We’re pleased to reveal the cover for Nemesis, a young adult thriller from Brendan Reichs that’s part Lord of the Flies and part Orphan Black. The first in a series, Nemesis unravels a conspiracy that starts with two troubled teens, but ends with the fate of the entire human race.
Learn more about the novel below, including insights from the author!
Ari Lewin, Executive Editor for Putnam, asked author Brendan Reichs three questions:
Lewin: Nemesis is your first solo young adult novel—how did the writing process differ from the Virals series you previously co-authored?
Reichs: The main difference was in the revision process, where I personally think books are made. I’ve always planned, plotted, and written the first drafts of my co-authored novels, so Nemesis was initially created in the same way—I hammered out a way-too-long draft and then had to figure out how to cut it down to a reasonable size. But this time around I didn’t have that crucial first reader I’ve always relied upon to help me shape the final story. In one sense, it was liberating having total say over every aspect of the story, but in another it was just plain scary. All my choices had to stand on their own merits, with no backstop. I think in the end this story is the most of “me” I’ve ever put into a work, and that’s been incredibly satisfying. I really love this book and hope that others will as well.
Lewin: If you had one paragraph to describe Nemesis, what would it be?
Reichs: Nemesis is the story of a girl named Min Wilder, who, every-other year on her birthday, is murdered by the same black-suited man. Each time she wakes up a few hours later in an alpine clearing about a mile away from home, without a scratch on her. The story opens with Min’s fifth murder on her sixteenth birthday, and her desperation to finally uncover the truth of what is happening to her, once and for all, whatever the cost. Her struggle to unlock this secret unearths a shadowy conspiracy operating in her tiny Idaho hometown, one with sinister and far-reaching implications. Because Min is not the only person this is happening to, and the fate of the human race may rest in her hands.
Lewin: How did Min’s story come to you? Was there any particular inspiration?
Reichs: I usually shy away from answers that have a whiff of artistic pretension, but I have to admit that this idea was the one inside my head that was absolutely demanding to be written. I wanted to play around with a universally accepted notion: the finality of death. And I mean finality in the sense that I wasn’t implicating the afterlife, but rather the specific, physical end of the life a person leads to that point. I started to wonder; what if someone experienced everything involved in the process of dying—in this case through brutal, painful acts of murder—but then … didn’t. What if someone simply returned to his or her former healthy state without any lingering damage? And then it happened again and again, over and over, without explanation. What would that do to a person’s mind? How would they cope? This admittedly disturbing seed sparked the story of Min and Noah, eventually exploding into a dark and tangled conspiracy thriller touching everyone on the planet. I began writing this book honestly curious as to how far their story could go. You’ll see that Nemesis takes it pretty far. And the sequel will travel even beyond that, so stay tuned!
Nemesis is available March 2017 from Penguin Young Readers. From the catalog copy:
It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.
Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.
For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.