Deviation by Christine Manzari
Posted by brriske
Book cover and blurb
Author: Christine Manzari
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.
Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.
When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.
Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?
I wasn’t so sure about this one at first. Until Chloe set her room ablaze! Then Holy Moses did the fun start. Catty girls, secrets, mysterious boys, strange abilities, the list is endless. The characters are so well created and funny, witty, just all around awesome. They are friends that you wouldn’t mind having at your back. They are all strong, loyal, and a little rebellious. Christine Manzari did a bang up job for her debut novel, and I for one cannot wait for the second book. Hopefully like the first there are many twists and turns to battle through. I think most of the YA genre and even Sci-Fi genre book readers will fall for this book/author.
*Reviewer for Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock!
The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.
Deviation on B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deviation-christine-manzari/1116503777
Book Excerpt 1:
My hands were shaking. My blood was on fire and my skin was crawling as if my insides were actually boiling. Air. I needed air. I tried to crawl off the bed and get to the window, but the words from the email were blazing through me—a bellowing inferno of indignation.
Cease and Desist.
My hands covered my ears as the words screamed through my head. Or was I screaming?
Pressure was building inside me and I just wanted to let it go, to feel relief. It was too much. I was too hot.
The computer exploded, throwing flaming plastic and metal across the bed. The television answered with its own death, spewing its fiery innards onto the desk and floor, igniting the carpet instantly. The rage in my chest echoed like a heartbeat and with each pulse, something in the room burst into flames. In less than a minute, I was surrounded by broken and burning bits of my room, all of them melting or on fire. A small untouched circle of floor under my feet was my haven, my island in the disaster. Flames raced up the drapes, licking at the ceiling as shards of glass from the window fell inward with an eerie tinkling.
I stared in disbelief, unable to move, as the room burned around me and smoke curled to the ceiling like agitated ghosts. The goldfish flopped helplessly among the wet rubble of his shattered home. Pictures hanging on the wall curled up in the heat, catching flame and falling to the floor in large, ashy flakes.
What had I done?
Book Excerpt 2:
“I’m going to kiss you,” he warned me.
“Don’t . . . ” I answered weakly as his fingers rested on the back of my neck and his thumb softly traced my cheek.
“Don’t . . . stop.” What was I saying? Was I telling him to stop or not to stop?I wasn’t sure that my mind and heart were listening to one another.
Whatever the meaning of my mutterings, Ozzy took it as an invitation. He brushed his lips against mine and I closed my eyes, letting his mouth leave soft, smoldering, caresses on my lips. The light brushing of skin on skin mingling with hot breath was intoxicating and made me feel lightheaded. I tried to tell myself it was just the concussion and not a genuine reaction to the infuriating boy I couldn’t seem to say no to. At least not successfully.
Ozzy’s mouth took its time exploring me, trailing down my neck, across my jaw, and then back where it had started. When I reached up to thread my hand into his hair, I briefly felt him smile against my lips. This was nothing like any kiss I’d had before. This was perfect. His hands moved down over my shoulders, his arms wrapping around my back to pull me close. My breathing stuttered and became desperate as he continued to kiss me . . . gently . . . passionately . . . skillfully.
A little too skillfully.
How many other girls had he kissed just like this? Probably lots.
And that killed the mood. I turned my head away and pushed on his chest to create some distance.
“What’s wrong?” he murmured.
“I’ve had enough.” Lie.
“Are you sure?” Ozzy asked, trying to catch my mouth with his again.
“Totally sure.” Another lie. And another push to create more distance between us.
“Maybe I could convince you otherwise,” Ozzy suggested, leaning forward, brushing his lips against mine, his breath leaving a trail of warm promises along my mouth.
I straightened my arm to keep him a safe distance away. Safe enough that I wouldn’t be tempted. “Not necessary,” I struggled to keep my willpower strong and the tremor out of my voice. “You weren’t that great the first time around.” The lie of my lifetime.
Ozzy backed away from me, the surprise on his face was quickly replaced by intrigued curiosity. I expected to see annoyance, not a smile. But there it was, a cocky smile. It seemed impossible to offend him.
“Well, I’ll take that as a challenge,” he announced.
Book Excerpt 3:
I could hear Arabella’s and Sterling’s warnings to stay away from Ozzy echoing in my thoughts, but my lips seemed to have a mind of their own. I leaned into him and my mouth met Ozzy’s once, twice, three times. And when my lips parted in invitation, his arms tightened around me and his breath quickened as his kissing became more eager, as if he was dying of thirst and only I could quench it. His tongue slid across my top lip and then he sucked on my bottom one.
He gently walked me backwards until my back pressed up against the clothes hanging from the rack behind me. I dropped my pajamas and toiletries to the floor and my hands went to his chest, roaming inside his jacket, working their way under his shirt to touch the tight skin of his stomach. Even knowing how dangerous this boy was and what he was capable of, I couldn’t stop myself from touching him. The light graze of my fingertips caused his kissing to become more insistent. I reached up and tried to pull his jacket down his arms. There was too much clothing between us; I wanted to feel the muscles of his arms, the warmth of his skin.
When he continued to kiss me and run his hands through my hair, ignoring my desire to get his jacket off, I swung him around and roughly pushed him up against the clothes rack, ripping the offending clothing off his shoulders and throwing it to the floor. My less than gentle treatment caused him to smile through the kiss, our teeth grazing briefly.
“Flame Fatale,” he murmured against my lips. “You’re an animal.”
I was surprised at my own actions. I certainly had never acted like this before. I’d tried kissing one of the Homework Harpies once, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I hadn’t been impressed.
But Ozzy . . . Ozzy’s kisses tasted like mystery, and danger, and promises of things I never knew I wanted. His breath was intoxicating, his hands were persuasive, and I wondered why I’d been trying to prevent this from happening in the first place. I was crazy to push him away and I was crazy with the thought that he might pull away and take his kisses with him.
Book Excerpt 4:
We stood quietly, looking at the monument.
“All right then. Had enough?” Sterling asked. “Time to get back to the stadium before Farnsworth comes to.”
“Are you kidding?” Arabella grabbed our hands, dragging us through the cemetery and around the back of the building. The light was starting to fade as the sky began to morph from pinks and oranges into deep purples. “Don’t you want to see his original burial spot?”
“I didn’t really want to see his current burial spot. I just wanted your player’s card,” Sterling admitted as she dragged him along.
We wove in and out of the ancient grave sites, making our way down a worn path, under trees, and to the back corner of the graveyard which was cloaked in too many shadows for my comfort. Soon, we were standing in front of a traditional looking headstone with a carving of a raven underneath words that said “Quoth the Raven Nevermore.”
Arabella stood there for what seemed like an eternity, staring at the tombstone that wasn’t even the current resting spot of the poet anymore.
“He was an orphan, just like us,” Arabella murmured.
“How did he die?” I asked.
Arabella tore her gaze from the raven. “It’s kind of a mystery. He was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and in distress. He kept calling out the name Reynolds and the last words he spoke were, ‘Lord, help my poor soul.’ All of the medical documents have been lost. Some theorists think it was murder, some suicide, some cooping.”
“What on earth is cooping?” Sterling asked, kicking at a pile of leaves at the base of the headstone.
Arabella turned to face Sterling. “Hard to explain, you’ll have to look it up. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say he was forced to do something he didn’t want to do.” Arabella turned back to the tombstone. “Just like us.”
“That’s all very fascinating, but I’m afraid story time is over,” spoke a deep, strange voice.
I whipped around just in time to see half a dozen large men emerge from the shadows. Before I could even think about struggling, one of the men had caught me in a tight grip and another was putting something across my nose and mouth. I kicked out blindly, bucking in the strong grip of the man holding me. As a sickly, sweet, cloying scent filled my mouth and nostrils, Poe’s words echoed in my thoughts. Lord, help my poor soul.
And then everything went black.