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  • Writer's pictureBex Drate


Just be yourself. That's what everyone says when seventeen-year-old Allison Keller is forced to spend fall semester in her mom’s tiny hometown. But Allie knows what they really think—literally. Since witnessing a mysterious spaceship crash when she was eleven, Allie has had the unpleasant experience of hearing the thoughts of everyone nearby. To protect herself, she follows a strict set of rules. The most important? No one can know about her mind-reading.

Easy enough. Until she’s forced to face the one person she never could lie to—her (wow, he got tall) childhood friend, JD. If she can avoid him for a few months, she’ll be back to the crowded anonymity of her suburban high school. But Allie’s not the only one in town with secrets. When Allie uses her mind-reading to uncover a plot to murder JD, she is forced to pick between warning him, and keeping her secret.

In a desperate attempt to do both, Allie digs for tangible proof of the plot by befriending the suspect, mean girl Jillian Collins. But when Allie discovers the murder plot is connected to her own mind-reading, Allie must embrace her loathed power if she is to save JD, and just maybe, the human race as she knows it.

HALF TREE is a 92,000-word YA sci-fi thriller that channels the twisty mystery of TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET by Karen M. McManus, with the ethically gray antagonist and futuristic biotech of the THIS MORTAL COIL series by Emily Suvada, all set in the eerie Americana of STRANGER THINGS. HALF TREE explores what it means to truly be yourself when your DNA can be edited.


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