YA Sci-Fi Romance

Date Published: 10-31-2023

Publisher:  Firehorse


 

A freak electro-magnetic pulse leaves 17-year-old Bo and six other teenagers trapped inside a building in the British seaside resort of Blackpool, desperately trying to work out what just happened, why they can’t get out, and how to survive the weirdest weekend of their lives.

Dealing with each other’s egos and issues is nothing compared to the fallout unleashed by the solar event, because hidden beneath the building they discover it has activated a powerful energy device called blackloop.

As blackloop starts affecting everyone and everything in its vicinity, can Bo, who’s still grieving the loss of her mum, summon the courage to confront her fears, realise she’s falling in love, and make a move on Karim before it’s too late?

 
Excerpt

With Moody’s melodramatic exit over, I get a moment to myself with a bird’s eye view of my hometown while I wait for the other lift to arrive. It’s tough working for a lecherous bully like him, especially when you identify as female and are a total introvert like me, who eats Prozac for breakfast and has never been in what you’d call a relationship. At the Manchester studios, I hide in the toilets sometimes just to get a break from Moody’s endless innuendo. It’s easier when we’re on set like this cos he’s too busy to breathe down my neck or try to molest me. Plus, when we’re actually filming an episode, I don’t have to interact with anyone – I can just go into people-watching mode.

A family catches my eye down on the promenade. They’re laughing at their kid because she’s just dropped her ice cream on the Comedy Carpet, but she can’t see the funny side. There are couples walking along holding hands, looking totally comfortable in each other’s company. Like I said, I’ve never had a boyfriend, or even a best friend for that matter, so I get that familiar pang of envy, because I can’t imagine what that must feel like. To let someone in, I mean; to be close to someone. I used to think I was close to Mum. She could always tell when I had my period coming or if I was upset about something and she’d suggest we cuddle up on the sofa and watch an old movie together. But, looking back, I realise that however much she was there for me, Mum was actually quite distant and kept a lot of stuff to herself. If I’d really been close to her, she would have confided in me, and then maybe I could have done something before it was too late. I know it’s a stupid thing to say, but I wish I could go back and change everything that happened that night. I wish I could let Mum know I was there for her too. OK, that’s enough, my inner therapist pipes up, otherwise you’ll black out like last time, remember?

Through a break in the clouds, bright autumn sunlight is bouncing off the choppy Irish Sea far below. There’s something a bit weird about it; for one thing, it’s way too bright – like the time our chemistry teacher burned a piece of lithium in class, only on a much bigger scale – and for another, the light seems to be coming from the top of the tower. When I look up through a roof light over my head, it looks like there’s forked lightning coming out of the mast and reaching up into the clouds, where there’s more weird lightning happening.

My eyes are burning just looking at the sky now – it’s brighter than when the floodlights are beaming down onto a football pitch when it’s going dark. Or imagine the huge flash you’d see if every single light bulb in Blackpool’s illuminations blew at exactly the same moment. Better still, picture a bright beam of light coming out of an old movie projector, so white- hot it melts through the celluloid, turning the reel of film into a molten mess. Now put all those things together and that would be pretty close to what’s happening. The sonic boom that comes a fraction later is the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in my life…


 

About the Author

 Sarah Holding is a children's and YA author and poet, known primarily as a climate fiction writer. She is the author of six books: SeaBEAN (2013), SeaWAR (2014) and SeaRISE (2014), Chameleon (2020), How to Write a Poem (2021) and blackloop (forthcoming, 2023). She has been featured on Guardian Children’s Books, BBC Radio Scotland and given over 500 talks and creative writing workshops. Her books are now being taught in primary schools across the UK.

 

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