Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for RETRO by Jarrod Shusterman and Sofía Lapuente! I’m so excited because today I have an excerpt of the book to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Published on January 24, 2023 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, YA
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What starts off as a light-hearted competition to live without modern technology for a year turns into a fight for survival in this unputdownable young adult thriller by New York Times bestselling author Jarrod Shusterman and debut author Sofía Lapuente.
To save her struggling family, Luna enters a competition offering reward money to anyone who can successfully live without modern technology for a year. But when this social experiment turns sinister and her classmates start disappearing, her family’s livelihood might not be the only thing she’s in danger of losing.
You don’t know me yet. But here I stand, soaked in mud, blood stained across my diamond disco dress—and I’m not even sure where I am. My heart is splintered glass inside my chest. Un corazón roto. How I arrived is a story too twisted to believe.
So let me center myself and take in my surroundings. I’m trapped. I was thrown into a sterile white room with no windows, the closest thing to a jail cell I have ever seen. And the maddening silence makes me wish this place came with a minibar and a lobotomy pick. Anything to help me escape my current reality.
But isn’t that all the rage these days?
People hide behind an online profile, a facetuned image, or a filter—when, in reality, their face doesn’t need a filter; it needs a double cappuccino. Like my mom always said, La cara es el espejo del alma. And how right she was—no matter how much you try to hide, your eyes will always reflect who you truly are. And in my eyes, they found someone who would never back down. I guess I’m difficult. Which is basically why I’m here.
At least they had the decency to let me keep my Walkman. I press the headphones tight to my ears. It will help me tell my story. Let me introduce myself.
My name is Luna, but lately I’ve earned a few others. You might think I’m locked away because I killed someone—or maybe you think I robbed a bank. Assault and battery.
Not quite. But this year we did create a revolution, and I was there on the front page.
Because this year we were invincible.
Or so we thought.
Now my heart is burned by the flames.
My friends disappeared, never to be seen again.
And the blood is dried on my hands.
My music fades out, and I wipe black tears of mascara from my eyes. I don’t need a mirror to know that I probably look like a hungry, rabid raccoon. The tape has ended, but the story is far from over—so let’s bring it back to the very beginning.
To the first song of the soundtrack of my life.
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”Cyndi Lauper
I was innocent. She knew it and decided to bury me anyway— silent as a grave. No matter how harmful we know lies to be, each one of us will tell ten to two hundred of them per day. They come in all shapes and colors, from I love your haircut to I have read and agree to these terms and conditions. Some are white and others stained crimson red. But what they don’t teach you is that the most dangerous lies are the ones you don’t tell. Or at least that’s what I learned the day I got caught for stealing.
It all went down the last day of summer, on one of those Northern Californian afternoons where clouds threatened darkly overhead. Instead of organizing a funeral for our summer vacation, my friends and I enjoyed one last afternoon of saturated fats, inappropriate jokes, and brand-new clothes. It’s not like there was much else to do in our small town anyway. The Monteverde Mall was always a second home to me, and not just because when I was six I hid in the furniture store until my mom rounded up a mall-cop search party. It was where I experienced my first true deception and mixed all the Play-Doh colors, expecting to get a rainbow and got caca brown. I even killed my first gaggle of zombies in the arcade. But most importantly, my family ran the little movie theater in the corner of the top floor where I had a lifetime supply of radioactive-yellow popcorn.
My mom had given me the day off, so my friends Samantha and Mimi were pretending to be my personal shoppers, though I didn’t remember hiring them. Samantha had her mind made up that I was a pop star partying in Malibu, and Mimi, like a seagull, was distracted by anything shiny. A match made in department store heaven.
“Luna, you’ll be literally irresistible in this,” Samantha said, holding up a microscopic emerald blouse.
“Thanks, but I think it’ll fit you better . . . it’s too sexy for me,” I told her.
Mimi threw an arm over my shoulder. “Like my mom always says, the sexiest thing you can wear are your values.” As whacky as Mimi could be, she was always somehow super wise.
“I see how all the guys look at you ever since you got your braces off.” Samantha nudged me. “This year boys are going to be lining up to meet you.”
I smiled. “No blouse, no guy could make me feel luckier than having you two.”
Samantha grabbed my hands teasingly, making me dance with her. “Come on—love and hormones are in the air.” “Then where’s my gas mask?” I laughed.
“Give it up,” Mimi said. “The last time Luna had a boyfriend, she was eating sand at playtime, and we all know how that ended.”
The rest of our department store experience consisted of Mimi and me pretending that we could afford more than one article of clothing while Samantha spent forever in the dressing room taking selfies in all the clothes. Or at least that’s what we thought she was doing.
As we were wrapping things up, Mimi received a call. She hung up the phone, looking concerned. “I have to go. My cat is fighting my iguana again.”
I would have asked questions but had learned better by this point. Although I did very much care for the well-being of Professor Meowmington and Juanita.
We hugged Mimi goodbye, and she headed for the exit, but not without winking to a guy in the cologne section. Mimi had no problem hitting on anyone at school, not because she was especially confident, but because she lived on her own planet— and it always blew my mind.
Left to our own devices, there was a weird air between Samantha and me.
“I had a lot of fun today,” Samantha said, looking down. “Thanks for inviting me out with you and Mimi . . . you know how my other friends are.”
“Don’t mention it.” I knew exactly what she meant. Samantha and I were well aware that we came from entirely different worlds.
She was the popular one.
And let’s just say I was made up of different ingredients. Her life was about beautiful blond hair, social media followers, and grades so high, they set the curve. She was the “perfect” friend, and it had always been that way, ever since we were kids on the same soccer team. We never hung out together at school, but I was the first one Samantha called when she won class vice president or became a cheerleading captain. When her grandmother passed away. When she needed to relax and have fun. Because with me, for better or worse, she could always be herself. She didn’t have to try to be perfect.
“I have to use the restroom,” Samantha said. “Would you mind holding on to this for me?” She extended her orange backpack.
“No problem, girl.” I took it and slung it over my shoulder. While I waited, I flipped through Limbo—the social media app that had devoured all the others. If you didn’t have a Limbo profile, you practically didn’t exist. My friends and I were always coming up with new dances, having fun with trends, or just killing time. One time Mimi went kind of viral with a kitty-face filter, licking her dad’s elbow, which was hilarious. Anyway, as I stood there in the department store, a scent drifted up my nose. The divine aroma of white chocolate macadamia, coming from CookieWorld, the bakery just next door. I followed the fragrance, drooling like a bulldog. Samantha seemed a little off, and a surprise cookie would put a smile on her face. But as soon as I crossed the exit, I heard an ear-splitting screech. The sound of alarms.
I hovered awkwardly, confused, until a hand grasped my shoulder, spinning me around.
Store security—a man dressed in a yellow-and-black uniform, with the weathered demeanor of a retired cop.
“Ma’am. I’ll need you to open the bag,” the guard ordered, pointing with his baton. I had almost forgotten I was still wearing Samantha’s backpack. I pulled it off and opened the zipper, finding a cheer team sweatshirt.
“Would you mind showing me what’s underneath?” the security guard added. No longer so tense, I dug a little deeper . . . Revealing the sparkle of silver.
A snarl of it—a brand-new space-gray phone, an unboxed smartwatch, a pair of designer sunglasses, and necklaces still with the tags on. There I stood, holding up hundreds of dollars of stolen merchandise, struck to the core with panic.
Samantha was going to steal all these things.
I asked myself how over and over again. How the girl who always followed the rules, who never copied homework, was capable of taking so much merchandise—clearly I didn’t know her as well as I thought I did, which freaked me out.
“You’re coming with me,” the security guard growled, blocking the exit. “It’ll be up to the store manager to decide whether or not you’re going to spend the night behind bars.”
“Jail? I can’t go to jail!” I wailed, pulling away. I was starting to make a scene. Shoppers circled around.
“This isn’t my fault! I didn’t do this!”
The guard raised an eyebrow. “Then who did?”
But I couldn’t open my mouth to utter her name. I couldn’t move. All I could do was stare into her eyes—because Samantha was frozen in place, face blanched, watching the scene unfold from a distance. I waited for her to step forward—for her to take responsibility. But she didn’t.
“If it wasn’t you, then who did?” the security guard repeated.
Samantha. Please say something! I screamed inside my head. But Samantha said nothing. She was going to let me take the fall for this. Her eyes screamed I’m sorry, and I could see that she’d never intended for me to walk out of the store with that backpack, but everything else about her face told me that this was now my problem. It was her or me, and she chose herself.
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Enter here for a chance to win a print copy of RETRO by Jarrod Shusterman and Sofía Lapuente!
What do you think about Retro? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!
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