{Review/Excerpt/Giveaway} ALONE OUT HERE by Riley Redgate

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

 I remember one night more clearly than the rest. It was the hottest July on record, and I was fifteen, lying awake and sweaty on the faded linen sofa in Lilly’s basement. With the way the crickets were squalling, Lilly couldn’t get to sleep, which meant no chance of sleep for Marcus or me, either. So the three of us were talking ourselves out into the universe, fantasizing in scratchy voices about God and death and the first day of sophomore year, and around two a.m., we wound up whispering about the end of the world.

We’d kicked the questions around before. Maybe you did, too. If the apocalypse hit tomorrow, which five people would you pick for your zombie survival team? Which three things would you take down to the nuclear bunker? What would you save from the wasteland?

Read an excerpt containing the entire first chapter below!

(Page 1, US hardcover edition)

“I have the sudden realization that for the rest of my life it'll be like this. I'll always be part of the oldest generation, watching the world grow younger and younger around me.


If you love a good survival story or are a fan of sci-fi thrillers, ALONE OUT HERE by Riley Redgate is a must. I didn't even know it had been pitched as "LORD OF THE FLIES set in space" when, upon finishing it, my brain thought, "Huh, that had a LORD OF THE FLIES feel mixed a bit with THE 100." (Mostly the "before" of THE 100, when they first go up into space, but also the early episodes where the kids are alone and must adapt and form a society and leadership without any adults to help out.)

Climate change and extreme weather are a huge issue facing the future of Earth, and ALONE OUT HERE looks at what could happen should we continue avoidance and harm the planet further. Mount Shasta (in Northern California) is set to erupt in a year, creating a domino effect that will cause the world to become unihabitable within a month. Leaders across the world are working together to save humanity, and they've just greenlit the first prototype of the ship that would eventually lead to a fleet able to save about 75 million people, or 1% of the world's population, as they aim for a blue planet 11,000 light years away that looks like it might be inhabitable. Only, disaster strikes a year too soon and nobody is prepared. In a stroke of pure luck, the children of the world's leaders are touring the prototype ship while their parents are at a summit. They wake up to alarms blaring and race for the ship -- there are only 54 of them able to make it to the ship before take-off, and the only adult on-board hits her head and dies during launch, leaving a bunch of inexperienced kids to save humanity. Even worse, they soon find out that the ship was still being loaded with all the cargo and life saving supplies they needed, including seeds to grow future food and immediate food. They have one sample crate -- enough immediate food to survive for four months. They decide to aim for Antaeus, a colony being terraformed before the crew went dark when catastrophe struck. Maybe there are seeds there they can use. The planet is six months away, so they'll have to halve their portions in order to survive the trip and wait for new food to grow. They can do it, right? They have to. They are humanity's last hope and must survive at all costs...

ALONE OUT HERE follows our main character, Leigh Chen, whose mother is the currently seated President of the United States. She's in the cockpit during the initial launch and frozen in place when the pilot and her daughter Eli close the ship's doors before the rest of the kids and the ship's crew can make it onboard, but there isn't time. Then, the pilot dies in a tragic accident, leaving her daughter alone to steer the ship, though thankfully, she has accompanied her mother for years and is capable of taking over in an emergency. Leigh and Eli form a leadership with three other older teens to take on roles that will transition everyone into their new assignments, but not all the kids onboard trust the group and want a say in how their future will be decided. Chaos and deceit begin slipping into the cracks until Leigh must decide whether to go along with beliefs she doesn't agree with or find her own way to save humanity....

Many timely issues are explored over the course of the novel, with the 53 survivors being children from many different countries. Not all of their parents agreed with one another, and not everyone is onboard with the way the laws for the prototype were written. Why should English be the official language of the ship? Why should two kids whose countries are at war get along? Down on Earth, politicians were stuffing the ship lottery so that rich people and their families could come on board and citizens were taking it on themselves to prune the population -- in a style reminiscent of The Pledge franchise. There is a lot of bitterness and many rivalries, causing tension within the first 24 hours that will create a lot of problems later as the novel becomes a quick-paced thriller and spoilery things ensue.

I previously read Redgate's NOTEWORTHY and was excited to pick up another of her novels. It's always nice to find an author who writes hard-to-put-down stand-alones -- and in the case of ALONE OUT HERE, it hits that note of making you wish there was another book (or even a novella!) set in the world so that you could keep reading, because ending it there? But it also has that great open-ended feel that lets the read envision what might happen next as their own imagination takes flight, and still felt well-rounded. It's great to see sci-fi slowly returning to YA as the readership has been demanding for so long now, and hopefully this book will be the first of many to usher in a new phase of the genre for today's teen readers.




Check out the first chapter of ALONE OUT HERE below!

Excerpt from 
by Riley Redgate


Tell me what you can’t forget, and I’ll tell you who you are. —Julie Buntin, Marlena 

We long only for the world we were born into. —Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

I remember one night more clearly than the rest. It was the hottest July on record, and I was fifteen, lying awake and sweaty on the faded linen sofa in Lilly’s basement. With the way the crickets were squalling, Lilly couldn’t get to sleep, which meant no chance of sleep for Marcus  or me, either. So the three of us were talking ourselves out into the universe, fantasizing in  scratchy voices about God and death and the first day of sophomore year, and around two a.m.,  we wound up whispering about the end of the world. 

We’d kicked the questions around before. Maybe you did, too. If the apocalypse hit tomorrow, which five people would you pick for your zombie survival team? Which three things  would you take down to the nuclear bunker? What would you save from the wasteland? 

We never settled on answers. Lilly drifted off halfway through, and the next morning,  Marcus kept swapping his choices back and forth, clarifying the rules over breakfast. “Is there internet in this wasteland?” he asked, thumbing his glasses up. “If I brought my headset, could I  have unlimited games?” 

Lilly rolled her eyes and said, “God, Marcus, what kind of amateur apocalypse do you  think this is?” and I lay back in her window seat and laughed, loose-limbed, careless, because  everything we were saying felt unreal. 

That was three years ago. Now, most nights, I lie awake and watch those moments replaying across the backs of my eyelids. I retrace the pikes of sunlight angled through the  kitchen window or feel the frayed threads of the sofa, the patches that Lilly’s golden retriever  pawed to death when he was too young to know better. I hear the way my best friends sighed  after they laughed, deep and contented, like they’d just taken a cold drink on a hundred-degree  day. It hurts to remember, knowing that two months later, the announcements froze that world  like amber engulfing a living thing. But I can’t make myself stop. 

I wish I could show it to you, too—really show you. I wish I could scan my old life out  into VR space so you could walk all the way inside. We’d step through Lilly’s messy little kitchen like archaeologists through some perfectly preserved temple, and I’d pause the scene,  point to the scar on Lilly’s chin, and tell you that happened when we were thirteen, the day she  hacked off a foot of her hair with a pair of garden shears on a dare from Marcus. He wasn’t even  being serious, and as for me, I stood there and watched with a stupid grin on my face, not  believing it would happen until it did. And maybe you’d say Lilly sounds reckless or impulsive,  and Marcus and I should have known better. And I’d say, probably, but that’s Lilly, that’s Marcus, that’s us. That’s what I’d save.



Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG Kissing and making out. )
Language: ( Cursing, including the F-Bomb. Slurs to female such as bitch. Mentioned in passing that a video went viral about a girl who "slept with" a previous First Son, but doesn't go into any detail and is said in passing about the way First Families have been exploited in the media.  )
Violence: PG13 ( Characters are killed and injured, but nothing is super graphic )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I like the contrast of the darkness space casts over the image verses the stark white of the title, which gives it a bit of a glow. It also is a perfect sci-fi cover and will appeal to the right audience as soon as they see it!

O F F I C I A    I N F O:

Author: Riley Redgate
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
FIND IT: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, Audible, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org


What do you stand for, when you're one of the last left standing?

The year is 2072. Soon a volcanic eruption will trigger catastrophic devastation, and the only way out is up.

While the world’s leaders, scientists, and engineers oversee the frantic production of a space fleet meant to save humankind, their children are brought in for a weekend of touring the Lazarus, a high-tech prototype spaceship. But when the apocalypse arrives months ahead of schedule, First Daughter Leigh Chen and a handful of teens from the tour are the only ones to escape the planet.

This is the new world: a starship loaded with a catalog of human artifacts, a frozen menagerie of animal DNA, and fifty-three terrified survivors. From the panic arises a coalition of leaders, spearheaded by the pilot’s enigmatic daughter, Eli, who takes the wheel in their hunt for a habitable planet. But as isolation presses in, their uneasy peace begins to fracture. The struggle for control will mean the difference between survival and oblivion, and Leigh must decide whether to stand on the side of the mission or of her own humanity.

With aching poignancy and tense, heart-in-your-mouth action, this enthralling saga will stay with readers long after the final page.


"Redgate explores what makes us human and what makes us teens with excruciating precision, revealing the best―and worst―of both. A fast-paced, beautifully put together story of a girl getting it done."―E. K. Johnston, New York Times #1 best-selling author of STAR WARS: AHSOKA

"With its diverse cast of characters and near-future plot line, this book would make a good addition to collections with established audiences for science fiction stories and titles featuring strong examples of female empowerment."―School Library Connection

“An enthralling adventure that’s at once intimate and cinematic, with heart-pounding twists and vividly drawn characters. Redgate’s gorgeous prose poses fascinating questions about the future.”―Romina Russell, author of the New York Times best-selling Zodiac series

“Stunning, visceral, and utterly gripping, ALONE OUT HERE is a vivid look at human determination when forced to survive the impossible. Leigh Chen is a leader unlike any other as she navigates dwindling resources, betrayal, and the ultimate question of what it means to be human.”―C.B. Lee, author of the Sidekick Squad series

“Utterly absorbing, and packed with heart, action, and questions that lingered long past the final page. I read it in a single day.”―Amie Kaufman, author of the Aurora Cycle and the Elementals trilogy  



Riley Redgate majored in Economics at Kenyon College and is now based in Chicago, where she was an apprentice with the Onion. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Seven Ways We Lie; Noteworthy, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book and NYPL Best Book; and Final Draft, a Bank Street Book of the Year.  


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