Zander and Van are tougher and heal faster than ordinary teenagers. However, the price is a terrible, mysterious hunger—a bloodlust that becomes intensified by specific individuals. Younger Van does her best to suppress it so she can have friends and a normal life; Zander instead keeps everyone at arm’s length and warns Van that once her 16th birthday hits and her powers reach full strength, she should do so as well. Ivy, a new girl—cousin to one of Van’s friends—puts everything at risk. Both Zander and Van hunger to hurt her, but Zander falls for her in a push-pull love story reminiscent of Twilight, right down to Zander’s sneaking into Ivy’s room to watch her sleep. Van, however—when she’s not busy with a love triangle of her own, with a mysterious boy she’s just met and her trusty best friend, Ketchup—is suspicious that certain things don’t add up with Ivy. The conclusion, made strong by unraveling secrets and formula-shattering twists, sets up a sequel.
The pairing of a formulaic start and formula-breaking ending makes the book ideal for paranormal-romance readers seeking a new spin on the familiar. (Paranormal romance. 13-17)
EXCERPT FROM WICKED HUNGER:
“Oscar,” I snap. His mouth stops blabbering and he looks up at me. “I need to know if Zander’s in trouble.”
“Trouble,” Oscar says. He nods deeply. “Tell me everything.”
So I do.
I force myself not to look over at Ketchup once during my explanation. I hadn’t been planning on letting him in on the secrets of our family right now, or any time, to be perfectly honest, but what else was I going to do. There was no chance I was going to ask him to step out. Not only would that be incredibly unfair after I forced him to bring me here, but also, as much as I love Oscar, I do not want to be left alone with him. My mouth spills out the details of Ivy and Zander’s bizarre relationship as I pretend Ketchup isn’t listening to a word of it. I tell him about our hunger reactions, my suspicions, Zander’s love, his likely confession, and his slip that Ivy was somehow going to help him.
At that last part, Oscar’s entire body goes rigid. His eyes latch onto me like a barbed dart, painful and difficult to be free of. “She thinks she can help him?” Oscar says. “She won’t. She won’t help him. She doesn’t really want to. Ivy, Ivy. Ivy is lying. Ivy Guerra. I don’t like her name. Vines and War, that’s what her name means. She will wrap herself around Zander and strangle the life out of him, start a war that none of us can win. Ivy Guerra can’t be trusted.”
“I…what? Her name means war? What are you talking about?”
Oscar tsks at me, one finger of his bound hand bobbing up and down. “I told you to keep up with your Spanish, Van. It’s always useful to know languages. Shows you things that others miss. Guerra means war. Ivy is here to start a war.”
“How could you possibly know that?” Not that I disagree with him, but he’s actually crazy. I suspect Ivy is trouble because of what I’ve seen. I want to stop her, but I’m not going to launch a full out campaign against her on the word of my murdering, psychotic brother.
The dull thud of Oscar’s head hitting the metal table startles me. I look down at him. Panic creeps under my skin. Is this the end of his lucidity? It can’t be. I have more questions still. “Oscar. Oscar! How do you know Ivy is here to start a war? You have to tell me or Zander might get hurt.”
“Oh, Zander will get hurt.” The muffled slur of his words makes them even more ominous. “That girl is no good. If you want to save Zander, you have to stop her, but he’ll still get hurt. Save him and hurt him, don’t save him and hurt him. Pain, either way. Delicious pain. Hunger will be the only one that wins. Hunger always wins.”
My fingernails are digging into Ketchup’s skin. Pain ripples around his wrist, but I pay it no mind. All my focus is on Oscar. “How do you know about any of this, Oscar?”
“They didn’t want me to know, but I found out. Someone tried to help me, and I didn’t believe them. I searched and asked and demanded and screamed until someone told me. They didn’t want me to know, but I found out. I found out, and it made me angry. So, so angry. Furious. Irate. I wanted blood and pain and death when I found out. Nothing could feed my hunger enough, not after being starved for so long. I found out, and they paid for it. I made them pay.”
“Oscar,” I whisper, his words making more sense to me than I wish they would. He made them pay. They didn’t want him to know. He made them pay. My shaking rattles the uneven legs of my chair against the floor, a skittering noise that fries the last of my barriers. I ask my last, most frightening question. “Oscar, why did you kill Mom and Dad?”
“Because,” he hisses, “because, because they lied to us. They knew. All along they knew who we were, what we were, but they tried to pretend, change us, turn us into something we aren’t, starve us, deny us, make us suffer for years and years and years! They said they loved us, but they lied! They lied! They lied! THEY LIED!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. The first book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes series, Wicked Hunger, is scheduled to be released through Clean Teen Publishing on April 1, 2014.
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