When she wakes up in Afterlife, Mia’s blocked out everything – her death, her friends, her family, even her real name. All she knows is that she’s too young to be dead, and she absolutely hates Afterlife’s suffocating serenity.
Mia will do anything to escape it – even serve as Guardian to the lip-glossed and venomous Valerie Wittier. Unseen and unheard, Mia must prevent Valerie from making fatal errors that, if not amended, will lead to the school shooting that kills six freshmen. But though Valerie holds the power to prevent – not cause – others to die, she’s too selfish and headstrong to care.
Feeling helpless and incompetent, Mia watches the week spin out of control in a kaleidoscope of rumors, fights, rivalry, and romance. She tries to redirect Valerie and save those in jeopardy of dying, but seems continually distracted by Valerie’s best friend, Grace Hewitt, aka Miss Perpetual Bystander. It’s Grace’s ambivalence towards wrongdoing (and blatant denial about her feelings for the reckless Will Pendergrass, who clearly adores her) that infuriates Mia to the point of obsession. By the time Mia realizes she’s presiding over the last week of her life, it may be too late to save everyone involved.
THE BEAUTY OF DESTRUCTION is a YA thriller with paranormal elements that holds enough unexpected twists to prove that first impressions are often deceitful, especially in high school. In the vein of THE LOVELY BONES meets NINETEEN MINUTES, it is complete at 102,000 words.
I was falling, tossed through the sky like a shirt in a dryer. Hair whipped across my face. My arms and legs flailed around, spinning me in circles. I couldn’t tell which way up or down, but I knew I was dying. I remembered once hearing that when you fell in a dream, you never hit the ground. If you did, you’d die. The thought made my chest constrict so tightly I wondered if my life was squeezing out of me, preparing me for a giant splat of my body against the pavement. A small part of me clung to the hope that I’d never stop falling – that I’d go on like this forever. But, of course, that didn’t happen.
I stopped with a jerk like I’d been riding some rusted carny ride and found myself standing with my eyes tightly closed. I was pretty certain that my bones weren’t broken. My guts weren’t splayed across an empty sidewalk. But I didn’t exactly feel good or safe. I felt like I was waiting, hanging in that moment of uncertainty where nothing had been confirmed...