“BREAKOUT is a thrilling, action-packed ride that is guaranteed to keep your heart pumping and the pages turning!” - Kim Chance, author of the Keeper&Seeker series
That’s the amount of time until Lezah’s execution.
She’ll die never knowing what got her locked up in that godforsaken prison in the first place. Her only chance of survival is to escape. Except the monitoring bracelet that digs into her wrist, the roaming AI, and the implant in her neck make freedom close to impossible.
Her best chance is to team up with the four other inmates who are determined to break out, even if one of them is beyond gorgeous, annoying—oh, and in for murder. But he has a secret of his own. One that could break Lezah if she finds out, but could also set him free.
Figuring out how to work with him and the rest of this mismatched group of criminals is the only way Lezah will survive to see the outside world again.
But nothing in this prison is as it seems. And no one.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
A.M. Rose is the author of Road to Eugenica, and writer of young adult novels of all genres as long as they have a hint of romance, the drinker of too much coffee (with way too much coconut creamer), and lover of all carbohydrates.
Currently, she lives in Houston, TX with her three boys and three cats. She graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Communication and a minor in underwater basket weaving. (Okay, maybe not the basket weaving part.)
Read an Excerpt
Ironport Detention is a place they send people to die when they've done something wrong. Really wrong. And although I'm not perfect, I haven't killed anyone, or broken any of the other Five Core Principles, to end up in this godforsaken place.
Or did I?
Memories of my arrest are blurred, like trying to read through smudges of grease. My broken SOULTM. Rolls of wire. A soldering gun. A boy laughing. And blood. So much blood ...
Out of a hundred girls that started here, only forty-nine of us are left. I'm number Twenty-two. That's how they tell us apart. By number. Not our hair or eye color. Not how tall or short we are. And definitely not by name. Although I do remember mine — Lezah — but there details of my past I can't recall. Circuits that just don't connect. It's like I've lost an entire month of my life and I don't know how to get it back, but I'm working on it. Hoping that if I remember, I can change my fate.
The obnoxious bell sounds — a reminder there's a task to complete — its piercing tone bounces off the stone walls, pulling me out of my head. God I hate that thing. In unison, the forty-eight other girls and I take thirty-two steps down an expanding corridor. I don't stop until I'm standing shoulder to arm with my roommate in front of our door, waiting for the rest of the girls to secure their places in line.
My legs beg for me to run, to find a way out, but all I'm trying to do right now is survive. Live one more day to figure out how to crack the system. Find a flaw they don't even know exists to escape. And for that to happen, I need to climb into my bed and replay everything that's gone on today in my mind. Even though my room is bare and lonely, it feels like the safest place inside these walls. A place where specialized WALking compuTERs won't come barging in to drag me away. And most of the WALTERs here aren't like the models that stand in front of a classroom, cook a meal, or help when someone's sick. Here they have the scariest kind created — AIRS. The ones I'm sure were built without a sense of humor, or even a sense of humanity.
My eyes are trained forward at the girls across the hall, but I've gotten good at looking without looking. The girls to my left shift into position, the sound of their footsteps slowly fading. The girls to my right all stand at attention. Like me. None of us move. We don't dare. My chest barely rises or falls as I wait in a long, dimly lit hallway with a door — and my possible escape — at the far end that taunts me.
I use my tongue to remove the lingering film that coats my teeth from my last meal as I ready myself for the bell to sound again. For our room doors to slide open in unison, and they can't do it fast enough. Five ... Four ... Three ... Two ... One —
But nothing happens. Seconds drip by, slow and dense like dirty oil. My pulse doesn't match the stagnant air around me.
Whispers buzz. "What's going on?"
"What should we do?"
The girl across from me shuffles her feet. She shrieks and stiffens her body. Her pain makes my heart jolt. I clench my teeth hard and swallow the thick feeling in my throat. I've learned not to react the way I want to. Not to jump to her side and try to help, or tell her it's going to be okay, because it's not. She moved too much, her high- pitched yelp tells me. The presence of the metal bracelet around my wrist always feels heavier any time I hear that sound. Even more if I'm the one who makes it. I want to throw my hands over my ears to block out the whimpering, but I'm not about to get zapped myself.
The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. My gaze darts around, searching for any clue as to what's going on. My room is so close, just inside the metal door behind me, and yet it's so far away.
Heavy footsteps echo through the hall. From the corner of my eye, two AIRS appear, bigger than the humans they were built to resemble. Artificial Intelligent Roaming Security marching our way means only one thing. Someone's time is up, and I just pray it isn't mine. They're all hard steel where a soft mesh "skin" should be, with inhuman faces that are cold and unforgiving. As if it couldn't get any worse, these two are larger than any I've seen. Something about their mechanical forms appears more menacing than ever. AIRS are the only model of WALTER I've ever been afraid of. A drop of sweat slides down my temple, but I know better than to brush it away.
My chin trembles with the rumble in the floor from their heavy frames. They stop at my right, in front of Twelve and Thirty-three, the girls who share the room next to mine. Twelve's knees shake so hard her bright red hair vibrates. A puddle forms around Thirty-three's feet.
No one moves.
An eternity later, they grab Twelve and spin her around. With a loud crack, her cheek slams into cold concrete; red swells against her pale skin. Tears pour from her blue eyes and slide down her freckled cheeks. She looks as scared as I feel, but I have no right to. She's the one with blood pooling at the corner of her mouth, with big, scary AIRS assaulting her.
"No!" someone down the line yells.
"Don't. Stop. You're hurting me," Twelve begs, but the AIRS don't respond. One digs their hand into her pocket and yanks out a fork.
Someone gasps and jerks back, then pays the price for it with an electrical shock from their metal wristband.
"That's not mine. I swear. I didn't take it." Twelve's voice cuts through me like broken glass. That's basically what she is now. That's what they'll do to her — break her into a thousand shards. She's already as good as dead. It doesn't matter what number is on her bracelet, or however many days of her sentence she had left, her expiration date is now.
It takes everything inside me to keep my feet planted on the floor, to not leap to her side and try to wrench those AIRS away. Not that I'd do any good. I bite my tongue, dig my nails into my palms, anything to stop myself from throwing up.
Twelve thrashes as they hoist her into the air. Her screams pierce my ears and echo through my whole body as they carry her away.
The next bell chimes at last, and the doors slide open in unison. A swish of sound that stirs the still, damp air.
It's impossible to force the images of what happened from my mind as I follow Sixty-one inside our room and head to the bathroom to do our business. I'd rather skip the next steps and just curl into bed. There, I'll close my eyes and pretend I'm somewhere else instead of this awful place. "Lights out" can't come soon enough.
I stand next to Sixty-one in front of the sink — actually, it's more like a trough. A shiny piece of metal above reflects our images, the vague outline of two people. One who's tall and dark with gorgeous blonde hair. And the other, me, who's small and pale. If I focus hard enough, the dark circles under my eyes become more visible. Through the distorted reflection, I notice my thick black eyeliner and dark-purple lips. If I had my personal SOUL device in hand, I'd change it all right now, turn my dark hair a few shades lighter and lose the eyeliner altogether. It all feels wrong. But this is what I must've looked like the day they took me. It's like the person staring back at me doesn't match the memories I have about my life before I got here. But along with all my other possessions, my government-issued SOUL is gone, too. And no one can live without their SOUL, without the device that's their phone — computer — appearance alternator — money — you can't buy anything, go anywhere, or even communicate with anyone. Not having it solidifies the fact that my time is running out.
Our khaki jumpsuits create the same blurs of movement in the shiny metal plate. I wonder if Sixty-one would change anything about her appearance. She looks as though she'd been resetting her nanobits when she was picked up. She's tall, lean, with legs that go on for days, completely beautiful without even trying, and unlike me, she has all ten of her fingers still intact. She's the kind of girl who'd never be friends with me, but it has nothing to do with the way she looks. The tattoo on her wrist is all the reason I need. It isn't made with nanobits like the ones that litter my arms. Her red teardrop is made with real ink. The symbol for "blood not oil."
We both wash in unison. She doesn't say a word about what just happened. She never says a word. At least never to me. Not that I care. A long time ago, I had an amazing friend. The best. But just like the events of the night I was taken away, my memory of her is distorted, and a deep ache settles in my stomach.
After I splash icy water on my face and brush my teeth, another bell sounds, and I retreat to my bed on the opposite side of the room from Sixty-one's. It takes me seven steps to get to mine, and it takes her only five to get to hers, even though they're the same distance from the bathroom. The bracelets must have a way of knowing this. That's how I think they work, at least, based on movement, since there aren't any cameras or other ways of monitoring us inside our room. One too many steps, one wrong swing of the arm and — ZAP.
I remove the tattered pieces of fabric with thin rubber bottoms that are supposed to pass as shoes and slide under the single blanket on my bed. If you can even call it that. It's beige, dull like everything else around me, and rough and scratchy, but it's the only thing to help protect me from the cold. Above my head is a small window, just big enough to see the stars. There're so many of them tonight. Constellations like Orion. Taurus. Perseus.
Video plays on the walls, an image of Twelve lying on the ground. No matter which way I turn, her face is there. I clench my eyes shut, but the stinging in my wrists forces them open. She thrashes around, a blue streak of electricity penetrating her from the bracelet attached to her wrist. She screams. The high shrill of her voice slices through our room and forces my whole body to curl in on itself. Her bright red hair whips back and forth, and her pale skin turns purple.
Then she's still, and the video's gone.
I swallow the bile in the back of my throat and roll onto my side. Through the space between my bed and the wall, I notice the box underneath to capture small rodents has closed, meaning some little critter is inside, probably too scared to even make a sound. I reach down and yank it open, ignoring the harsh sting from my bracelet. Someone deserves to be free, even if it isn't me. A moment later, a small gray mouse darts out and disappears through a crack in the wall. I rub my wrist and use my fingernail to scrape a chip of beige paint away from the steel bed frame. It's been three months since I arrived here. Three — painful — horrible — months. And according to this date on my wrist, only five more days to go. Until they kill me. Yesterday, six seemed so much further away.
But soon it'll be four.
Then only three.
Trembling starts in my core, and soon I'm shaking all over. I need to get out. Or at least, I need to figure out why I'm here. I can't die in this place without knowing.
Except for one huge problem: there's no hope of escape. The taste of copper fills my mouth, and the shot of pain reminds me I'm still alive. That I still might have a chance.
I need to do something.
I need to try.
A hand slips over my mouth. My heart stops. Holy shit. I stare into the eyes of Sixty-one. A tear glides down her cheek and hangs from her chin. "Help me," she mutters.
I focus on her bracelet. It's the same as mine. Heavy black metal, a size too small; it digs into her skin. The only differences are her date and it's not shocking the hell out of her for being out of bed.
No stream of blue light.
How's she doing that?CHAPTER 2
My pulse increases. Not because I'm scared — though I might be a little — but because Sixty-one isn't in her bed, where she's supposed to be, and her hand is firmly pressed against my lips, sealing them shut.
"I don't wanna die," she whispers.
Tears rain from her eyes. Sweat dots her nose and brow. And she's breathing heavy. Like the air's too thin or she can't get enough. It comes short and fast.
Her hand is clammy against my mouth, and even though I could've fought her off and screamed by now, I don't move. "I don't belong here." Her voice is hoarse and it shakes. Something inside me shakes, too.
I'm not sure I belong here, either.
For only a moment, we stare at each other, her brown eyes connected to my green ones. The weight of her sorrow presses down on my chest as tears drip from her chin. In one of the memories I have from before, I remember the same look on my little brother's face.
I reach up and lift her hand away. It's warm despite the chill in the air. "How are you doing that?" My voice is scratchy, like screws are scraping my dry throat.
Her eyes are vacant. Her hand quivers.
I open my mouth, but the words don't want to come. My throat aches from disuse, but I look into her sad eyes, and my chest tightens. "Hey. You need to get back in your bed. You can't be over here. They're going to hurt you."
"They're going to kill me." She shoves her shaking wrist in my face, showing off the date that's only two days from now. As soon as it hits midnight, it'll change to only one.
"It'll happen a lot sooner if you don't get in your bed." My words come out harsher than I mean. But I don't want to see another girl die in front of me, right here, right now.
She sobs harder, her whole body convulsing.
I bounce to my knees and put my hands on her arms to steady her. Her skin feels like hot metal. But nothing comes from my own bracelet, thank God. "You need to calm down." Which is true, but I'm not sure telling her this is going to help.
"I. Don't. Think. I. Can." It takes too much effort for her to enunciate each word.
Shit. I don't know what to do. This girl's hysterical, and any minute that thing on her wrist can fry her brains out. "My name's Lezah," I blurt. "What's yours?" It's probably useless, but what else am I supposed to do? Hopefully it helps her focus. Relax. Anything.
"Clara," she mumbles with a steady voice.
Holy crap it worked. The corner of my mouth twitches.
"I wanna go home —"
The door slides open with a bang. My heart leaps from my chest and hits the ceiling. But it isn't the same pair of AIRS that dragged Twelve away. Standing where once was hard steel is a CMA.
"What is that?" Clara stutters.
"A Certified Medical Assistant. She's here to help you." Because that's what they do, that's what they're built for.
Like all the others, this one has a red cross on her metal-plated chest, and next to that is the name she was given when she was created: Martha. Besides the name, she's meant to appear female by the way her wires are all tucked away under a fine steel mesh, exposing certain places, and opaque metal covering others. Her core components have been moved up to give her the appearance of breasts and a slimmer mid-section. Even though these are more compact, they're actually easier to work on than larger WALTERs. Or maybe that's because my fingers are so small.
Clara's nails dig into my arm. "But what is she going to do to me?"
While I'm here gawking at the appearance of the CMA, all the color has drained from my roommate's face. I guess she's never seen one before or, judging by that tattoo on her wrist, doesn't understand them or any WALTER at all. "I'm not sure, but they take care of people who can't afford to go to real doctors."
Except something's wrong. This CMA must be glitched. She should've said something by now, softened her expression. Even though they're made mostly of metal, they have a pliable face, almost humanlike, and they adjust their expressions so they don't look as hard and angry as this one. Her joints are stiff, too. The way she takes a step forward puts my nerves on edge.
Clara's trembling has turned into full-on convulsions now. She shakes so badly I'm not sure how she's still on her feet.
My gaze shifts from her to the CMA. Martha's hard expression is unchanged as she moves forward. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this CMA isn't here to help Clara at all.
My jaw is clenched tight, and my insides shake. Without thinking, I yank myself out of Clara's grip, and stand, blocking the CMA's path to her.
Holy Mother Mary.
Fire and ice ricochet through my body. The shock penetrating from my bracelet keeps my feet planted to the floor. It's never ending. The pain continues to eat away at me, making my bones feel softer than that mush they served us for dinner. Someone kill me now. It's the only thing that can take this agony away.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Breakout"
Copyright © 2019 Ann Rose.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 Stars Thank you to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for this opportunity to read this free e-arc for an honest review. First off, I was attracted to this cover. It looks menacing with that huge spider and the book blurb sounded mysterious so I was curious enough to request this book. Lezah is in prison but she can't remember why she's in there. In this prison there are A.I. robots: WALTERs (WALKing compuTERs) that resemble humans and AIRS which are security guard robots. And everyone has a SOUL - it's a device that is a phone, computer, appearance alternator, and money. Hmmm...how does all that work?! Seriously an appearance alternator would benefit me daily. Well I can't say everyone has one, Lezah and the other kids in prison do not have a SOUL, it's taken away from them. All prisoners have a bracelet attached to their wrist that zaps them and basically it's a horrible place to be. With Lezah's execution coming up, she needs to breakout. The story is told in first person through Lezah. There is a lot of action and it is non-stop. This whole book is full of tension and it is fast-paced. It's some parts creepy, but plenty parts exciting. It kept me guessing and left me with a few questions. The world building is different and fascinating. It is set in a futuristic dystopian United States where climate change damaged coastlines and left them with fewer resources than before. A.I. is everywhere and the technology aspects were very detailed. So much detail that some of the explanations went over my head. Lezah's meets different companions on her way out of this prison and they add to the story in different ways. For one, it's hard to know who to trust and everyone she encounters has a story tied to Lezah. There is a tiny bit of a romance, but nothing that takes over the story. Everything starts to piece together in the end but there are still loose ends to tie up by the time the story is over. This was an interesting, fast-paced, young adult sci-fi novel with lots of twists and turns. I think sci-fi lovers would enjoy this better than I did but overall it was a fascinating story.
“This is a place they send people to die when they’ve done something wrong. Really wrong.” Lezah is number twenty-two. She’s in prison but has no memory of committing a crime, and the clock on her metal bracelet is counting down to her expiration date. Escaping this prison will be harder than Lezah can imagine. She doesn’t know who she can trust and every step of the way is fraught with danger. With plenty of action and countless spiders, Lezah learns that there’s a lot more at stake than she realised. In a world that could easily become ours in the not too distant future if we’re not careful, climate change has altered the landscape and technology is potentially awesome or scary as hell, depending on who’s controlling it. The pace was maintained throughout the story and the characters were faced with almost constant danger. The world was interesting and the sequences in the prison were well thought out. I really liked Vaughn and wanted to get to know her more. The romance didn’t work for me at all; it felt insta and unnecessary. This is probably just me but I tend to find it amusing rather than sweet when a girl has time to appreciate a boy’s eyes or the way he smells when an entire group of people are in potentially mortal danger. I keep thinking they’re wasting time focusing on that when they could be making a better plan to escape; they could ogle to their heart’s content once they’re safe. I made the mistake of rereading the blurb around the halfway point and realised it spoiled a couple of things characters hadn’t figured out or revealed yet. It wasn’t until I was past 60% before the characters caught up. I’d encourage you to read some five star reviews of this book. I got dazzled by the cover spider and enjoyed the story overall but I found some aspects of it very predictable. While there were several lengthy info dumps I was left with so many unanswered questions. Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled: Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC, for the opportunity to read this book.
Its not often I get a book based on the cover but this cover really pulled me in (I am a huge sucker for spiders) and once I read the blurb I knew I had to read the story that went along with it. I am new to this author and still fairly new to YA/Sci-Fi stories. While there were many things I liked about this story, there were also a few things that didn't work for me (also please remember that I received an early copy so some things might change upon the final draft and because of that parts of my review might also become irrelevant). What I enjoyed about this book (besides the cover) were the creatures, the pace, and the main character. The story is like a Sci-Fi prison escape, maze like filled with some pretty awesome creatures. They were well written, diverse, interesting and just plain fun to read about. The story never losses pace, its fast and detailed. I loved that it caused me to flip the pages faster and kept me involved. Also the main character was a great choice for this story because she is bold, smart, level headed and a tad bit sassy. I enjoyed reading about her adventures and I can see her in more stories. What didn't work as well for me was the authors writing style, as well as I felt there was too much added to the story. First, the author's writing style of short sentences. Was very annoying. It made the story very choppy. And dulled the flow. Much like this example. I also didn't think the author trusted the readers enough because it felt like everything was over explained. The author would mention something then explain it, even if it was easy for the reader to connect to without that added explanation. Last thing, I feel like the author took a bunch of notes from watching Sci-Fi movies and incorporated a bit of all of them. I think the author could have cut back and still had a great story. I think others will enjoy this read if they are looking for an easy fast YA story. It was enjoyable if not a bit “been there, read that.” The ending was good and I can definitely see more stories with this group of characters. There are still some questions that need answered. I received an ARC via NetGallery and I am leaving an honest review.