Thursday, 12 August 2021

Under the Milky Way by Vanessa Barneveld #Excerpt



Under the Milky Way by Vanessa Barneveld

Publication Date: August 10, 2021

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Nothing ever happens in Dawson, Colorado.

Until high school senior Cassidy Roekiem’s mom checks into a “wellness center,” but nothing is wrong with her.

Then people start seeing lights in the sky and missing chunks of time, but the town insists nothing is going on.

And now Hayden, the new boy at school who keeps to himself and is more than a little mysterious, starts to notice her like it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

Suddenly, “nothing” is starting to feel a whole lot like something. And everything leads back to Hayden. The boy she’s starting to fall for. The boy with too many dark secrets for his kind heart. The boy she’s pretty sure isn’t human…


Link to book on Goodreads

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In this excerpt, here’s your first look at the stars of UNDER THE MILKY WAY, Cassidy and the mysterious newcomer Hayden…

“Cassidy Roekiem! Earth to Cassidy Roekiem!”

I jolt awake at the mangled sound of my last name…and laughter. For the record, it’s ROO-keem, not Ro-ECKY-em. The weight of twenty pairs of eyes burns into the back of my head. Damn. I’d fallen asleep in class. Again. A puddle of saliva marks the spot where my head had rested. I wipe it with my sleeve, and snatches of the dream I was in the middle of fade into oblivion.

It’s not so much the public drooling that’s freaking me out. For the past few months, my habit of falling asleep whenever, wherever, has gotten worse. A spontaneous snooze during class is bad enough. But what if it happens while I’m driving on the freeway? My parents took me to a sleep clinic a few years back, but the doctors there couldn’t find anything physically wrong with me. According to them, the best cure is to get more zzz’s. Maybe just not in class.

My sharp-nosed biology teacher, Ms. Walters, continues. “Since you were here in body but not in spirit for the past ten minutes, you are cordially required to join me today at 3:15 for detention.”

What kind of sadist gives out that kind of punishment on a Friday? Doesn’t she have something better to do? I open my mouth to protest, to tell her I have urgent business to take care of after school. But an audible yawn comes out instead.

Ms. Walters rolls her eyes. I sit up straighter and try to pay attention to her lecture on panspermia.

“Now,” she drones on, “the theory of bacteria being distributed across the universe on dust particles and evolving into complex alien life-forms is an exciting one.”

Somebody behind me pipes up enthusiastically. “Are you saying there are real E.T.’s out there?”

“Tony, when I say, ‘complex alien life-forms,’ I’m not talking about little beings with big eyes and glowing fingers. No, I mean bacteria and…”

Tony clicks his tongue in disappointment.

My mind drifts once more to anything but free-floating bacteria. The new kid in the seat beside me, Hayden McSomething, is playing with his phone, making the screen flash on and off. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy Hayden’s jean-clad right leg sliding toward my chair, inch by inch. His seat squeaks as he quickly folds his leg back to its original position. I can’t blame him for feeling restless.

I’m not sure what his issue is with this period, but I am more than ready to ditch my classes. I have Important Things to do for Mom. Even exploring the mysteries of the universe seems trivial in comparison.

White light persistently blips from Hayden’s phone. It’s annoying as hell. My head thumps to the beat—blip, blip, blip. Rubbing my temples, I sneak a sideways look at him, but he’s not watching the teacher or his phone. He’s staring at me.

Is he signaling me?




Australian Vanessa Barneveld lives in a 19th-century house in inner-city Sydney with a 21st-century husband, two eccentric cats and one ghost—all of whom provide inspiration for her spirited novels. In addition to her writing career, she’s part of a crack team that produces closed captions for deaf TV viewers and audio descriptions for the blind. An avid traveler, she enjoys the journeys almost as much as the destinations. She freely admits to being food motivated and will stop at nothing to find the perfect hot chips wherever she roams around the world. 

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