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Release Week Event and Review: Among Monsters: Jamie McGuire


Among Monsters (A Red Hill Novella)
Jamie McGuire
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Among Monsters will be available in ebook and paperback on Amazon!
*Amazon Exclusive*

Being thirteen has pitfalls of its own, but growing up has never been this hard. 

Jenna had promised her mother that if the worst happened during her dad’s weekend, they would meet at Red Hill Ranch. When she finds seven words spray-painted on her dad’s wall the morning after a deadly outbreak, she makes a promise to herself: to get to the ranch with her seven-year-old sister, Halle, and to get them both there alive. 

Among Monsters is the companion novella to Red Hill, both exploring from different perspectives what many broken families experience every other weekend: What if your children aren't with you when the world ends? What would you do to get to them? What would they go through to get to you? 

For Jenna, seeing her mother again is worth everything. Determined to keep her promise, she is faced with experiences and decisions that force her to leave her childhood behind. 

The kids were at the table, coloring quietly. It seemed so easy for them to forget about the nightmare happening outside while they chose the perfect shade of blue and dragged it back and forth on the paper. I wished it were that simple, that I could just busy myself with something and pretend everything was normal. 

I smirked and looked at Connor. “Are we running for our lives or running a daycare?” 

He leaned away from the hole in the plywood and watched me for a moment, frowning. “If you saw inside the school, you wouldn’t be complaining. Out of this entire town, only three of us are left. Another boy was in the church. His name was Evan. He was older than me, but he didn’t make it out. So, now, it’s just us and April. Your bunch brings the kid population to a grand total of eight. Eight—that’s not even a daycare. That’s just sad.”

“I…I’m sorry. I was just trying to make conversation. I didn’t mean—” 

“I know,” he said, looking back through the hole. “I didn’t mean it either. I’m just mad.”

I wondered what Connor was like before this had happened because he didn’t act his age.

“I bet you are.”

“If I were older, I could have saved more people. If I were older—”

“There are a lot of adults around. None of them have stopped this. Don’t carry that around with you.”

“I’m not carrying anything. The only things I have are my clothes.”

“Where do you live? Maybe we could go get some of your things?”

He shook his head. “What does any of that stuff matter now?”

I shrugged. His way of thinking made me miss Chloe. I wondered where she was, if her mom had picked her up in time. I would hope. That was all I had left. “I wish I could have brought something from my old room. Makes it feel more like home.” When Connor didn’t respond, I continued, “It’s not as loud as I thought it would be. Not a lot of screaming or hysterics. People get quiet when they’re afraid.”

“It’s only been two days,” Connor said without emotion. “Give them time.”

“Halle used to talk all the time. She’s barely said a word. She hasn’t even really cried.”

“Good. Loud kids get eaten.”

“You’re creepy,” I said, crossing my arms.

He leaned back and looked at me, the corners of his mouth turned up ever so slightly. “You’re weird.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m not the one staring at a cemetery when dead people are walking around.” 

“I’m not staring at the cemetery. I’m watching Skeeter.”

“Who’s Skeeter?” I asked.

“The guy who saved me.”

“I thought you said your teacher saved you?”

“He saved me from my teacher.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Oh.”

“He’s burying his wife.”

I furrowed my brows. “Oh.”

“She was pretty. April said she said she was pregnant. I’m pretty sure he had to shoot her. It was…sad, I guess—if that’s the right word.”

“Sad is the right word.”

“It doesn’t seem like enough.”

“May I?” I asked, pointing to the hole.

Connor wasn’t imagining things. A man was standing in the cemetery with a shovel, and a body covered in plastic was lying on the ground next to him. “I see him,” I said.

“Yep.”

The man was filthy, covered in sweat, and once in a while, he would pause to aim and fire his gun. 

So, that’s where the gunshots were coming from. 

He was fearless, his shaggy sandy-blond hair sticking out of his ball cap. He was too far from me, so I couldn’t make out his face, but his body would shake periodically, and I knew that he was crying. 

“Should we tell him we’re here? He seems like a good person to have around. Good with a gun,” I asked.

“April already tried. He’s going to find his brother and niece when he’s done.”

I looked at Connor. “I’m sorry about your parents and your teacher. That sucks—a lot.”

“Yep,” he said before walking away.

If reading Red Hill through the eyes of a mother searching for her children during a zombie epidemic was emotional, reading the same epidemic through the eyes of a 13 year old girl was just as, if not more chilling. 

Among Monsters tells the story of Jenna and Halle as they try to connect with their mom after the world changes. Traveling with their father, their journey is just as harrowing as Scarlet’s journey was, and also carries the weight of knowing these are children. 

For being a companion novella, it is almost entirely new material. Since the girls were separated from their mother and were traveling with the protection of their father, they had a completely different experience than Scarlet. What this novella really makes clear is just how close Scarlet was from finding her girls nearly the entire time they were separated. The people who appear in both stories, the events described, and the things they see are often the same, but from different perspectives or timeframes those things look vastly different. 

I enjoyed this companion immensely. I wish I had made time to reread Red Hill as there were times I couldn’t remember how something had happened with Scarlet or if what Jenna was seeing was the same as Scarlet described. But even with the time between readings, I loved how this story fit with the original. It was like watching a TV show with several characters missing for the season, only to have the final episode highlight what those missing characters went through the whole time. It was fast, it was terrifying, it was the perfect Red Hill companion.
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Jamie McGuire
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Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with international bestseller, Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written apocalyptic thriller Red Hill, a novella titled A Beautiful Wedding, and the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy.

Jamie lives on a ranch just outside Enid, OK with husband Jeff and their three children. They share their 30 acres with cattle, six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.
Go to Jamie's Facebook Page for a chance to win a signed hardback of Red Hill AND a signed paperback of the new novella, Among Monsters! 

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