Juvenile Fiction Lydia Kang Control

ISBN 13: 9780803739048

Control

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9780803739048: Control

For fans of Uglies comes a spiraling, intense sci fi thriller.

"Control blew me away. The twists and turns and suspense made for a thrilling ride. Zel is as authentic a character as I've read in a very long time. Highly recommended" - James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner


Set in 2150 -- in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms -- this is about the human genetic "mistakes" that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it's not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren't like any she's ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn't even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister.

But only if she is willing to lose him.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Lydia Kang is a doctor who decided writing was maybe just as much fun as medicine, so, now she does both. She is the author of Control and Catalsyt. She lives with her husband and three children in Omaha, Nebraska.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***

Copyright © 2013 by Lydia Kang



CHAPTER 1

Maybe if I move a little slower, I can prevent the inevi­table. Time will freeze and it’ll be easy to pretend we’re not moving again. I don’t want to budge from the roof of this cruddy building.

The door to the stairwell creaks open. Dad sees the lump of me at the edge of the roof, unmoving. Dark clothes, dark frizzled hair. I am depression personified.

“Here you are, Zelia. I told you to stay off the roof,” Dad says, his voice scratchy with fatigue.

I jerk to my feet. “Sorry.”

“Traffic is about to get bad. Let’s go.”

“Okay.” I cross the gravel roof quickly, trying to catch his shadow slipping down the stairwell to our apartment. Our old apartment. This place is nothing to me anymore. Dust bunnies lurk in the angles of the hallways, kicked around by the maelstrom of moving activity. Inside my small bedroom, I push my duffel bag to the door. Just one bag, crammed to the brim. It’s not much. After years of moving every ten months, you give up amassing anything larger than your fist. Basically, heart-sized or smaller is all I can take.

Around the empty room, remnants of the past haunt the surfaces. Rings from juice bottles cover the desk; picto­screens glow in big white rectangles where photo­graphs have been deleted. I still had eight weeks of rental left on those images—the latest telescope images of the M-16 nebula, beaches and mountains from the twentieth century untouched by humans. So pretty. So gone.

Down the hallway, I smell my little sister walk by. This month, it’s Persian freesia. Dad says nothing about her pricey scent downloads. He also hasn’t commented on the string of boys popping up with alarming regularity on her holo. Unlike me, he’s not bothered by Dylia’s flourishing teenage hormonal nirvana. In fact, she’s chatting up one of her undeserving male friends as she skips down the stairs.

The glowing green screen hovers at an angle in front of her, a projected image from an earring stud that everyone wears. It’s practically impossible to live without our ho­los. They’re like a sixth sense, with limitless connections and information. Dyl got her first holo stud six months ago when she turned thirteen and barely turns it off now. Within the green rectangle, a boy’s face is shadowed under a hoodie and he’s wearing an oily smile.

I follow her downstairs and join Dad in front of our dilapidated townhouse. I tell myself I won’t miss the build­ing’s crunchy gravel roof, or even the ancient ion oven that always zapped our food too much on the crispy side. There’s no point in getting attached to the good or bad of wherever we live.

Dad punches in an order for a magpod on one of the metal cones decorating each street corner. I drop the bag from my tired shoulder and massage my neck, looking up. Out here, the sky isn’t sky but one continuous sheet of painted blue, as if the whole town were built underneath a gigantic, endless table. In Neia—what used to be Ne­braska and Iowa—we get the fake blue underside of the agriplane; up above it’s got grain fields of burnished gold and a sun so bright, it doesn’t look real.

Moving from State to State sucks. In history class, we read about a unified nation hundreds of years ago where you could live wherever you wanted, with any lifestyle you chose. No intense border scrutiny and screening tests; no pledges to adhere to the morals and dress code mandated by each State. But after the country couldn’t agree on reli­gion or politics or how to wipe your butt the right way, they divided into clustered States. Alms, Ilmo, Neia, Okks . . . each stewing in their happy ideals, all of them unified un­der a federal government weaker than my left pinkie.

Dad thought Neia would be a unique place to live. Of all the States we’ve lived in, I almost looked forward to this one. He said we’d go up to the agriplane and have a picnic someday, but the picnic never happened. Now when I stare up at that false sky held aloft by synthetic, spidery supports and blockish buildings, I don’t want to go up there anymore. They say it used to be sunny and bright here, but now the agriplane steals it from everyone. There’s never a moon to look forward to, or a dawn. At least it’ll be a change to see the sun again, which reminds me . . .

“What State are we moving to?” I ask. Dad doesn’t an­swer until Dyl pokes him, hard, on the shoulder.

“We’re . . . I’m . . . maybe Alaska.”

“Alaska’s another country, remember? It seceded four years ago,” Dyl points out. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t actually know. He breathes and sleeps work. No matter the little consequences of State politics or geother­mal catastrophes in what’s left of California.

“Right, right,” he mutters. We both watch him suspi­ciously. Usually we have one week’s notice and a detailed to-do list for the move. This time, it was twelve hours, and Dad’s more scatter-brained than usual.

“Well, as soon as we know, I’ll see what labs I can work in,” I say brightly. Four years ago, Dad decided I should take a holo molecular bio course. I was going through a poetry phase and balked. But as usual, he knew me best. I love my lab work now. He pulls strings to find me after-school work in each new town. I’ve spent all my free time running protocols alongside post-docs and grad students, learning all I could. Hungry for it. There have only been three constancies in my life—Dad, Dyl, and lab work.

“No more lab work,” he snaps.

My body shrinks into a smaller space. “What?”

“You’re too unbalanced. Life isn’t about plasmid vec­tors and bio-accelerants. It’s about dealing with people. You’re going to take States history and political science courses. I’ll reprogram your holo channels when we get settled.”

History? Politics? Is he kidding? I wish I could argue, but Dad’s face is stony and confident. My gram of rebel­lion combusts like pure magnesium. Well, he’s probably right. He always knows what I like, even before I know myself. I thought I wouldn’t like molecular bio, but it’s a second language for me now. Or at least, it was.

“Okay,” I mumble. I wait to see if he has new classes in mind for Dyl, but he stays silent. She never needs any nudging or fixing, academically or otherwise. I’m the im­perfect one.

“Anyway, there’s a worldwide excess of geeks,” Dyl adds, trying to unstiffen the air around us. “Why add to that?” The guy on her holo chortles on cue.

“And there’s a worldwide excess of brain-dead boys trying to get in your pants,” I counter.

Dyl cups her ear, and the holo image disappears. “Quinn is not like that!” she whispers. The guy on Dyl’s holo coughs. It’s the guiltiest-sounding cough I’ve ever heard.

I mope aggressively, but Dad is too busy studying the metal cone’s flashing display. With one touch, it accesses your info and account. Even if you can’t afford a magpod, a nasty public pod will come pick you up. If you’re a little kid, lost, a press of a finger brings a magpod that will take you to the police, your school, or home, depending on the time of day. They’re more reliable than the sun rising and setting. On cloudy days, even the sun lets you down.

It won’t be long before he confesses where we’re really going. Maybe it’ll be like Inky, where there’s a women’s uniform. Dyl will just love that to death. A neck-to-toe gray smock can’t be easy to accessorize.

Other magpods of varying size and luxury float by, hovering over the metal lines embedded in the road. A flashing 3-D sign across the street tells me I need the New and Improved SkinGuard to harden my soft self, in case any projectiles fly my way. If only I wanted to look like I was part insect.

I yank my no-slip (yeah, right) bra straps back onto my shoulders for the third time today. When there’s hardly anything up front to keep the bra in place, it defies the laws of gravity and rises up. Dyl, who’s younger by four years, is already my height and is destined to sprout a larger chest. Maybe by tomorrow.

A dull-looking magpod slows down in front of us, the color of old teeth and sporting a triangle-shaped dent in the back. I’ve never seen this one before, but like all the magpods we get, it looks abused and stinky.

“Get your bags, girls. Let’s go.” Dad’s eyes are hooded and dark. His late nights working have etched deep lines in his face. I toss my bag into the back compartment. Maybe with this next job, he’ll have a better schedule. But who am I kidding? Doctors are always in short sup­ply for those who can’t afford personal CompuDocs, which is half of the population. So no matter where we go, he’s crazy busy.

Dyl turns away from us, whispering to her mugshot of a friend. “Don’t forget your vitamins. And call me after the test. I want to know which poets they quizzed you on.” She finally shuts off her holo.

“You’re over your weekly holo hours anyway,” I tell her. “And remember to switch sides. Your neck is already get­ting twisted. Look.” I reach over to gently touch the tense muscles below her ear.

She straightens her neck and moves away from me. “I’m okay,” Dyl says, adding a tiny smile to dispel any meanness. She does that little side-stepping dance all the time now—keeping her distance, owning her space more and more. I know it’s normal for her age, but it hurts. She hasn’t let me hug her in weeks.

I jump into the driver’s seat before Dyl can protest.

“At least put it on auto, Zel,” she whines.

“Why? I like driving.” Most people put their mags on auto. Just punch in your destination and it goes. But going manual is so fun. It’s a dying art. You really feel like part of the magpod and sense its personality. All the magic of technology disappears, and it’s just you and the machine. No games, no illusions.

Thankfully, Dad’s deep in thought and doesn’t care about me driving today. Dyl tucks herself into the back­seat and grabs a pen-sized styling tool from the mini salon stashed in her purse. She zaps a lock of dirty-blond hair into a perfect helix, then pauses to yawn, squeezing her eyes shut. When they open, she sees me still planted in the driver’s seat and wrinkles her nose.

“You know, nobody in school drives mags.”

“Well, L’il Miss Dyl Pickle, your friends aren’t here, so I can embarrass you all I want.”

Dyl’s face pinks up. “Don’t call me that. I’m not a kid.” She goes back to curling her hair, but won’t meet my eye. Her voice drops. “And you don’t embarrass me, Zel.”

I bite my lip. She’s trying not to hurt my feelings, but I know the truth, with the same certainty that I know the atomic number of oxygen. I’m a total embarrassment. My refusal to wear makeup, nice shoes, or tight clothes. My penchant for getting excited over CellTech News, my fa­vorite holo channel. My endless nagging about her flashy dresses and too-shiny lipstick. She’s horrified of me.

I glance back at Dyl, whose head is now covered in ro­mantic, drooping curls. She’s daydreaming of meat-for-brains boys, I’m sure. I turn to Dad.

“Okay. So where to this time?” I say, feigning a good attitude.

“Let’s . . . let’s go north. No, west.” I can almost hear the dice-roll of our future clinking in his brain. I don’t like it. I like having a plan, and Dad always has a plan.

“I’m hungry,” Dyl moans.

“We’ll get food later. After we leave town.” He looks behind us as we hover for a bit. I push the T-shaped steer­ing bar forward and we zoom down the street, ensconced in our bubble of plainness. Inside the mag, there are no sweet treats, games, no mobile e-chef. Nothing. There isn’t anything to do but curl your hair, drive, or ignore your im­minent future, like Dad is doing.

The other mags zip around us. The hum from the metal mag lines in the street is the only sound we hear. I’m concentrating so hard on swerving in and around the slower mags that my vision goes blurry around the edges. Dad touches my arm.

“Breathe, Zelia.”

And then I remember, the way I must remember hun­dreds of times a day. I suck in a huge breath, and then a few more big ones to make up for my distracted mo­ments. My stupid affliction. Dad says it’s called Ondine’s curse. On its own, my body will only take a few piddly, shallow breaths a minute. If I don’t consciously breathe more deeply or frequently when I’m excited, or running, or doing anything besides imitating a rock, my brain won’t reflexively take over enough to keep me alive.

Just add it to the list of other annoyances in my life. The non-fatal ones, that is.

“Why don’t you just put on your necklace?” Dyl sug­gests. “It scares me when you don’t wear it.” She gives me a worried look, but it doesn’t convince me. My titanium necklace is safely tucked away in my pocket. When I wear it around my neck, the pendant signals an implanted elec­trode in my chest to trigger normal, healthy breaths every few seconds. It’s great for sleeping, since dying every night is quite the inconvenience. But during the day? It feels like an invisible force yanking the air in and out of my body.

“You know I hate that thing when I’m awake.”

When Dyl was little, she used to fetch it for me all the time. As soon as she’d leave the room, I’d take it off. It was a cat-and-mouse game we played. Now that she’s older, she respects my decision not to wear it when I’m awake, but she still brings it up every day. My heart dreads the day she stops reminding me.

“It would make life easier for you,” Dad adds. His fin­gers comb through my hair absentmindedly. After two seconds, his scuffed wedding ring gets tangled in the mess. “Drat.” After a tug, and a small tuft of lost hair on my part, he’s free. Luckily, the subject has changed to how I inher­ited the frizz-fro that skipped a generation.

“You can borrow this, you know.” Dyl taps my head with her hair-styling pen.

Deep breath, I tell myself, so I don’t grab the pen and chuck it out of the magpod.

I twist the T-bar to maneuver around other mags, now that we’re in the center of town. The 3-D signs are ev­erywhere, poking out from the sleek metal façades of the buildings, beckoning us to buy their wares. We drive under a giant holographic arm holding a purple fizzy drink the size of a trash can.

Another mag swerves a little too close, and I veer to the right with a jerk.

“Can you please put this thing on auto?” Dyl squeaks. She braces herself against the inner walls of the magpod to maximize the drama, while her curls bounce erratically. “I don’t want to break my arm if I’m going to join the fencing team in my new school.”

“You’ll be fine,” I groan.

“You should join me,” she says. “It’s harder to hit a small target like you.”

Before I can deflect her insult-as-compliment, Dad in­terjects. “Dyl, no more fencing either. Time to move on to something else.”

“But Dad! I was getting really good.”

“Balance is the key,” he says. “And Zelia, no sports.”

My hand touches the outline of my pocketed necklace. “But—”

“Never start something where failure is likely.”

I shut my mouth. Dad’s list of no’s runs through my mind. No sports—you’re too weak and delicate. No roofs—you’ll fall off. No rule breaking—you’ll get in trou­ble. No boyfriends—they’ll give you a resistant form of disfiguring herpes. And now, no science.

Still, I understand. He’s protecting me like he always has. He may not be around much, but I appreciate how he cares for me, every day. In every No.

Dyl steers the conversation away from me, k...

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Descripción Dial Books, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For fans of Uglies comes a spiraling, intense sci fi thriller. Control blew me away. The twists and turns and suspense made for a thrilling ride. Zel is as authentic a character as I ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended - James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner Set in 2150 -- in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms -- this is about the human genetic mistakes that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes. When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it s not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren t like any she s ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn t even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister. But only if she is willing to lose him. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780803739048

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Descripción Dial Books, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For fans of Uglies comes a spiraling, intense sci fi thriller. Control blew me away. The twists and turns and suspense made for a thrilling ride. Zel is as authentic a character as I ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended - James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner Set in 2150 -- in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms -- this is about the human genetic mistakes that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes. When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it s not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren t like any she s ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn t even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister. But only if she is willing to lose him. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780803739048

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