ASTRAL is a YA Sci-fi that's part Fringe and part The Minority Report.
In five minutes, seventeen year-old Bastian Reynolds will go from complete nobody to the most wanted criminal in both universes. And it’s not like his day’s going to get any better. While he frantically searches a popular marketplace, looking for the bomb he’ll inevitably be linked to, he finds a not-so-awesome-surprise: the other universe’s version of his dead girlfriend found it first.
Thanks to her ability to predict violent crimes before they happen, seventeen year-old Sora Walton has her own countdown to contend with. The Government expects her to find and stop the bomb, and she does, too. After all, she’s spent seven years saving countless civilians from certain death. She doesn’t expect to stumble on the boy who shows up in her dreams – on the wrong end of her knife. She doesn’t know why she’ll kill him, but if her last dream is accurate, she has approximately two months left to figure it out.
But changing the future may be more difficult than Sora anticipated – because as Bastian and Sora fight their destinies a group named The Division prepares for a different kind of fight. A fight that begins as soon as they arrange Bastian and Sora’s marketplace meeting – and ends when the ailing parallel universes are either healed…or destroyed.
**This manuscript is one of the inaugural winners of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award and won the YA Category of the Windy City Chapter of the Romance Writers of America's Four Seasons Contest!**
First Page (ish):
There are easily five hundred people from both ‘verses in Ryland Market today – and they’re all going to die if I can’t find this bomb in time.
I’m tempted to just start yelling. If I make enough noise or freak enough people out, they might leave. Or stampede. I rub my temples and inhale way too much of the sticky, thick marketplace air.
One look at the monstrous guy in the flowery shirt next to me and I decide against causing a scene. I don’t want anyone to end up on the wrong end of his feet. Instead I put all my power into my arms and push myself away from this massive cluster of people, breaking the disgusting sweat-seal that had formed between me and the Hawaiian shirt wearing mountain.
I wipe the sweat off my arms as my eyes search faces and track every bit of movement, trying to find some sign of the bomb. But these people are all just minding their own business. A couple gropes at each other in the middle of some serious PDA, an old lady laughs at a kid sitting in a giant copper pot, and the air gets heavier as each second passes by.
They don’t know that they’re so close to death. They’re less than five minutes away from being victims in the worst bombing in the history of both ‘verses, and –
Do you always have to be so melodramatic? Reese’s voice intrudes on my thoughts.
All these people are about to die because of me, I shoot back, angrily. Telepaths. Think they know everything.
I heard that, Reese says as a short guy pushes past me to get to the wind chime booth. You should be more grateful, you know. I am technically a traitor now –
That makes two of us. I interject. Remember me? Bastian Reynolds, the soon-to-be-infamous Ryland Market bomber?
Yeah, yeah, sure. You count too. But we all know I’m the brains of this outfit.
Just shut up and help me find the damn bomb. I snap at him.
Yes, oh bossy one, he says with a fake British accent.
Are you still in the middle of the Market?
Of course. This is the prime mind-reading spot, you know.
I had no idea. Why don’t you use your Jedi-mind trick on someone else and get out of my head ‘till you find something? I wince at the desperation in my voice.
As you wish, young Skywalker.
I roll my eyes again as quiet finally fills my mind. A lady in a one of those weird, that-might-be-a-dead-animal-on-your-head hats shoves me aside on her way to the hot dog stand. I stumble, but someone calls my name, effectively cutting off my colorful response to getting shoved.
A cold chill runs down my spine – even though it’s easily ninety degrees outside, and somehow I’m right next to sweaty-Hawaiian-shirt-guy-again. I dart away, feeling time slip through my fingers.
“Bastian,” it’s quieter this time. Like a voice carried by the wind –