by Katie Hayoz
Genre: YA Paranormal
Number of pages: 350
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Nathalia Suellen
Sixteen-year-old Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. But if there is one thing she’s sure of, it’s her love for Kevin Phillips. She’s willing to stake everything on it –her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.
Sylvie has been best friends with Cassie forever. But everything is turned around when the boy Sylvie’s loved since fifth grade falls for Cassie. Devastated, Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible, even if it involves treachery, deceit, and the dark side of astral projection. She is positive her plans will give her what she wants, but she doesn’t count on it all spiraling out of control.
Finalist in the Mslexia novel competition, Untethered by Katie Hayoz explores the intoxicating and dangerous world of jealousy and obsession when coupled with paranormal ability. It is a touching, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking novel that speaks to the self-doubt lurking in us all.
Excerpt from Untethered by Katie Hayoz
A Memory: Stupid Girls
The summer we were ten years old, Cassie and I held our fingers over my mother’s biggest, shiniest knife and looked into each other’s eyes.
“Ready?” Cassie asked. Her eyes shone. She dragged her front teeth across the plump cushion of her bottom lip.
The knife was her idea, not mine. I would have gone with a needle.
But a few hours earlier Cassie had come over to my place with tears in her eyes, upset about her parents drinking. As usual.
There was never any violence. Never anything to get too freaked out about. But sometimes it wore her out. Like this time. This time she wilted against the back of the couch and whispered, “They barely notice I’m there.”
I laced my fingers in hers. We sat a long time, dangling our flip-flops from our toes, the too-sweet smell of honeysuckle coming in from the open windows.
Suddenly, Cassie sat up straight. Her left flip-flop dropped to the floor. “You’re my best friend, right?”
“We’ve been through everything together.”
We had. From what everyone called my ‘fainting spells’, to getting our pants pulled down by the neighborhood boys, to an attempt at running away, to living through Sam’s practical jokes. And more.
“And we’ll be friends forever? We’ll always be able to count on each other, right?” Cassie spoke quickly now, her grip on my hand getting tighter.
Her intensity wasn’t exactly scaring me, but it did make me squirm just a little. “Forever.”
She narrowed her green eyes at me. “Prove it.”
So it came down to this: An extremely sharp knife and an oath to always be best friends. Which is why we were standing there, in my kitchen, my mom’s cutlery in our hands and why Cassie’s face was flushed with satisfaction and mine with fear.
“The oath,” Cassie prompted. We said it together, our two voices melding into one:
Blood Sisters, blood sisters as long as we live. Always together. We always forgive.
Best friends forever, best friends for life. As proof we share our blood with this knife.
“On the count of three,” Cassie said.
“Uhhh ... ”
“You can’t hesitate, Sylvie. If you hesitate that means you don’t take it seriously.” She fixed me a look that managed to be both demanding and pleading at the same time.
Where we gripped the handle, my palm was slick with sweat.
She started to count: “One ... two ... three ...”
Both of us slid the pad of our index fingers down the blade at the same time.
The blood came first. Bright, bright blood. And then the sharp, stinging bolt of pain. The knife dropped to the tile floor with a loud clang. Cassie sucked in a huge breath. I stared at the red dripping onto my feet and cried out.
We’d been intending to rub our blood into each other’s cut. But before we could, I felt a prickle of fear and then nothing. Nothing at all.
Dizziness seized me as I hovered near a cobweb in the corner, watching as my mom ran into the kitchen and took control, her voice strange and surreal from where I was.
“What are you girls thinking?” she shrieked. “Do you know what kind of infections and diseases you can get from doing this kind of thing? You’re lucky you didn’t cut your fingers off!” From above I saw my body go limp, my head pitching forward and my legs buckling. “Oh, my Lord, Sylvie! Don’t faint!” When Mom thrust our hands under cold water, I came back to my body with a jerk. “Stay with me!” pleaded Mom as she shoved my raw and aching finger further under the rushing tap.
Mom cleaned our cuts and wrapped them in Barbie Band-Aids. It was only then that Cassie and I touched fingers. We hooked them around each other and squeezed, the pain from the fresh cut throbbing up to our elbows. But no fluids were shared, so officially we were just two kids with deep cuts. Not blood sisters.
Even so, we took that oath — Band-Aids or not we took it. “We’re blood sisters,” Cassie says even now, six years later. “No matter how mad we get, we have to forgive.”
Or do we?
Katie Hayoz was born in Racine, WI, the youngest of six kids. Originally, she wanted to become pope (for the awesome hat and fancy robes), but quickly realized reading was her true religion. Writing was always a hobby, but she decided to go at it seriously when she ended up in Geneva, Switzerland. Now she's constantly at her laptop in the small apartment she shares with her husband, two daughters, and two fuzzy cats. She devours YA novels like she does popcorn and black licorice: quickly and in large quantities.
Connect with Katie on her website: www.katiehayoz.com
On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7032949.Katie_Hayoz
On Twitter: www.twitter.com/katiehayoz
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/katiehayoz.author
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Definitely telekinesis. How cool would it be to be able to move things with your mind?! I am lazy enough to sooooooo want this ability. My house might actually end up clean for once.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The very first five-star review by a book blogger. Toni at My Book Addiction reviewed the novel and when I read the review I started bawling happy tears. It was an awesome and really entertaining review. That was a great day!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it’s damn good, I hope.
What book are reading now?
Right now I am taking part in the Clean Out Your E-Reader and reading free books I got for my Kindle. The current one is Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart. I’m really enjoying it so far.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Fall. I love it when it’s cool enough to wear jeans and pretty boots, but not yet cold enough to need a coat.
What was your favorite children's book?
The Ice Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds by Arnold Lobel.
Beach or Pool?
Beach. No fluorescent lights there. I mean, who was the cruel jerk who decided to put up fluorescent lights in a place where you show your thighs?
What is one book everyone should read?
I don’t believe there is one book everyone should read (apart from Untethered, of course). No, wait. I take that back. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus by John Gray. It’s pretty spot on.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m wrapping up a new novel which will be the first in a two-book series. I’m hoping it will be out in February. I also have a couple other writing projects I’m working on. If you sign up for my newsletter on my website, you’ll get all my publication news before anyone else.
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