Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: November 14, 2012
Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.
If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.
After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.
Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real
I have two obsessions in my life: the written word and music. When I'm writing, I have music playing in the background almost constantly. Putting on a pair of headphones and cuing up a character-specific playlist always helps draw me into the world of my novel and capture the emotions of a particular scene.
While I was writing Revival I played dozens of different songs on repeat, searching for inspiration. Here are just a few of the tunes I listened to during those long nights spent hunting for words!
1. Florence + the Machine — Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)
At the beginning of the novel, Alexandra Parker is a sweet—if somewhat quiet—high school junior that is more than happy to let others take center stage while she observes life safely from the sidelines. That all changes when she discovers who she is and what she's capable of. With the help of her new friends—Declan, in particular—Alex discovers that she's not as weak as she once assumed... And that when it comes to protecting the people she cares about, she's stronger than she ever would have imagined.
This is a gift, it comes with a price Who is the lamb and who is the knife Midas is king and he holds me so tight And turns me to gold in the sunlight
I look around, but I can't find you (raise it up) If only I could see your face (raise it up) Instead of rushing towards the skyline (raise it up) I wish that I could just be brave
I must become a lion hearted girl Ready for a fight Before I make the final sacrifice
2. Burn Halo — Threw it All Away
Recently, I was asked what I thought Declan's theme song might be. At the time, I picked "I Stand Alone" by Theophilus London, but the more I thought about my choice, the more it bugged me.
Don't get me wrong, it's a great song—and the vibe is perfect for Declan. But another song that might have worked a little better would have been Burn Halo’s "Threw it All Away.”
It's one of those brooding rock ballads filled with wailing guitars and angst-ridden lyrics. And while Declan has taken to using sarcasm and humor as a shield to keep others from getting too close, on the inside he's struggling with a sea of anger, regret, and pain that he can't quite let go of. When Alex shows up on the scene, old emotions he'd worked hard to bury are brought back to the surface. And as Alex starts to slip past his carefully crafted defenses, Declan finds himself falling for her in spite of himself.
Come close and you'll see every little imperfection Because my scars still bear a shame that I can't hide Come close and you'll see I'm headed in the wrong direction Always getting lost but I'm not hard to find What if heaven could hear me screaming? What if heaven could hear me now?
Lord knows I've tried to change (I’ve sacrificed) But keep falling everyday (I keep falling) I was taking every chance I was living too fast I was throwing it all away …And I threw it all away
Come close and you'll see it was never my intention But I know that I have wronged so many rights Come close and you'll see that I fight to seek redemption All the wounds will heal but I know it will take time I know heaven can hear me screaming I know heaven can hear me now
3. Snow Patrol — In the End
There's one other character deserving of a song in this list, and that's Nathaniel. In the novel, it's obvious that Nathaniel is keeping a large number of secrets from the others—secrets that involve his memories of Alex and a past he doesn't want her to know about. More about Nathaniel and Alex's history is brought to light in book two of The Variant Series, but their past proved crucial to the way I wrote Nathaniel's character in Revival. Keeping that in mind, this Snow Patrol song is perfect for Nate!
It's the price I guess For the lies I've told That the truth it no longer thrills me
In the end, In the end There's nothing more to life than love is there? In the end, In the end It's time for us to lose our weary minds
Will you dance with me Like we used to dance And remember how to move together You are the torch And it all makes sense
I've waited here for you forever I've waited here for you forever
4. Snow Patrol — The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends?)
And since you stuck with me this long, here's the song that I'm currently listening to (on repeat) while I write book three in the Variant series! It offers up some clues about the ending of Resistance, the second book in the series, but that's all the spoilers you'll be getting from me for now…
The fire swept toward her as if it had a mind of its own, a sentient being driven by a single goal: to consume her.
Alex reached the end of the row of books and turned left, the fire spreading, following, taking the corner and closing fast, licking at her heels as she ran along the bookstore’s inside wall.
The only exit she knew of was at the front of the building, the area surrounding it now a veritable inferno. In desperation, she fled to the rear of the building, hoping to find another way out.
A putrid gray smoke had thickened the air inside the shop, stinging her throat as it filled her lungs. The threat of asphyxiation now seemed as imminent as the flames trailing only a few feet away.
Reaching the back corner, Alex spotted a door leading to the shop’s storeroom. She tried the handle with no luck, finally kicking the base of it in desperation.
Taking as many steps back toward the flames as she dared, Alex got up a running start and slammed her shoulder into the very center of the wood.
A blinding pain rocketed through her arm, spreading from the base of her neck to the very tips of her fingers. With a yelp, Alex bounced off the heavy door and fell to her knees before it.
The door was locked tight. It wasn’t going to budge.
She looked to her left. Her only other option was a spiral staircase leading to the upper balcony. The second tier of the store offered more walls lined with books, but no visible exit.
Alex got to her feet. The glass-paneled bookcases set against the nearby walls were already alight. Soon even the staircase wouldn’t be an option.
Realizing that the approaching flames had effectively made the decision for her, she started up the stairs, the handrails already hot to the touch.
Alex risked a glance upward and her heart sank at the sight of what awaited her at the top of the stairs.
Dirty blonde hair. Hazel eyes. Gray military-style jacket.
She came up short, four steps from the landing. The look on his face held just a hint of amusement. “Well?” He offered her his hand. “You coming?”
She hesitated, weighing her options. Risk running back down the flaming aisles to find another exit? Or trust the guy who’d been stalking her all afternoon?
The fire had spread to the nearby shelves. The heat was growing unbearable.
“You cut me deep,” he said. “You’d actually choose a fiery death over the prospect of my company. I have to admit, that stings a bit.”
She didn’t move.
His expression grew serious. “Trust me, Alex.”
Still uncertain, but more fearful of the flames than of the stranger before her, she took his outstretched hand—and very nearly dropped it in surprise. The sensation was… electric.
Literally. There was an actual, live current passing between their joined hands.
The flames were closing in.
Dismissing the odd sensation, she gripped his hand tightly and climbed the remaining steps.
Upon reaching the landing, Alex looked quickly for the exit through which the stranger must have arrived… and found nothing. How had he gotten there?
Alex came to a stop before him and tried to pull her hand from his. He wasn’t letting go.
“Ready?” he asked. The self-assured smile he’d worn earlier was once again firmly in place.
“For what?” she choked out, the mixture of heavy smoke and utter panic causing her throat to tighten. “There’s no door!”
“Door?” The smile grew wider. “Who said anything about using a door?”
Alex opened her mouth to reply—and instantly wished she hadn’t.
Before she could form a word in protest, the world around them had fallen away. The sound of thunder roared in her ears as a sudden change in pressure knocked the air from her lungs and forced her eyes closed.
Just when she felt certain that her body would soon do the impossible and turn itself inside out, it was over.
The pressure was gone… and she was falling.
Alex’s eyes burst open. She was eye level with the treetops and falling fast, heading straight for a dark body of water that stretched out below her.
A cry of surprise slipped from her throat.
The grip on her hand tightened.
Alex caught one last glimpse of her savior as they broke the surface of the water. He was still smiling.
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America. A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University. REVIVAL is her first novel.