Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Blog Tour: The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…


Laura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.

Author links:

My panic disappeared quickly. First of all, it never does any good. Years of burglarizing high-level targets taught me that. And secondly, Cassa had actually kicked me pretty hard. I leaned back, letting the cords on my wrists support some of my weight. I barely felt the pain that spread through my forearms. I closed my eyes. The harsh light from the ceiling collapsed into a crescent, then blinked away. It felt good.
But I couldn’t let myself sleep. Not yet.
The usual noise on the block was gone, replaced by an eerie, soundless vacuum. I had been on lockup for so long that I was no longer at ease with total silence.
In her haste to leave, Cassa had missed the blade in my sock. Not that I could blame her. None of us had showered in a week. My leg was heavier than it should have been, but I managed to kick it up toward my mouth. I bit down on my shoelaces and yanked the knot out, then kicked off my shoe.
The blade itself was trickier, and it was several minutes before I had it between my teeth. From there, cutting the cords was nothing. I pulled on my shoe, leaving it untied, and took off for the commissary.
The only thought in my mind was West. West would come for me. He would smile for me, and it would be a sad smile, but it would belong to me. And I would tell him that he had deserved a better sister, and that I had always been proud that he hadn’t turned out like me. And that I would never forget him.
And he would say that he would never forget me, either, and I would know that I wouldn’t be forgotten. That I hadn’t already been forgotten.

I threw open the door to the commissary and was greeted by a total rager. People jumping on tables, singing, laughing, sobbing. The air was sour with the smell of liquor, which some kind benefactor must have brought in for our final hours. This was no place for my little brother.
My parents must have had the same thought.
When I finally saw them, huddled in a corner, backs pressed against the wall, they were alone in a sea of dirty prison scrubs. West was nowhere to be found. My father had his arm around my mother, but I could tell they had been fighting. Her arm was clenched across her chest, and her face had that blankly pleasant expression she used in public when something was wrong.
My tongue grew thick as I pressed my way through the crowd. When I was close enough to my parents to touch them, my mother cringed, and my father tightened his grip on her shoulder, pulling her hard against him.
I cleared my throat and forced my tongue to move. “Mom, Dad. It’s me.”
Dad’s brows deepened, and his eyes slid away from my face to focus on a place behind me, as though his real daughter might still emerge from the crowd.
“Where’s West?” I asked.
“Your brother couldn’t be here.” My father’s voice was strange, like listening to a once-familiar recording that had grown warped with time.
“What happened to your head?” My mother’s voice was exactly as I recalled: piercing and unhappy. “You’re bleeding. Let me take a look at that.” I flinched as she reached for my face, and she echoed my reaction back to me. “I’m not going to hurt you. It’s going to get infected, the state you’re in.”
“Not if I die first.” My words had the intended effect of shutting her down, but it didn’t feel like I wanted it to. Regret and fear crowded together in my stomach, and I looked away from her. “So, why couldn’t West be here?”
“For Pete’s sake, Charlotte,” my father began, but Mom cut him off.
“His OPT had to leave.”
“You’re not all on the same one?”
“No, we are,” Dad said, and it was Mom’s turn to look away. I stared at her anyway, trying to figure out how they were all going to be together, but West wasn’t here. In this room. “It’s been hard for him,” Dad continued. I flicked my eyes up toward my father, still confused.
“Michael,” Mom whispered.
“It has. It’s been hard for all of us. She should understand that.”
“It’s just not the time.” She turned to me. “But he wrote you a note, sweetheart.”
My mother had not called me sweetheart since I had called myself Charlotte. Dumb, I stared at the torn envelope in her hands. I snapped back to my senses when I saw the attention it was getting from the rest of the room. They were definitely watching us.
My father noticed it too, and stiffened. “We can’t stay here any longer. You were ninety minutes late, anyway.”
Mom wrenched herself from my father’s grip and wrapped her arms around me. I fit my face against her collarbone, exactly like I had as a child. Her voice in my ear was no louder than the slightest whisper. “I never gave up on you. I should have told you that.” Her arms moved down my back, and her grip tightened. “I’m so sorry, Charlotte.”
Everything I had planned to tell them—everything from I never meant to hurt you to please don’t forget me— curdled into a cold wad in my chest, and died in my throat. I tried to breathe in, but I heard myself make a sound like a gasp instead. “Mom. Please don’t leave me here.”
She jerked a little, as though something had knocked against her, and I didn’t feel her breath going in or out anymore.
“Excuse me, Senator,” a voice barked. I opened my eyes to peer over my mother’s shoulder. An armed guard stood a few paces away.
My father reached around my mother, so that for the briefest instant, he was holding me, too. But then he closed his fingers around her wrists, and pulled her arms away from me. “Goodbye, Charlotte. I can’t help but feel responsible for…” he began, then stopped.
I watched them leave, feeling numb, like floating underwater, before sliding the folded paper out of its nest. It was my brother’s handwriting, but not as I remembered it. He’d be thirteen now, not seven or eight, as I always thought of him, so it took a moment to confirm that the lighter, sharper letters were his.
I’m sorry.
Yeah, I thought. Me too, kiddo. Me too.

tour  organized by Xpresso book tours

1 comment :