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Cover Reveal: THE DARKNESS RISES by Stacy Stokes

The Darkness Rises by Stacy Stokes is a gripping speculative thriller perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and Ginny Myers Sain, about one girl with the power to see death before it happens–and the terrible consequences she faces when saving someone goes wrong.

Whitney knows what death looks like. Since she was seven, she’s seen it hovering over strangers’ heads, rippling in thick black clouds. Sometimes she can save people from their impending doom. Sometimes she can’t. But she’s never once questioned whether or not it is her place to try. Until the unthinkable happens—and the person she saves is the perpetrator of a horrific school shooting.

Now Whitney will do anything to escape the memory of last year’s tragedy and the guilt that gnaws at her for her role in it. Even if that means quitting dance—the thing she’s loved most—and hiding her secret ability from her family and her BFF.

But when Whitney finds an ominous message in her locker she realizes someone knows her secret, and they want to pay her back for what she did. If she’s going to survive the year, she must track down whoever is after her, before it’s too late.

The Darkness Rises is a twisty-turny speculative mystery about grief, the secrets we keep, and what it really means to save a life.

Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek, and remember to preorder your copy.

Cover design by Jessica Jenkins

The night was a sweaty palm clamped over my mouth. Still, I took a grateful gulp of air. Anything was better than the mass of sweat, bodies, and chaos inside the house.

Marissa pulled the sliding glass door shut, muffling the noise inside.

“Better?” she asked, fluffing her dark curls. They immediately started to wilt from the humidity. I could tell she wanted to be back in the center of the living room with the rest of the dance team, shouting song lyrics and performing snippets of the choreography they’d learned at dance camp. Things had probably been easier this summer without me.

“Better.” I tried smiling. Her real question was written all over her face: What’s wrong with you? What aren’t you telling me?

I jerked my head skyward, pretending I hadn’t noticed. Pretending the freckled sky and finger of clouds passing over the moon were the reasons I came outside.

“I just needed some air,” I said, like that would explain everything. “Why don’t you go back inside? I’ll meet you in a few.”

“Nice try, Whit.” She arched an eyebrow and thumped my shoulder with hers. “You’re stuck with me.”

I smiled and thumped her back. More like she was the one stuck with me.

The back door slid open, belching music and several people onto the yard. Beau Gunter marched toward us, balancing a pitcher of his infamous punch in one hand and a stack of cups in the other.

“Ladies,” he drawled, “don’t tell me y’all are leaving. It’s early! The Beau hasn’t even had a chance to hang out with you.”

He grinned like he expected us to be grateful for The Beau’s presence. If it wasn’t for his height, he might have been cute, but his lanky build made him look too much like a praying mantis. That, and he had a penchant for referring to himself in the third person and making innuendo-laden puns out of his name, which for obvious reasons made me hate him.

“Haven’t seen you all summer, Supergirl. Where you been?”

My fingers curled into fists at the sound of my old nickname.

I am not super. I am a monster.

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to stop the onslaught of images. Trying to keep Dwight’s face from surfacing. I pictured Gams’s dance studio, remembering the way the wood felt against my feet and the resin crunched against my pointe shoe. I tried to disappear inside that feeling.

For an attitude turn, begin in a wide fourth position, croisé devant arms in third position, right leg in plié . . .

“Whit?” Marissa’s voice came to me like an echo down a hallway.

“What’d I say?” Beau asked. “Supergirl, you all right?”

I opened my eyes, cheeks flaring with heat.

“Stop calling her Supergirl,” Marissa snapped. She may not know why I hated that nickname, but Marissa had my back.

“It’s fine,” I told her, even though it made me want to shove my way through the crowd inside and run straight out the front door. “I’m fine. I just—I have a headache.”

“I have just the cure for that!” Beau shook the pitcher of punch at us, sending the pink liquid sloshing onto the ground.

“That stuff is liquid headache.” Marissa cocked her head and perched a hand on her hip, making her look like a teapot on the verge of exploding. Although if she knew I was comparing her to something a song called short and stout, her exploding would be the least of my worries. If you valued your life, you did not refer to Marissa’s diminutive size.

“Calm down. I’m just playing around,” Beau said.

She glared up at him. He grinned.

The group hovering on the porch let out a loud whoop as Beau gave up on us and moved to refill their cups.

Marissa sighed and gave a huff of defeat, sending dark curls dancing around her face. “You wanna go?”

“Why don’t you stay? There’s no reason for me to ruin your night.”

“No way.” She looped her arm through mine. “I haven’t seen you in almost two months. You owe me major catch-up time. Plus I’m going to get pregnant if I stand on that dance floor any longer.”

She gave me a wry grin and pulled me toward the side yard, where we could make our escape unnoticed. I thought she was going to let me off the hook, but when we got to the street, she tugged me to a stop. “Are you going to tell me what that was back there?”

“What do you mean?” I dug through my purse for my keys, feigning innocence.

Penguin Teen