Title: PLUGGED IN
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Word Count: 72,000
When sixteen-year-old Misty Evans discovers a hidden notebook in her mother’s art room, she’s excited and terrified. Paper is against the law.
In the pages of the notebook, Misty finds events leading up to her mother’s disappearance might have something to do with the Mainframe, the self-aware computer that monitors the safety of the bio-city she lives in. Those who question the Mainframe or the Techs disappear.
Misty seeks help from her best friend and crush, Berek, a Tech trainee. He gives her frightening new insight into the world around them. The protective biosphere doesn’t exist, her every move is monitored, and communities of Outlanders hide somewhere outside the safety of the bio-cities. And Misty’s mother could be with them.
After Berek is scheduled to leave New Summit for Tech Central to work with the Mainframe, Misty realizes she’ll never see him again and knows it’s time to do something. Bolstered by the words from her mother’s notebook, and grasping the chance to remain with Berek, Misty decides to do something unthinkable – leave the confines of the biosphere. The young couple treks into the dangerous and toxic Outland, looking for their loved ones. And a way to stop the Mainframe before it destroys the rest of humanity.
A strong breeze swept past Misty Evan’s face, causing her long red ringlets to twist and snarl, but she didn’t move to untangle them. Her mind was elsewhere, she stared through the dense chain link as if it weren’t there, watching the water lap at the rocky shore of the distant reservoir. She ached to touch the water, to test her theory of how cold it would be, but knew she never would. Imagining the sound of the water kissing the rocks and the damp air touching her face, she closed her eyes and tipped her head back to soak up the August sun.
Berek leaned closer, his breath on her neck, and whispered, “You’ll get more freckles, you know.”
Misty caught her breath. Feeling Berek so close caused unfamiliar sensations in her. He’s my best friend, she reminded herself, returning her gaze to the reservoir and stealing glances at him. “Do you ever wonder how cold the water is?” she asked.
His dark hair blew across his face, hiding his cobalt eyes.
“Nope. I’m too busy trying to figure out how to get around the latest Tricks in the Big Game. The Programmers are getting better. I haven’t been able to hack ‘em yet.”
Berek turned away from the fence to look at the mountain that towered over the west side of their city. She knew he wasn’t being completely truthful when she saw his cheek twitch. He’d never been good at lying to her.
He wouldn’t admit it, but the fact that they couldn’t leave the boundary of their city had to bother him as much as it bothered her.