strategy until I managed to arc the ball right in front of the net, a feat which required giving Melissa Chang a bit of a nudge. Angie lept over Niki Martinez to get the spike.
It was beautiful in a way. Everything slowed down. Angie hung in mid-air, in perfect position, her arm hiked back . . .