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Monday, June 18, 2007

From HOMEFREE to SENSITIVE: Easter's Story Continues

Who wouldn’t want to start life over in an exciting new place, free of bad memories and old hassles? The trouble is some problems come with us . . . or catch up to us.

So Easter Hutton discovers in SENSITIVE, the HOMEFREE sequel (coming in October 2007). She thinks she’s leaving her old life behind when she moves to a special school for paranormally “gifted” teens. But the past is persistent; it finds you wherever you go.

Easter's new home is in St. Augustine, Florida—the Nation’s Oldest City—where she lived for three months right after her mom’s last divorce. But this time everything is different: Easter’s with Andrew and Cal, her two best friends. Mom (Nikki) is newly remarried and far away. Best of all, school won't start for three months, and there’s no adult supervision. That means Easter and Cal are free to explore their relationship, which is heating up fast.

Finally, Easter’s getting the life she wants. Or is she?

On a Ghost Tour, Easter discovers that her paranormal abilities are stronger--and stranger--than she knew. Besides being able to astral-project, she’s “sensitive,” capable of communicating with the dead. The spirit of a teen who died two hundred years ago pursues Easter, pleading for help. Meanwhile, Nikki threatens to leave her latest husband (here we go again) and move to St. Augustine so that Easter can “save” her. And Andrew may be too sensitive to handle the stress that comes with his psychic powers.

Then Madame Papinchak arrives with a list of Absolute Rules. Unless Easter and Cal can keep their hands off each other and their minds on their new summer jobs, Madame will expel them.

How can Easter help a ghost? What are her obligations to her messed-up mom? Is Andrew losing his mind? And how serious are the Absolute Rules? Could Easter actually get kicked out of Homefree?

Here's an excerpt from SENSITIVE explaining why Homefree recruited Easter, Andrew, and Cal:

In Andrew’s case: post-cognition—reading people’s memories.

In Cal’s case: psychokinesis, also known as energy-throwing.

And in my case: astral projection, plus a tendency to channel the occasional thoughts of strangers.

That’s right. Sometimes I transport myself through space and time just by using my mind. And once in a while I mentally download somebody else’s thoughts. Totally by accident. It’s like tuning in a radio station broadcasting from parts unknown.

As for Cal, he can turn on, move, or even break objects without touching them.

And Andrew picks up powerful vibes based on people’s deepest, darkest recollections.

The problem was we didn’t know how or why we did those things, so they mostly happened beyond our control. I’d left my body at some very inconvenient moments and ended up in places I never planned to visit. Likewise, when Cal lost his temper, look out. Appliances tended to overheat, and anything that wasn’t nailed down could become airborne. And if you didn’t want Andrew knowing what you’d prefer to forget, you should probably steer clear of him.

Right after hooking us up in Atlanta, Mme Papinchak had dispatched Cal, Andrew and me on an urgent road trip to our new school in St. A. So here we were, ready to learn about our “gifts.”

Except that nothing at Fairless Grove Academy was organized. Or even logical. We were required to share a single cell phone—the one that used to be mine. And although classes wouldn’t start for three more months, Madame called several times a day with lame assignments related to our special “gifts.” Assignments like pondering how to use our talents to make the world a better place. That was a tough one since as far as I knew our talents just made us freaks.

Fantastic! I can't wait to read it. HOMEFREE was surprising and inventive.
I can't wait to read this! I'm a ninth grader in Seattle, and my friends were passing HOMEFREE around. When I read it, I read it straight through. Can't wait for the sequel. Thank you! --McKenna G.
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