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Authors: Lauren Destefano

Sever

BOOK: Sever
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Praise for
T
HE
C
HEMICAL
G
ARDEN
T
RILOGY

“[A]
harrowing debut. . . . DeStefano has an observant and occasionally pitiless eye, chronicling the cruelties, mercies, and inconsistencies of her young characters.”


Publishers Weekly
, starred review, on
Wither

“C
reepy and elegant, shocking and romantic, dreadful and rewarding, and delivers unexpected twists.”

—Lisa McMann,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Wake trilogy and
Cryer’s Cross
, on
Wither

“T
his beautifully written debut fantasy, with its intriguing world-building, well-developed characters, and intricate plot involving flashbacks as well as edge-of-the-seat suspense, will keep teens riveted.”


VOYA
, on
Wither

“L
auren DeStefano crafts an all-too-believable future. I loved the world, the romance, the writing—exactly the kind of book I’ve been craving to read.”

—Carrie Ryan,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
, on
Wither

“R
hine’s struggles and pain are real, and her story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I couldn’t read this book fast enough.”

—Beth Revis,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Across the Universe
, on
Fever

“D
eStefano’s rich use of language helps set this dystopian tale apart.”—
Booklist
, on
Fever

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Contents

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

About Lauren DeStefano

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

Writing acknowledgments is about as hard as writing the book itself. Because how do I thank the people who have changed my life so completely? I once thought to say thank you with a mini bonsai tree whose flowers reminded me of the gardens surrounding the mansion. I learned that mini bonsais make short-lived gifts (You know who you are) and that words remain the best way to attempt to acknowledge all the heart that has gone into this book.

Thanks, always, to my family for their unending support, love, and excitement. Especially my parents, who never tried to discourage my ideas as I struggled to find my way. Thanks to the kiddos, who make me laugh, who stop to pick up wet autumn leaves and interesting rocks, who tell me silly stories and make me glad to be alive. Thanks also to my uncle Tony, who taught me about guns, cigars, and various other things that make Linden nervous.

Thank you to Harry Lam, professional know-it-all, for reading this story in fragments and knowing how to fix the unfixable.

Thank you to the lovely and silly Beth Revis and the sage Aimeé Carter for knowing how to make the pieces fit when I don’t. Thanks to Tahereh Mafi, whose spirit and words are just flat-out good for my soul.

Thanks a million times to my editor, Alexandra Cooper, who, in addition to being phenomenal at what editors do best, also entertained many, many phone calls from me while this installment was being written, and who always knows what to say. Thank you to Lizzy Bromley, artist extraordinaire and all-around genius, for the beautiful covers, and to Ali Smith, who so brilliantly photographed them. Thanks to everyone who routinely takes the elevator to the floor that houses Simon & Schuster BFYR and sees to it that their stories get the star treatment. To visit that floor is to understand what a love for stories looks like.

Thanks forever to the wonderful Heather Shapiro and the entire team at Baror for making this story a part of the world.

Thanks to my agent, Barbara Poelle, for whom proper words of gratitude will forever elude me, and who, with a bit of her everyday magic, has turned my stories into things that can be held.

Thankfully, acknowledgments are longer-lived than potted plants, and so, as this story enters the world and spends its years on the shelves, let it always be known that this story came from a story of its own; it is the product of a lot of love, many phone calls, many tears, much laughter and excitement. In the three years that this series has been in progress, the lives of everyone behind it have changed, showing us funerals, weddings, births. The conquering of fears. Moments of cruel despair. Moments of radiant sun.

This story has been our constant.

It was never a journey I had to take alone. For that, and for everything: Thank you.

I
N THE ATLAS
the river still flows. The thin line of it carries cargo to a destination that no longer exists. We share a name, the river and I; if there’s a reason for this, it died with my parents. The river lingers in my daydreams, though. I imagine it spreading out into the greatness of the ocean, melting into sunken cities, carrying old messages in bottles.

I have wasted too much time on this page. Really I should be in North America, charting my way from the Florida coastline to Providence, Rhode Island, where my twin brother has just bombed a hospital for its pro-science research on embryos.

I don’t know how many are dead because of him.

Linden shifts his weight restlessly. “I didn’t even know you had a brother,” he’d said when I told him where I was going. “But the list of things I don’t know about you is growing longer every day, isn’t it?”

He’s bitter. About our marriage and the way it ended. About the way it’s not really over.

My sister wife looks out the window, her hair like light through autumn leaves. “It’s going to rain,” she says quietly. She’s here only at my insistence. My once-husband still doesn’t quite believe she was in danger in his father’s, Vaughn’s, home. Or maybe he does believe it; I’m not sure, because he’s barely speaking to me these days, except to ask how I’m feeling and to tell me I’ll be discharged from the hospital soon. I should consider myself lucky; most of the patients here are crammed into the lobbies or a dozen to a room, and that’s if they’re not turned away. I have comfort and privacy. Hospitalization of this class is reserved for the wealthy, and it just so happens that my father-in-law owns nearly every medical facility in the state of Florida.

Because there is never enough blood for transfusions, and because I lost so much of it when I sawed into my leg in a maddened delirium, it took me a long time to recover. And now that my blood has regenerated, they want to take it a bit at a time and analyze it to be sure I’m recovering. They’re under the assumption that my body didn’t respond to Vaughn’s attempts to treat the virus; I’m not sure what exactly he told them, but he has a way of being everywhere without being present.

BOOK: Sever
6.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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