YA Scavenger Hunt!

Posted Oct 1 2014, 12:00 pm in ,

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!


Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt pageTeam to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Today, I am hosting SARAH FINE on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. She is the author of the young adult novels Sanctum, Fractured, Chaos, Of Metal and Wishes, and Scan. Her first adult fantasy novel, Marked, releases in January 2015 from 47North.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book here! 
Of Metal and Wishes
A love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, in which a 16-year-old girl is torn between her love for an oppressed factory worker and appeasing the ghost who is determined to protect her against any threat.

Bonus Scene from Of Metal and Wishes, from Melik’s perspective:

As the others fire questions at me, I shovel a huge bite of rice and beans into my mouth, hoping to rid myself of the metallic tang on my tongue. My eyes still burn from the delousing powder, and I am so tired that, if I wasn’t so desperately hungry, I would put my head down on the table and sleep.

“When will they let us start to work, Melik?” Sinan asks, his mouth full. This is the first meal we have had since getting on the train in Kegu yesterday evening, and my brother’s cheeks already look hollower somehow.

“The man with the clipboard said tonight, before sundown,” I tell him, sliding a bun from my plate over to his.

Sinan grins as he accepts my gift and nudges my shoulder. “We’ll show them how quickly we work. Perhaps they will give us a raise.”

Something inside me twists, and I suddenly want to wrap my arms around him and press him so small that I can hide him from sight. He hasn’t noticed yet how they look at us here, and despite speaking basic Itanyai, he somehow has not heard the things they call us as we walk past. His hope is like a thick paste over his eyes and in his ears, protecting him from the truth.

Pigs. That is what the thick-limbed boy with the clipboard called us. Pigs. Each time I think the word, it’s like a turn of the screw, pulling my muscles taut, turning my hands to fists. Baris reaches over and taps my white knuckles with his callused fingertips, and I meet his eyes. “We are together,” he says quietly. “And we are strong.”

I drop my spoon and put my hand over his. No words. His solid touch is enough to help me endure the dark gazes that lie heavy on us with disgust, with suspicion.

The only pair of Itanyai eyes that hasn’t been full of hatred was the girl’s, the one who looked like she’d been plucked from a fancy ball and dropped in the rail yard as a joke, though I’m not sure whether the trick was on us or on her. Her eyes were focused on my head, my hair, or where my hair used to be, that is. Her gaze didn’t hold judgment. Curiosity, yes. A bit of fear, perhaps. But that was all. And in that moment I thought this might be all right, if they look at us like that, if what we are is merely different and not less.

Pigs, the boy whispers in my memory. I have to escort these pigs to their troughs.

She looked away, then. And I wondered how long it would take her to start looking at us like her companion did.

“Oh,” Tercan says with a snicker. “Look at that.” The others chuckle, and I raise my head.

There she is. Like the first time I saw her, she looks so wrong. She is wearing a dress of deep green with a full skirt and a fitted bodice, and parts of it shimmer with gold and pink, like wildflowers in the deep canyons of the hills. Like all the women here, she wears no headscarf, and her hair is in a single braid. Her brow is wide and smooth, her chin narrow and a bit pointed. She looks fragile. She looks uncertain. She looks so—

“I wonder what she keeps hidden under those skirts,” Tercan says, rubbing his finger along the scar that slices his eyebrow in two. “Do you think it’s as pretty as that dress?”

“Or maybe so ugly that she must try very hard to hide it,” mutters Ugur, the circles under his eyes looking like stains. “Finish your food and stop staring.”

“But why would she wear such a thing, if she didn’t want people to stare?” Tercan leans back as the girl looks around, biting her lip, her fingers twisting in her skirts.

“She is Itanyai, and they make no sense,” I say. “But she does not look at all like she wants you staring at her, so find something else to look at.”

“Oh, please, Melik, you must be curious, too.”

“Not nearly as curious as I am hungry and tired.” I can’t help but look at her, though, and I can’t figure out if it’s the dress or her face that fascinates me. The two don’t match. One is frilly and the other is utterly serious.

“I’m never too tired to bed a pretty girl.” Tercan winks at me. “Even if she is Itanyai.”

“Shut up,” I snap. “And feel fortunate none of the Itanyai workers can understand a word you say.”

My stomach tightens as the girl takes a few hesitant steps in our direction, and I follow the line of her gaze and realize she is looking at a group of women sitting a few tables away. One of them waves at her. All of them are dressed plainly, so plainly that in my haze of exhaustion, I didn’t realize they were there.

“I’m going to pluck some feathers from this pretty peacock,” Tercan says.

As I turn my head to look at the fancy girl once more, Tercan makes a sudden movement, and I see too late that he has stuck his foot into the aisle between our table and the next. The girl, whose eyes are fixed on her friends, does not see it in time, either. With a soft, surprised cry, she topples to the floor, and in an instant, Tercan is standing over her, holding a fistful of her skirt.

It feels like I’ve swallowed a hot poker; the anger blazes from my throat and into my chest and gut. Baris clenches his fists, but a few of the others laugh. They are so tired, not just from the journey, but also the hatred weighing us down, and I think they are relieved to see an Itanyai fall on her face. But as I rise from my chair, I see the pale backs of her bare legs and the tears glazing her eyes, and I hear Tercan telling her what he wants to do to her, and I can barely hold myself back as I smack him in the head.

“Step away from her or I swear I will break your jaw just so I don’t have to hear your idiot voice again,” I say from between my own clenched teeth. No sooner have the words crossed my lips than I hear one of the Itanyai workers shout. I glance over my shoulder to see them coming our way. Now the hatred is their eyes is absolutely blazing.

And for once I cannot blame them. “Release her, Tercan, or you will be responsible for getting all of us killed.”

Tercan drops her skirt as his eyes meet mine, already full of apology. He acts before he thinks, always, and this is no exception. Curses lie thick on my tongue, but I manage to keep them there. The girl gets clumsily to her feet, her eyes wide with horror and fear and shame. But she holds in her tears, and I don’t know how. Part of me wants to cry for her, just to release the pain I see on her face, because it looks too big to hold inside. Her brown eyes meet mine for just a moment before she turns away, and I cannot read what lies in their depths. One of her friends, a young and plump girl with round cheeks, rushes over to her. Before she leads the fancy girl to the table where her friends sit, staring at us with the same molten loathing as the men, the friend brushes her hand over her shoulder at us.

I know this gesture. I have seen it many times. We are dirt, she is saying. We are disgusting.

“You Noor can’t even sit and eat in peace,” comes a rough Itanyai voice behind us. “You have to cause trouble and spread your filth to our women.”

I turn around quickly, for a moment forgetting that the only other person at my table who can understand this man’s words is Sinan. None of the others speak Itanyai, and I am glad for once. “Sir,” I say, immediately switching into their stiff, formal language. “Many apologies for my brother’s rash and rude actions. He meant nothing by it.”

The man, his face still marked by the outline of goggles, smelling of antiseptic and blood, crosses his arms over his chest. “Whether he meant anything by it or not, he exposed a young woman’s legs for all to see, and that is shameful to her.”

I want to shake my head. Shameful to her? I do not understand these Itanyai at all, and I think I never will. “The shame rests with my brother, sir, not with the girl.”

“Tell that to her,” he says with a scowl. “Or, even better, don’t. Don’t you dare speak to any of the women here. It is a black mark on their reputations to even be in the same room with barbarians like you.”

It burns. By the stones, it burns. But right now, there is nothing to be done for it. Tercan is in the wrong, and we have been in this factory for only a few hours, and if we want to have any hope at all at leaving with food in our bellies and money to send home, we must pretend we are what the Itanyai want us to be. Less. “Thank you for educating us, sir. I will remind all my brothers to show proper behavior from now on, and again I offer deepest apologies on behalf of my idiot friend.” I lean over and smack Tercan on the head again, and it feels good. He deserves it.

There is a glint of begrudging satisfaction in the worker’s eyes as he sees Tercan flinch. “You boys work hard tonight,” he says, more quietly. “The bosses will be looking for mistakes. Don’t give them reason to fine you. Underboss Mugo is looking for any reason to do it.”

I stare at him, some of the heat of my rage evaporating. “Thank you. We will work our hardest for this company. We’re good workers.”

He nods, and a few of the other Itanyai who have gathered around do, too, though many others are still glaring at us. “I’ve heard that about the Noor. But I’ve heard other things, too. You’re in the east now. You have to show respect.”

“You have our gratitude,” I say to him. “Thank you for coming to talk to us. We will show all due respect in the future.” As he returns to his table, I glance over at the fancy girl, who is being comforted by her friends. Her back is to us, her braid hanging thick and black down her spine. A strange sense of loss puts a bitter taste in my mouth. The first time she looked at me, there was curiosity, yes, a bit of fear, perhaps, but no hate. The next time she looks at me, I think there will be hatred there. I think there will be judgment. I think she will see us like the rest of them do. I should not care.

But I do.

“Pigs,” says a now-familiar voice. I tear my gaze from the girl’s back to see the clipboard boy walking toward us. “I’m fining each of you three coins for the assault on one of our female workers.”

Sinan swivels in his chair. “All of us?” he says, his voice shaking with outrage. “But Tercan was the only one who did anything, and Melik stopped him!”

The boy, his hair thick and oily, gives my little brother a nasty smile. “Then ten coins from Tercan for the offense, and three from the rest of you for harboring such a deviant among you.”

Sinan frowns, and I know it is because he didn’t understand all of what this clipboard wielding Itanyai said. “We accept the fine and apologize,” I say wearily, and the words sting worse because I can tell this boy is different, more filled with loathing than the rest.

He huffs and heads back to his table, and I sit down quickly and pick up my spoon, the rage coiling inside me again. Already we are in debt, and we have not even picked up our knives yet. I am here because I could not leave my brother, and the rest are here because they follow where I go, because they believe I know something they do not, only because I speak Itanyai and am the son of one of our martyred elders.

But really, I know only a few things. I can only hope they will carry us through whatever lies ahead.

We are Noor. We are not less. And we will not break. 


Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Sarah Fine, and many other authors! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 50. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the gold team and you’ll have all the secret codes to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, VICTORIA STRAUSS





9 responses to “YA Scavenger Hunt!”

  1. Melissa says:

    This is why I love YA Scavenger Hunt… read your guest post and loved your book, I am going to check out your book tomorrow at the bookstore now!!!!

  2. Winona says:

    Thank you for hosting! Your book reallllly looks interesting :D