Release date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Romance
Series: Dissonance #1
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.
Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.
But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
The playground teemed with shrieking kids, leaping off the monkey bars, going down the slide head-first, playing freeze-tag. Two moms pushed their toddlers on the swings, gossiping about playgroups and marital woes. I dropped onto a nearby bench, distracted and jittery from the dissonance. To calm myself, I slid a pale purple square of paper from my backpack, creasing and folding until a six-pointed star took shape. As I worked, another noise fought for my attention. More ragged, less musical. Annoying. I looked around.
A little girl, four or five, huddled at the base of a tree, sobbing in the unashamed, exceedingly wet way kids did – snot and tears and misery plastered down her front, her wails nearly as loud as the world’s pitch.
Except for breaks, everything in an Echo, living or dead, should resonate at the same frequency. I moved closer, brushing a hand along her dimpled elbow, wondering if I’d missed something.
There wasn’t. Her signal was off-key but stable, and therefore, off-limits. Interacting with her would only make things worse, could actually create a break. Smarter to move along and leave her to her sobfest.
The problem was, touching an Echo — even a stable one — caused them to notice you. The kid snuffled and clutched my sleeve, tipping back her tearstained face to look directly at me.
Once one Echo sees you in their world, they all can. But nobody on the playground was paying attention to either of us. Not a single turned head or furrowed brow. It was easier to ignore her than listen to her. I knew what that was like.
I pried her fingers off my arm. “What’s wrong?”
She scrubbed at her eyes. “I was playing and I saw the ducks and I wanted to show them my balloon. And I went on the grass to show the ducks my balloon and I fell and the string went up and now it’s gone and it was red. And red is my favorite color, but my red balloon is gone.” She spoke in one unbroken rush.
“Your balloon is gone.”
“And it was red,” she wailed, a fresh flow of gunk cascading down her face.
I did see – caught in the tree branches overhead was a sorry-looking red balloon.
“Can your mom can buy you a new one?”
To see what happens next, go here for the next excerpt.