Hi everyone and welcome to my Blog Tour Stop for MIND GAMES by Shana Silver hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt with you. Don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour!
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 27th 2019
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
A teen programmer at a school for geniuses must join forces with a boy she can’t remember to stop a hacker from deleting their memories in Shana Silver’s action-packed YA debut, Mind Games.
Arden sells memories. Whether it’s becoming homecoming queen or studying for that all important test, Arden can hack into a classmate’s memories and upload the experience for you just as if you’d lived it yourself. Business is great, right up until the day Arden whites out, losing fifteen minutes of her life and all her memories of the boy across the school yard. The boy her friends assure her she’s had a crush on for years.
Arden realizes that her own memories have been hacked, but they haven’t just been stolen and shared… they’ve been removed. And she’s not the only one: her mysterious crush, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone who has the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?
The diagnostic scan of my catalogued memories from today unfolds in short headers thanks to HiveMind’s automatic tagging feature. The contents display like the sidebar on YouTube with little thumbnail previews that automatically play back the video and automatic tags beside each video memory. No sound plays in the previews, just the images. To hear the sounds from the scene and the recorded inner monologue, I’d have to drag the memory from the archive into the live folder, which is essentially the same as dropping it directly into my mind. Our brains are synced so thoroughly with HiveMind that there’s no clear indication where one ends and one begins.
Get ready/Breakfast/Drive to school—HiveMind automatically lumps the boring stuff together.
Courtyard business—the thumbnail is of Sebastian walking toward us, as if HiveMind knows this was the most important part of my day.
Visit IT—HiveMind catches me sneaking the SSD drive into the computer via the thumbnail.
Test in Kimmel’s class—a 1021 MB dose of smack-me-in-the-face reality.
Try to fix HiveMind in Business and Project Management class—Why couldn’t I have forgotten this unnecessary form of torture?
Bathroom break—Nothing to see here, move along.
The catalogue continues up through the cafeteria. Everything seems to be in order. But then my eye catches movement on one of the file’s data details. My lips part in a gasp that sends Zoey swiveling toward me.
The file from when Sebastian and I discussed our joint project in Mr. Kimmel’s empty classroom is rapidly reducing in file size. The hair at the back of my neck stands at attention. What the hell?
I jerk my arm on the track pad to click on the file and knock my elbow into my water bottle in the process. The bottle careens to the table like a soccer player who just got his feet swept out from under him. Water splashes on my arm and across the corner of the keys. I yank the laptop and hop to a standing position. Zoey screams and throws a napkin on the puddle of water while Sebastian sets my water bottle upright. My heart rams.
“Arden? You okay?” Zoey shakes out her sopped notebook. I hold up a finger to them and balance the laptop on my forearm, gritting my teeth as I click on the file.
The preview expands to full screen, showing my perspective as I smack right into Sebastian after taking our test. Did something come after the test? I rack my brain but I can’t even remember walking out of class even though the next file in the list shows my view as I chat with Sebastian in an empty classroom. Why did I think this file contained something about talking to Mr. Kimmel when I haven’t spoken to him after class in months? Something important happened after that test. I know it. Or at least I knew it a second ago.
My eyes lock on Veronica’s, but she’s laughing and smiling with her friends, no tech devices in front of her. Teddy’s making his rounds to his adoring fangirls. Simon’s MIA. I sweep my vision from one person to the next, noting all the open laptops, tablets, phones. All the items that could give someone the opportunity to delete my memory while also having a solid alibi. Though theoretically, someone could have set in motion a deletion script that takes a while to run—they wouldn’t need to be on their laptop right now if they executed it within the last hour. That means it could be anyone.
I hit the CTRL+S for save, but the file size keeps decreasing. The ESC button mocks me without obeying my command. My pulse races.
After class? “Hey, did we talk to Kimmel after class today?”
Sebastian’s mouth parts and he fixes a grave expression on me. “I have no idea.”
Zoey lifts her head as she mops up the water with her napkin. “Oh my God. You’re forgetting more?”
The file blinks once before graying out like an expired link with a file size of 0 K. My stomach lurches. When I click on it, an error pops up. This file does not exist.
And just to prove itself right, the file itself disappears from the list completely.
I slump into the nearest dry seat and press my palm to my forehead. I’m forgetting something. What is it? And more important, what memory will I lose next?
Rachel Shane (writing as Shana Silver) studied creative writing at Syracuse University. She’s been a computer animator, an e-book creator for a major publisher, and now works as a Project Manager in digital and TV advertising where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and the characters she dreams up.