Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.
Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.
But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.
“Feedback group!” Tink bounces at the door. “You don’t have to come, Milly, but you can if you want. No pressure!”
From beneath her pillow, Red groans and then throws it off. “Actually I do have something to say. Why is it that I have to go when Sleeping Beauty over there can fake sleep and get away with—”
“At group!” Tink springs away. Following her is Peter, who flaps his arms like wings and drags his broken leg behind him across the floor.
Pig points at him. “He’s here because he’s suicidal. Believes he can fly like a fairy, so he jumped from a third-floor balcony.”
. . . “He’s not suicidal then, he doesn’t want to die, he wants to fly,” I say and both of them stare at me. “What’s feedback group?”
“So you can like pre-count, if you know you’re going to say something?” Pig asks.
I nod my head.
“Oh, but now we gotta wait again. How are you even alive?” Red says and walks out of the room, adding, “Come see for yourself what this is all about.”
When I stand up, something beeps. Pig has started the timer on her watch and follows behind me. I turn to stare at her as I count. She stares back. Beady eyes unblinking.
When I’m done I say, “Please don’t.” And start counting again.
Pig huffs and walks out.
A minute later I shut my eyes and hop across the threshold of my room. I really miss my phone. At school I usually don’t have to talk; I text instead.
Tink’s high-pitched voice squeaks about how everyone’s opinion is highly valued. I use the washroom; that’s four doors to pass. Even washroom stall doors count. Even cupboard doors count, but not drawers. Drawers are different. No hinges.
After I jump into the rec room, everyone goes silent. I’d love to be rid of the jump; it attracts so much attention. The TV’s on, and Peter is too close to the screen to see anything more than a blur. Rottengoth stares at me with his mouth open. Pig’s watch beeps; she timed me anyway.
Vanet laughs. “What ho? She has to hop, too? That’s pretty sexy, isn’t it, heh? Like a Playboy bunny hops, and we gotta hop back to what we were talking about, right? Hop to it, Tink. Time is money.”
Tink presses her hands to her forehead.
Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at http://www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
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