Genre: YA Adventure/Light Sci-fi
Word Count: 97,000
To please her BFF, seventeen-year-old Royce Larkin agrees to attend a party promoting a new virtuality video game. Her best friend is there to flirt with Beck, the new guy at school. She has no idea that he is Royce's ex-boyfriend, or that Royce still harbors major feelings for him, which makes the party totally awkward for Royce. Then Beck acts like he barely knows her and it becomes the Worst. Party. Ever.
When the game, Omega, begins to converge with Royce's reality—as in, one minute Royce is on her morning jog and the next she's dangling from a cliff over a lava ocean—no one will believe her. Then another player ends up dead. For real. Everyone thinks that all they have to do is stop playing. Wrong. The less they play, the more Omega sucks them inside to battle hooded figures with laser guns, horrific creatures and earn statuses to reunite Chaos and Balance on Earth. Now Royce has no choice but to help Beck beat the game, while somehow keeping her heart from breaking all over again. Because if they don't win, they'll suffer the same fate as the kid who died.
GAME OVER has never sounded so ominous.
First 250 Words:
Mr. Famura stares at me like he knows I’m texting instead of learning how to conjugate Japanese verbs. I stop mid-text and slip my phone discretely between my legs, diverting my attention back to my book as if that has been my focus all along. Oyogu, to swim. Oyogimasu, formal present. Oyog...my mind starts to blur the letters as I think about the text chain on my phone.
Cailee: Met new Romeo in Espanol.
Me: Who is it this time?
Cailee: Meet him at lunch.
Meet him at lunch? As in, I don't already know him? I feel rather than see Mr. Famura glaring me again. Okay, back to work. Oyogimashita, formal past. Oyoida, informal past. I swam across the river. Kaw o oyoide watatta.
Fifteen minutes later I'm on my way to AP Chemistry and I still have absolutely no idea who Cailee's new Romeo is. So far, none of my guesses has been right. And there's no way I'm going to find out now, because if you even admit you own a phone in Mr. Bo’s class, you won’t see it again ‘til three o’clock.
So I sit in my chair, slipping Cailee and her new Romeo into the vault in my brain. Close door, spin lock, don’t forget the combination. Just in time, too.