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How far would you go to escape your own personal teenage hell? Would you run away, break away from everything you know—even your own body? Alex Robbins, Brooke Saunders and Maryanne Hemlock could not be more different, yet they all have something in common—deep and soul-searing pain. They are also all students at Streep Academy, a boarding school just one step away from juvie, where they’ve come to complete high school. The three have been relegated to Harvell House, the residence reserved for the hardest cases, the so-called Rejects from Reject Row. In the forbidden attic of the old Victorian house-turned-residence, the girls discover the diary of Connie Harvell, a young woman who was confined and abused there some 50 years ago. In the end, Connie’s attic prison couldn’t hold her—not completely. She found a way out. At least a dark part of her did. And after reading her diary, the girls discover they can escape at will too. A terrifying, thrilling flight from their bodies and their troubles. But God help them, their pain isn’t all they leave behind when they join with the night. And God help anyone who’s wronged them...
Ashlyn Caverhill has left behind her senior year of high school to live with her grandmother, and she's not happy about it. Small-town Maine has nothing on Toronto. But her mother is ill, and there's nowhere else to go. Even though it contains one Caden Williams--the hottest guy she's ever seen--Ashlyn thinks Prescott Junction is the deadest place ever. She may be right. A lot of people seem to die mysteriously down by the long-abandoned train tracks. Her own father died there before she was born. The townspeople whisper about a ghost train that comes for the souls of Prescott Junction's most troubled citizens, but Ashlyn scoffs--until one night she sees the train for herself and its ghoulish conductor nearly coaxes her on board. Ashlyn's fear grows when she finds an old radio that haunts the Caverhill family. They've thrown it out. It comes back. They've buried it. It comes back. They've sunk it in the lake, and still it comes back. Even though it's never plugged in, the radio broadcasts stories of future events that always come to pass. Imagine Ashlyn's horror when the radio's top story is "Ashlyn Caverhill boards the ghost train." Now, with the help of Caden and her new friend Rachel, Ashlyn must find a way to escape the radio's curse before she's forced to ride the ghost train forever.
All is not well in Chthonic City, Maine. People are anxious, sleepless. Road rage is on the rise, and the ERs overflow with domestic and workplace violence. Why? Because the citizens of Chthonic City are having recurring, terrifying nightmares about demons rising to walk among them, and they’re snapping.
In fact, demons ARE rising. Slowly. One at a time, to dwell unnoticed among us as they multiply our misery. And they’re rising in Chthonic City where the veil between the Chthonic (the Underworld for which the City was named, though the meaning of the word has been long forgotten) and earthly reality is very thin.
Demons cannot rise until a human soul is driven mad. Over the millennia, demons have crossed as they could, but never before has humanity been so stressed as it is now in the Western world. Never before have we been so starved for time, touch, meaning, purpose. Never have our circuits been so overloaded with gloom and doom, economically, environmentally, spiritually. Never before have the demons had such a vulnerable population. Scenting a chance to break free in numbers, they hurl themselves into our dreams, battering at our sanity.
But these demons are not unopposed. In a crumbling church on the edge of town, an ancient Guardian has been watching and waiting. When the threat from the Underworld surges, the Guardian's job is to send out a call to a fresh crop – a cell – of Gatekeepers, and train them to descend into the Chthonic through the dream state and do battle with the demons, slaying them there before they can cross the threshold.
In Chthonic City, a new cell of Gatekeepers – teenagers all – has just been summoned....