THE HUNT (Project Paper Doll Book 2) is out today!  

To celebrate the release of The Hunt, I thought I’d share the original, deleted opening. (SPOILERS AHEAD, if you have not read The Rules.)

I almost always flail and fumble a bit when I start a book, usually because I’m starting in the wrong place. :) The finished version of the first chapter, you’ll find, doesn’t bear much resemblance to this! (It’s also a good reminder for me that this is why second drafts exist—it doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try.)

But I still loved the idea behind this scene: that something you have wanted for so long, something you’ve fought for—in this case, freedom—can be completely terrifying in its newness.

Chapter One (Deleted)

Ariane Tucker

The trouble started with the pancakes. Or, rather, the lack of pancakes.

It was such a simple thing. So stupid. Sunday equals pancakes. It had been that way every Sunday for the last ten years. But it wasn’t like I was required to eat them. They held no special nutritional value for me. If anything, I probably should have chosen eggs or something with more protein. Does an alien/human body good, you know.

But Sunday equals pancakes, so that’s what I ordered when Zane and I pulled into a fast food drive-thru just over the border in Indiana.

Indiana. Two states away from Wisconsin. Farther than I’ve ever been before. I felt a quiver of anxiety. A warning sign, if I’d been looking for it. But I wasn’t.

“I’ve never been outside Wingate before,” I said after Zane placed our order. I wasn’t sure if I was telling Zane or just acknowledging the fact aloud.  

Zane, behind the wheel, gave me a tired smile and stretched his arms. We’d been taking shifts driving the van, but when the sun had come up, Zane had pointed out carefully—for fear of hurting my feelings—I was the more recognizable of the two of us. It was probably better if I wasn’t as visible.

No argument there, unfortunately. In a crowd, Zane would always stand out, for his 6’5 height, if nothing else. But behind the wheel, my too-light hair and oddly white skin were probably more noticeable.

“Welcome to the great Crossroads state,” he said, suppressing a yawn. “Just like Wisconsin, only flatter. I’m pretty sure that’s their state slogan.”

I tried to smile, but my face felt oddly tight. I hadn’t slept much…at all, really. “You’ve been here before?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Yeah, lacrosse stuff.”

I envied his casualness, his comfort with the unknown, which, I guess, wasn’t quite as unknown to him as it was to me. Then again, almost everything fell into that category.

“Sorry. Out of pancakes,” a bored voice said suddenly through the crackly speaker, making me jump. I hadn’t realized someone was still there. “You want something else?”

Zane looked to me.  

“I…” My words dried up in my throat.

It was a simple question. But it stopped me dead.

I forced myself to look at the light-up menu, the options swimming in front of me.   

“A hamburger,” I managed through a throat that felt like it was closing off.

Before Zane could relay that, however, the intercom guy spoke up again. “Grill’s not set up yet for lunch. Breakfast menu only.”

I could feel my breath coming too fast. This was ridiculous. Logically, I knew that whatever I chose to eat had no bearing on anything. But pattern, routine, and rules were always what I clung to, how I made sense of my day, my life.

I wiped my hands down my pants, still the white ones from the lab. I’d covered the tunic with a sweatshirt from the bag of supplies my father had left.

I should have changed my clothes. All of them. It was too much of a risk to stay like this. I hadn’t wanted to put on clean stuff while I was still dirty, covered in dirt and bloody scratches from our flight through the woods behind GTX. Dumb, dumb, dumb. 

“Hello?” the intercom voice asked impatiently.

“Are you ok?” Zane mouthed to me, his expression alarmed.

I nodded jerkily, trying not to cry. 8 hours. 8 hours of true freedom was all it took to break me. That, and a breakfast value menu. Pathetic.

“Uh, yeah, sorry, we’ll just take three number threes with orange juice,” Zane said quickly.

“Is that three total or in addition to the number three you already ordered?”

“Three total,” Zane snapped at the guy, still watching as though I might explode or collapse in a heap. Either felt possible at the moment.

  “What’s wrong?” he whispered,

“I’m fine. I just need to…we need to stop, get off the road.” I was suddenly all too aware of the cars around us. People who could be watching. The open sky above us loomed menacingly, filled with invisible-to-the-naked-eye satellites that could be tracking us, homing in on the little chip still nestled near my spine like tiny tumor waiting to spread malignancy. 

A chip that I hadn’t even known existed until eight hours ago. Until the letter. What else did I not know?


Check out the final version in THE HUNT, which is out today! :)



Here’s a selection of some of the new YA novels hitting the shelves this week (20th - 26th April). For more on new releases and all things YA lit, visit our website, follow us here and on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Fragile Line by Brooklyn Skye
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: April 21st
One minute she’s kissing her boyfriend, the next she’s lost in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Cox is losing time. When Ellie goes missing for three days, waking up in the apartment of a mysterious guy—a guy who is definitely not her boyfriend, her life starts to spiral out of control.

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: April 21st
Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release date: April 22nd
When your mom thinks she’s Amelia Earhart, navigating high school, first love, and family secrets is like flying solo without a map. As her mom’s flight plans become more intense, Alex is increasingly worried that Amelia is planning her final flight - the flight from which she never returns.

Deception’s Princess (Deception’s Princess #1) by Esther Friesner
Publisher: Random House
Release date: April 22nd
Maeve, princess of Connacht is her father’s favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle—it’s easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom. Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she’s determined to win the right to decide her own fate.

Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: April 22nd
Imogene is known only as the girl on her mother’s blog. When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online…until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to tell the truth about her life.

The Eighth Day (Eighth Day #1) by Dianne K. Salerni
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: April 22nd
When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he learns that he’s in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others exist only on this special day.

Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: April 22nd
Tania Deeley is a human in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart, Tania begins to seek answers. But on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.

The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2) by Stacey Kade
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: April 22nd
Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human.

The Inventor’s Secret (The Inventor’s Secret #1) by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: April 22nd
Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. When a new exile seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled to live in freedom.

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: April 22nd
Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook. Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

Meridian (Arclight #2) by Josin L. McQuien
Publisher: Greenwillow
Release date: April 22nd
Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering, and dangers that even the Fade fear.

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: April 22nd
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society. Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release date: April 22nd
Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting connections.

Summer State of Mind (Whispering Pines #2) by Jen Calonita
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: April 22nd
Summer has finally arrived and Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper’s parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

TALKER 25 (TALKER 25 #1) by Joshua McCune
Publisher: Greenwillow
Release date: April 22nd
It’s a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life.

Troll Mountain: Episode III by Matthew Reilly
Publisher: Momentum
Release date: April 22nd
Raf’s mission to Troll Mountain is in ruins. Having penetrated the mountain, only to be caught in the act of stealing the fabled elixir, Raf must now face the trolls’ champion in a fight to the death. If he can somehow survive this fight, his mission may not be over.

The Fearless by Emma Pass
Publisher: Random House
Release date: April 24th
Cass remembers the night the Fearless passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

Keep the Faith by Candy Harper
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Release date: April 24th
Get ready for boy dilemmas, friendship dramas and madcap grannies. Will Faith make up her mind between the gorgeous Finn and the lovely Ethan and manage to get herself a real-life boyfriend? Will Faith’s family learn how to be normal, non-embarrassing people?

Shift by Jeff Povey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Release date: April 24th
A motley crew of bickering teens find themselves totally alone in the world after a strange power surge hits their classroom during detention. With no answers as to how the rest of the world has disappeared, the mismatched group is soon facing a bigger nightmare than they could ever imagine.

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Release date: April 24th
The world can tip at any moment… a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty.

You are my favorite author! You're writing is so fantastic; I just love it. I was wondering are you going to write another series after the project paper doll books? Or just write a novel?
— Anonymous

Thank you so much!!! :) Project Paper Doll has one more book after THE HUNT (which comes out next week), so I’m working on book three (title TBD) at the moment. Book three will be out in April 2015.

But I do have some other projects in the works that I’m super excited about. More details coming soon! :D



Happy 55th Birthday, Emma Thompson (April 15th, 1959)

"Maybe I don’t take myself so seriously any more. And I don’t care how I’m judged. I’m past all that."

(via assassinandthecaptain)

I'm not 100% sure I haven't sent this in before, so sorry if I have... But 'Suffering So' by April Smith kind of reflects Will's attitude towards Alona in the beginning of the first book in my opinion? I felt the need to share this for some reason X'D

Nope, this is all new to me! :) And you’re absolutely right. I looked up the lyrics, and WOW! Yeah, it totally could have been written from his perspective on Alona. I love it!

Thank you for letting me know about it. :D I love music, and I’m always buying songs and creating playlists, especially ones that remind me of particular characters or emotions I’m writing.