Read an Excerpt from Daniel Sweren-Becker’s Debut Thriller THE ONES

Daniel Sweren-Becker has released an excerpt to his debut YA thriller series THE ONES!

The Ones is a new YA thriller series by Daniel Sweren-Becker about teens randomly selected before birth to receive genetic engineering. The two main characters, Cody and James, are two of the teens that were selected. Unfortunately, those genetically engineered are only one percent of the population.  The ninety-nine percent that weren’t aren’t taking too kindly to those that were. And Cody realizes that no one will protect them and they will need to protect themselves.

Official Synopsis:

We are not all created equal.

Seventeen-year-old Cody and her boyfriend, James, were two of the lucky ones randomly selected before birth to receive genetic engineering.

Known as the Ones, this one percent of the population is healthy, beautiful, and talented…and to some that’s not fair. Mounting fear and jealousy of the Ones’ success leads to the creation of the Equality Movement, which quickly gains enough political traction to demote Cody, James, and others like them to second-class citizens.

Cody knows even before the brick smashes through her window that it’s going to be bad. As their school, the government, and even family and friends turn against them, Cody begins to believe they have no other choice but to protect their own. She draws closer to a group of radical Ones led by the passionate and fevered Kai, and James begins to question just how far she is willing to go for the cause…

Themes of justice, discrimination and terrorism mix with actual science to create a frightening version of our near future in Daniel Sweren-Becker’s pulse-pounding thriller.

Entertainment Weekly released an excerpt from The Ones, and you can read it below!

The Ones Cover

“A woman died last night, James,” his dad said, looking crestfallen. “And you played a part in that?”

His mom started crying.
“I had nothing to do with it,” James said. That was true in a way. “And neither did Cody.” Also mostly true, even if he couldn’t explain exactly what had happened.

“You know they’ll do what ever it takes to blame this on the Ones. You don’t actually believe them, right?”

Both his parents looked him in the eye but didn’t answer. They stood up and left him alone in the living room. James was pissed that he had to defend himself to them, but he had bigger concerns at the moment.

On his way upstairs, he couldn’t avoid a withering look from Michael, who clearly hadn’t bought much of his story from the doorway where he had been eavesdropping. Maybe his parents hadn’t, either, but Michael seemed angry about it.

“Just went along for the ride, huh?” Michael said.

“You heard me,” James responded.

“Seems like you keep ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe you should be a little more careful.”

James had no interest in engaging with his brother right now. Still, he wanted Michael to know that he wasn’t going to sit around and put up with all these Equality Movement provocations. James had proved that when they fought; now the rest of the Ones had done the same.

“You too. That nose still looks pretty messed up,” James said, and walked right past Michael without looking at him. “Can never be too careful.”

James kept a low profile in the house for the rest of the day and bided his time until every one went to sleep. The wait was excruciating.

Finally, late into the night, when the house had been quiet for some time, James snuck downstairs and found his father’s briefcase. He took his campus ID card and his key chain, which included some fancy device that flashed a unique seven- digit code every thirty seconds. James knew he would need that to get into the lab. Without making a sound, he trod softly out the door, got in his Jeep, let it roll quietly out of the driveway in neutral, and set off for the university.

James kept checking his mirrors, but he knew he was just being paranoid. He hadn’t done anything wrong yet, and no one could possibly know what he was planning. Still, he felt the same surge of adrenaline that he had when they’d stormed the school office just yesterday. These two days were certainly outliers in James’s orderly, obedient life. And this one struck him as even more unlikely because he was acting on his own. Cody wasn’t cajoling him, Kai and Taryn weren’t threatening him. He was breaking into his father’s office because he knew he had to.

When he drove onto the campus, James parked in a lot far from his dad’s lab building. He walked over there, barely seeing anyone but otherwise blending in to the college atmosphere. James used the ID tag to get into the science building. He nodded at a security guard who was half asleep at his desk and proceeded up a flight of stairs and down a long hallway. When he reached the office door with PROFESSOR LIVINGSTON written on it, James took out the keys and tried them until one worked. The door opened. James looked around and slipped inside. No one had seen him.

James didn’t dare switch on a light, so he started looking around in the faint light from the streetlamps outside. He sat at his father’s desk and tried to imagine where he would keep something important. He rifled through the drawers, but mostly he just saw student lab reports, lecture notes, and reams of test results about tomatoes. James knew he had to dig deeper, though. He was looking through every inch of a fi le cabinet when something struck him as weird about the middle drawer. It seemed to be shorter than the others, as if it didn’t reach all the way to the back of the cabinet. James yanked the entire drawer out. Sure enough, it had been saving space for something.

The safe was small— about the size of a shoebox— and had a numerical touch pad. James tried to suppress his quick feeling of triumph. He stared at the touch pad for a while, contemplating how to proceed. He didn’t want to start typing in an educated guess only to have the thing start hissing smoke at him. Or whatever angry safes were programmed to do.

James knew from other, less important passwords that his dad tended to use some version of James’s or Michael’s birthday. He thought about trying those eight digits, but he knew that if what was inside the safe was as important as he suspected, his dad wouldn’t be repeating passwords that the family already knew. No, for something of this magnitude, his father would have chosen something even more meaningful. And then instantly, James knew what to guess.

His brother Thomas.

For his dad, losing his first son was the most impactful event in his life. That was what he would use to guard something so significant. As James leaned in to type Thomas’s birthday into the keypad, another thought struck him. It wasn’t Thomas’s birthday that his father would fixate on; it was his death. James knew the date of his brother’s death. It was a day of uncomfortable silence in his house every year. He typed it in, and the safe unlocked with a satisfying click.

Within seconds, James knew he had found something. There was a single folder in the safe, stuffed full of loose pages. The labels on the front cover were enough to give him shivers: TOP SECRET … NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH … THE HOURGLASS VACCINE … ARTHUR LIVINGSTON … EYES ONLY.

James took the folder out of the safe, hands practically trembling under its theoretical weight. Just as he was about to open it and read its contents, he saw a shadow appear outside the office door. James lunged under the desk at the exact moment that he heard a key turn in the lock.

The door swung open and heavy footsteps entered the office.

Read the Rest of the Excerpt Here!

The Ones will hit the book shelves September 6, 2016, and you can order your copy today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.