Friday, November 28, 2014


Rachel Manija Brown is the author of the memoir All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India. Sherwood Smith is the author of many fantasy novels for teenagers and adults, including Crown Duel and the Mythopoiec Award Finalist The Spy Princess.

They applied the Page 69 Test to their new novel, Stranger, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Ross and Mia walked to a busy intersection marked with signs he couldn’t read, where they stopped for a cart pulled by armor-skinned bullocks. There were people everywhere, so many that it was impossible to keep them all safely within view, and they all either openly stared at him or pretended they didn’t. Children nudged one another and pointed. His shoulder blades crawled with the need to get a wall at his back.

“How big is this town?” his voice was soft, but everyone within earshot stared.

“Population one thousand sixteen,” Mia said with visible pride. “Including our newest citizens, Enrique and Esteban Carrillo, age three weeks.”

His attention was caught by a couple in pants and shirts the color of desert sand, walking quickly and with purpose. They bristled with weapons.
This excerpt from page 69 is representative of the setting: a post-apocalyptic frontier town built on the ruins of Los Angeles, full of mutated animals, and townspeople who rarely see visitors.

It’s also representative of the characters: Ross is a prospector (a scavenger of artifacts from the pre-apocalypse world) who is used to fighting off the many dangers of the desert by himself. He’s not scared of risking his life, but he is scared of socializing.

Mia is the teenage town engineer who has a small obsession with numbers.

What page 69 is not representative of is that it doesn’t have any action. The book as a whole is full of battles with giant rattlesnakes, people discovering their mutant powers, and romance—and that’s before the entire town has to pull together to fight off the most deadly attack yet.
Learn more about Stranger at the Viking Children’s Books website.

--Marshal Zeringue