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Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear (Hardcover)
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A painfully average teen’s life is upended by a magical apocalypse in this darkly atmospheric and sweepingly romantic novel perfect for fans of The Raven Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
High school is hard enough to survive without an apocalypse to navigate.
Sid Spencer has always been the most normal girl in her abnormal hometown, a tourist trap built over one of the fault lines that seal magic away from the world. Meanwhile, all Sid has to deal with is hair-ruining humidity, painful awkwardness, being one of four Asians in town, and her friends dumping her when they start dating each other—just days after one of the most humiliating romantic rejections faced by anyone, ever, in all of history.
Then someone kills one of the Guardians who protect the seal. The earth rips open and unleashes the magic trapped inside. Monsters crawl from the ground, no one can enter or leave, and the man behind it all is roaming the streets with a gang of violent vigilantes. Suddenly, Sid’s life becomes a lot less ordinary. When she finds out her missing brother is involved, she joins the remaining Guardians, desperate to find him and close the fault line for good.
Fighting through hordes of living corpses and uncontrollable growths of forest, Sid and a ragtag crew of would-be heroes are the only thing standing between their town and the end of the world as they know it. Between magic, murderers, and burgeoning crushes, Sid must survive being a perfectly normal girl caught in a perfectly abnormal apocalypse.
Only—how can someone so ordinary make it in such an extraordinary world?
About the Author
Robin Wasley is a young adult fantasy writer with a soft spot for orphans, found families, and funny girls with no special skills who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. She grew up in a family of adoptees, never truly seeing herself reflected in the books she devoured. As an adult, when she saw an Asian American girl on the cover of a YA book for the first time, she cried. Robin lives in Boston and works in scientific publishing, but she writes so readers can laugh, cry, and scream, “Why are you like this?”. Her favorite things are genre mashes, bubble baths, Cheetos, and pie. When not writing, she enjoys baking and binge-watching entire seasons of TV in a single day. Her one dream in life is to become best friends with BTS.
"Loaded with imaginative details, mean fluffy cats, and a heroine you'll have no problem rooting for, Robin Wasley's Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear is the most fun you can have when trying to survive a magical hellscape. If you've ever watched a zombie apocalypse movie and thought, well, I'd just die instantly—read this and feel some hope."
— Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns
"The best novels make you care about the characters and I loved every single hero, sidekick, and cat in this wildly entertaining romp of a novel. Wickedly funny, but also filled with resonant themes of belonging and finding your place in the world. I didn’t want this book to end!"
— Axie Oh, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
"A fun romp full of charm and humor! The magic is in Sid Spencer's voice, proving this heroine is anything but ordinary."
— Trang Thanh Tran, New York Times bestselling author of She Is a Haunting
"Full of effortless prose and sparkling wit, Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear seamlessly meshes genuine horror and snappy banter to create a nonstop, propulsive read that had me both laughing out loud and gasping in astonishment."
— Kelly Andrew, author of The Whispering Dark
"The tangled threads of complicated love—romantic, platonic, and familial—weave together riveting action and visceral stakes in this magical exploration of self-discovery. I loved this one!"
— Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the Universe
* "This dark debut is a pitch-perfect balance of fantasy, horror, humor, and romance. The story is well paced, with action and suspense interspersed with quiet moments of raw emotion and human connection. The thoughtfully developed characters grapple with issues of race, insecurities, self-absorption, isolation, connection, family, loss, grief, and empathy.
A thrilling, moving, and fantastical apocalyptic novel that readers won’t want to put down."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Debut author Robin Wasley blends elements of fantasy and horror to create a clever and exhilarating zombie apocalypse narrative in Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear. Sid's distinct, snarky-yet-empathetic voice adds hilarity and humanity to the novel. Her desire for belonging—contextualized by her experience as a Korean adoptee of white parents and one of the only Asians in a predominantly white town--will resonate with many readers. Memorable supporting characters--including brooding musician Brian...mean girl with a heart of gold Eleni...and grouchy-yet-protective cat Chad—form an endearing found family. Fans of post-apocalyptic stories, urban fantasy, and ensemble casts should delight in this gripping novel."
— Shelf Awareness, starred review
"Sid is immediately sympathetic as she describes what it is like to be one of the only Asian kids in a small town and how isolating that feels, particularly after her crush and best friend start dating each other and Sid responds by cutting both of them out of her life. Of course, murderous vigilantes, dangerous magic, and zombies can usually put even the most painful teen experiences into perspective, and Sid finds forgiveness for her friends, grace for herself, and a new appreciation for a world where magic is usually locked away. Thankfully, she loses none of her snark in this period of self-discovery, and her narration is sharp, witty, and memorable. The villain is monstrous, relentless, and brutal in his quest to take all the keys by killing all the Guardians, and Wasley contrasts his nightmarish determination to upend the world with Sid’s far less polished and planned, but equally determined, goal to save it. Readers will spot that Sid is wildly underestimating herself a couple hundred pages before she does, and part of the satisfaction of this novel is her realizing that heroics are a spectrum, and she is firmly on it."
"Wasley deftly juggles inventive worldbuilding with introspective ruminations on adoption, found family, and self-acceptance. A large and eclectic intersectionally diverse cast; fast-paced, brutal action; and thrilling reveals round out this genre-bending debut that is at once funny, terrifying, and heart-wrenching from start to finish."
— Publishers Weekly
"A solid debut...engagingly clever."