31 May 2019

No Place Like Here | Excerpt + Giveaway


From Christina June, author of It Started With Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel. 

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She's just spent a year at boarding school and can't wait to get home. But when Ashlyn's father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for "exhaustion," a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn's father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn't even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed "indoor girl," not even Ash's habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes--inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere--can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad's marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

Fans looking for stories with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.

Publisher: Blink
Release Date: May 21, 2019


When we hung up, I stayed perched on the edge of my bed, staring at the seam in the bedspread. What just happened? My entire plan for the summer, the next school year, and potentially forever, just went up in a puff of smoke. My life was suddenly completely unrecognizable. And I’d said nothing to protest. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I opened my nightstand drawer, took out my purple pocket-sized quote journal, and selected a matching purple marker from my pencil cup.

I twisted my body to get a good angle and wrote on the inside of the drawer:

Silence is a source of great strength.

Lao Tzu

A tiny knot of tension in my chest unraveled and I was able to inhale deeply. Maybe whoever lived in this room next year would see those words. Maybe it would be a source of strength for them in the midst of their own crisis. I didn’t feel strong, but if this quote had survived thousands of years, there had to be some shred of truth to it. Or so I hoped.

A timid knock at the door snapped me out of my daze. When I opened it, Cassie Pringle stood there with a look that was one part sympathy, one part curiosity.

“Hi, Ashlyn,” she said, the corners of her mouth turned down. “I just wanted to see if you were . . . okay. I saw, um, about your dad.”

“Bad news travels at the speed of light around here, I guess,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady.

On a scale from one to ten, my year at Blue Valley Academy earned a five. I’d managed to get good grades and do well in activities, but I hadn’t really made friends. Plenty of acquaintances, but not friends. I wasn’t surprised. The other girls were mostly from small towns nearby, while I was the “city snob,” as I’d overheard one girl saying in the hallway. No one had been rude to my face, and some had been pleasant—Cassie was on the nicer side, for sure—but I wasn’t invited on weekend trips home and no one decorated my door on my birthday. I couldn’t really blame them. Trying to break into any clique during junior year, when everyone else had known each other since birth, was nearly impossible.

“So, it’s true?”

“It seems that way.” My face was blank. I didn’t know Cassie well enough to trust her with the fear and confusion that was hiding behind my emotionless mask.

Cassie sighed and cocked her head to the side. “Can I . . . do anything for you?”

You can just go, please. I shook my head. “No. But thank you. I just want to make it through finals. And then I want to go home.”

Cassie nodded. “I understand. Let me know, okay?” She smiled sadly at me and retreated to her own room.

I shut the door, lay on my bed, and squeezed my eyes shut. Forget surviving exams, I just wanted to go home. But what did that even mean now? No one would be there anyway. I shook my head, fighting the urge to cry. I’d had this grand idea that I’d have an amazing year here, prove to my parents that I was making good choices, and they’d turn in the paperwork to transfer me back to Henderson High, where I’d spend my senior year with Tatum. But now? It felt like home didn’t even exist.


Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of It Started With Goodbye, Everywhere You Want to Be, and No Place Like Here.


1 winner will receive a print copy of No Place Like Here, a poster, and a book plate

US only
Ends June 5, 2019


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