Excerpt: The Exo Project by Andrew DeYoung


Hello, bookworms! I was lucky enough to read The Exo Project earlier in the year and it’s such a great book. You can read my review that I posted awhile back. I wanted to do some type of spotlight on the book closer to release date, so I jumped at the opportunity to do an excerpt! 🙂 Read about the book, a little about Andrew, and the excerpt for The Exo Project. And be sure to check out Andrew’s website for a Q&A!

About the Book

Title: The Exo Project
Author: Andrew DeYoung
Pub. Date: April 2017
Pages: 455
Format: Hardcover/Kindle


On a future, dying Earth, seventeen-year-old Matthew has a choice: live out his days on a doomed planet or leave his family forever to join the Exo Project and journey one hundred years into space to find a new home for humankind.

One hundred light-years away, a teenage girl named Kiva is preparing to lead her people. But she is troubled by a vision of a ship hurtling through space, bringing a strange boy who seems to see her, too.

When they finally meet, Matthew and Kiva discover an emotional connection that neither expected, a connection both powerful and dangerous. Now each must make an impossible decision: Stay loyal to the bonds that tie them together, but risk the loss of their communities. Or protect their own worlds at all costs—even at the expense of each other.

About Andrew DeYoung

Andrew DeYoung is a writer and editor who has dreamed of being an author ever since his ninth-grade English teacher made him write down his biggest life goal for a class assignment. He studied literature in college and graduate school, writing a thesis on the history of Victorian detective fiction before making the jump from academia to publishing. These days, he lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he edits children’s books and lives with his wife, daughter, and a feline companion named June Carter Cat. Andrew’s taste in science fiction leans more Star Trek than Star Wars—though only barely. The Exo Project is his debut novel.

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The Excerpt


They called it the Exo Project.

It had been almost a year ago now that the announcement had come in over the web. Matthew had been sitting in his bedroom at the time, doing homework and wondering what to make for dinner for himself and his little sister, when his tablet buzzed with an incoming transmission.

Matthew glanced at it. A blue crest flickered onto the screen: the logo of OmniCore, the global Earth government. Matthew snatched the tablet from the desktop, his back going straight.

An official announcement. Everybody on the planet was probably watching it.

There was a silent moment—then the OmniCore logo faded from the screen, replaced by an image of the sun burning hot in the sky. The music in the background was ominous, threatening. Over the music came a man’s voice.

“Earth is dying,” the voice said, “burning up. Crops are failing, fresh water is becoming harder to find, and the future of the human race is at risk.”

The camera panned down from the sun to a vast desert. Antlike humans staggered across the dunes in radiation suits.

“But there’s a new hope for humanity: The Exo Project.”

The screen filled with images of scientists hunched over lab tables, engineers drawing up 3-D blueprints with their fingertips in holographic computer environments, half-constructed spaceships in hangars, surrounded by scaffolding and showers of sparks.

“Exoplanets are worlds outside our solar system, and scientists have identified thousands of them that might sustain life. Now, with new innovations in cryogenics and lightspeed travel, these planets are within our reach, ready to be explored. There’s just one thing missing. You.”

Now the music swelled, and the next image that came on the screen was a close-up of a person’s face: a young woman looking off-camera, hopeful and determined, the faintest trace of a smile on her lips. Slowly, the camera pulled back to reveal that she was marching across a flat expanse of concrete, carrying an OmniCore flag that flapped in the wind above her head. She wasn’t alone. One by one, other people joined her, men and women of all ages, races, and ethnicities, smiling and nodding to each other as they came to march at her shoulder. Soon, the camera had pulled back far enough to reveal hundreds of people, maybe thousands, and the image panned around to reveal what they were marching toward: a spaceport with thousands of ships lined up on the tarmac.

“The Exo Project is seeking volunteers now. The future of the human race lies in your hands.”

And with that, the announcement was over. The tablet screen blinked back to the normal view. In the lower left-hand corner, Matthew saw that he had a new message. He tapped it open with his fingertip. It was a message from the Exo Project. It must have come through with the announcement. Matthew scrolled past a photograph of a young man gazing boldly toward the skies, past the banner commanding him to “Sign Up Now!”, and squinted at the fine print at the bottom of the message.

Exo Project participants will be chosen by lottery, Matthew read. The volunteers selected for participation will be cryogenically frozen for the lightspeed expedition. There is no means of return to Earth. Participants who find habitable planets will be refrozen until the first settlers arrive. Those who do not will take mission-termination pills.

Matthew’s skin felt cold. He wasn’t certain what “mission termination pills” referred to, but he had an idea.

The Exo Project was a suicide mission.

Then Matthew’s eyes fell on the last line of the fine print.

The families of Exo Project participants will receive a reward of one million units.

Matthew’s stomach dropped.

He had to volunteer. He had to put his name in the lottery.

So he did. And months later, Matthew learned that he’d been chosen randomly from millions of applicants to be part of the Exo Project.

He was going. He was leaving Earth, never to return.


Kiva went out from the village to watch the Great Mother set in a blaze of red on the horizon, then wait for the Three Sisters to blink on in the night sky. This was her tradition, her private ritual. She allowed no one to see her, no one to follow her as she slipped away from her father’s hut on the edge of the village. As she came over the rise, a lip of rock separating the village from the surrounding plain, she paused to watch the wind ripple over the grass, a sudden tessellation of lines dancing in shifting patterns across the prairie before disappearing once more as the air went still. She walked down into the low, flat expanse, her fingers trailing in the purple and brown grasses, clutching at the tips. She lay down in her favorite spot, against the cleft swell of a small hillock, and waited.

Waited for the time that was neither night nor day. A thin cusp between the light and the darkness.

This was her favorite time—a secret she kept with herself. It was hers and hers alone.

As the Great Mother inched toward the horizon, Kiva felt the stirrings of something she couldn’t quite name welling up inside her. It began in the back of her mind as a sort of itch, a tickle, the ghost of something she once knew but had long since forgotten. Then it—whatever it was—began to gain strength, like a light breeze growing to a mighty wind. Slowly, an image began to take shape in her mind: a blue orb, cloud-dappled, suspended in deep blackness.

And then, at the moment that the last red-rimmed sliver of sun fell below the curve of the planet Gle’ah, a sharp agony seized Kiva at the root of her torso. Her body convulsed with the force of the pain; her stomach and back clenched tight, and her heels ground deep into the grass.

Kiva’s eyes clamped shut as, above, the Three Sisters—the moons of Gle’ah—began to glow in the darkening sky. In the far distance, Vale and Dalia, the Twins, had entered into the part of their orbit where they appeared to dance together, their two white orbs seeming to merge into a single elongated mass. Ao, the third moon of Gle’ah, passed by on a closer orbit, near enough to the planet that, had her eyes been open, Kiva could have traced the moon’s path with her finger as it spun across the sky.

As it was, Kiva merely felt her hair float next to her ears in the pull of Ao’s gravity as the moon passed overhead—and when the pale white sphere was directly above her, nearly lifting her entire body off the ground, the pain sharpened to an agonizing point in her chest as images fluoresced on her eyelids.

An explosion of light and fire.

A sea of stars elongating and whizzing past in the blackness.

A huge bird made of polished stone, coming through the clouds to land on the prairie.

And three dark silhouettes standing shoulder to shoulder on the horizon.

Then the moon spun on, releasing Kiva’s body from its grip.

The strands of her hair fell and pooled again on the ground. When Ao had disappeared over the horizon, the images on Kiva’s eyelids faded, and the pain loosed its hold on her body. Her eyes snapped open, her lungs gasping for air. In the now-dark sky, the Twins went wobbly in her vision as tears brimmed at the edges of her eyes. She blinked away a single tear; it ran down her cheek and dripped in her ear.


The word came to her unbidden.

They’re coming.


Book Blast: Because I Love You by Tori Rigby (Excerpt & Giveaway)


Hello bookworms! Are you looking for something new to read but don’t know what to pick up next? Well, let me help make things easier for you! This is a book I will be getting as soon as possible!

Welcome to the Book Blast for Because I Love You by Tori Rigby presented by Blaze Publishing! Check out the teaser below, and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post. As a special treat, we’ve got another book that may tickle your fancy . . . what is it? Read on, dear reader, read on!

Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.

Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.

Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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What Readers Are Saying

emotional and heartfelt read” – Laura H (The Voluptuous Book Diva)

one of the most amazing books I have ever read and a great contemporary read” – KittyKat (Goodreads Reviewer)

It’s one of those books where everything worked really well together. The story. The characters. The relationships. And the writing. It was just so beautiful.” – Nicole (Bookish Thoughts)


No matter how much I needed him, I couldn’t let Neil throw his future away for me. He would do anything to keep me protected, comforted; I knew that like I knew the sky was blue. But I had to show him the same selfless love, or I’d forever regret holding him back. Which meant one thing: I was on my own.

My stomach turned to stone. But what about Ethan? Even if I did manage to drop out of high school and find a job that paid a decent wage, I couldn’t provide for a baby by myself. I couldn’t raise a baby in poverty—I wouldn’t. My son deserved so much more. But how the hell was I supposed to let him go?

About the Author

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay at home mom, Tori Rigby grew up with her nose in a book and her fingers on piano keys, always awaiting the day she’d take her own adventure. Now, she goes on multiple journeys through her contemporary and historical romances. She longs to live in the Scottish Highlands, and her favorite place in history is Medieval England—she’d even give up her Internet and running water to go back in time! Tori also writes high-concept genre fiction as Vicki Leigh, and when she isn’t writing, she’s kicking butt in krav maga or attending classes to learn how to catch bad guys.

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Seventeen-year-old Rose suffers from terrifying, painful nightmares that leave her bruised, exhausted, and questioning her sanity. Desperate to hold on, she makes a choice: Trust her doctor who claims he can cure her, or listen to another patient who swears the asylum will kill them.

Asleep by Krystal Wade
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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One (1) winner will receive a Blaze swag pack and $5 Amazon card (INT).
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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