EDITED: This hunt has ended! Thanks for playing!
Today kicks off the Spring 2019 YA Scavenger Hunt, and there are tons of great prizes to be won. You decide how much effort to put into it, but the rewards will definitely be commensurate with the time you spend visiting various sites and gathering clues.
BONUS! I’ve got an extra giveaway you can enter to win a copy of Honor Bound! Use the rafflecopter at the bottom of this post to enter.
There are five teams: RED, BLUE, GREEN, GOLD, & PURPLE.
I’m on the GREEN team this time around.
If at any point, you get stuck, check out the How to Hunt page for help.
At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team!
But play fast: this contest will only be online for 5 days!
There are seven contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! Either way, it’s up to you. Pretty exciting stuff, right?
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN TEAM and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday April 7th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
I have the pleasure of hosting the talented Sean Williams. Let’s get to know him better before I show you the good stuff, okay?
About Sean, in his own words:
Sean Williams is an award-winning, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of over fifty books and one hundred stories who lives just up the road from Australia’s finest chocolate factory. IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC is his first mainstream novel.
About IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC:
Music is Simon’s life—so he is devastated when a stroke destroys his ability to hear. He resists attempts to help him adjust, refusing to be counseled, refusing to learn sign language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own experience of hearing loss.
Simon embarks on a quest to create an epic concert, the likes of which no one has ever heard—or ever will: the music will be silent, received the same by the hearing and the Deaf. Simon’s single-minded pursuit of his mission, however, sends him and his burgeoning romance with G careening off course—but if getting his life back on course requires a complete reassessment of his relationship to the hearing world, and to the music he loves so much, is he even willing to try?
Now, here’s Sean:
I’m super excited to be part of YASH this year. My latest novel is a deeply personal one about the terrible fear of losing the thing you love most – the thing that defines you, even. In Simon’s case it’s music. For me it was writing. Thankfully, we both found a way through the dark and lonely forest. There are paths, even if they’re not always easy to see.
Impossible Music comes out in July. You can win advance copies through YASH or by following this link. Good luck, and rock on!
“Diva Hammer” – excerpt from Impossible Music
Her name isn’t really G. It’s George. Not Georgie or Georgina – she made that very clear in our first class together, three weeks after I lost my hearing – but no one Deaf cares about those extra syllables, or the name her parents gave her, for that matter. They’re just mouth shapes. She, like the rest of us, needed a new name, one given by someone from the community they told us we now belonged to.
Her Deaf name comes from the Auslan sign for the letter G – right fist on top of left fist – with an added circular twist evoking her love of caffeine (it looks a bit like someone strangling a chicken). For a while she signed off her messages as George-who-loves-coffee, while she got used to the idea.
Deaf names are given, but they’re not always wanted.
That was how we first got to know each other, via Messenger. It was too hard to talk in Deaf Class, concentrating as we were on reluctantly learning the bare minimum to get by. Hello. How much? Help! If we were paired together to practice what we learned that day, she made it clear she was as unwilling a participant as me. Her hands hung at her sides until she was forced to speak. When she did, her signs would be cursory and hard to read, or so exaggerated when I failed to understand her that they became almost aggressive, chopping and wrenching at the air. I thought her issue was with me, something I had unknowingly done. After all, it couldn’t have been anything I said. Only later, when a message from George-who-loves-coffee arrived out of the blue, did I realise that she wasn’t angry at me. Just at being unable to hear.
Still, I was cautious. Perhaps too cautious. Over two months into the online conversation, she asked if I’d like to go see a roller derby bout with her. I wasn’t sure if it was a date and was too nervous to ask straight up, but I said yes, from loneliness and at least partly out of interest.
It was impossible not to be curious. Her fringe was pink back then, bright and in-your-face, not at all like she smells. She wore straightforward black tights and untucked white shirts, occasionally black jeans and suspenders, if she was meeting friends afterwards. (That stopped pretty quickly. Maintaining hearing friendships is hard work for both sides.) On the inside of her right forearm is a tattoo of a skull. Later, beneath it, she would add the word Deaf in bold Gothic script, daring people to think it a typo. Her square face and broad jaw with a surprisingly small mouth makes her look at times like a young Helena Bonham Carter – not my type at all, I would once have said. I always went for skinny girls in tight jeans, the kind who thought being with a too-tall, long-haired guitarist was a good look. G is nothing like them. Her ears have never once been pierced, an idiosyncrasy she maintains as though it’s some kind of revolutionary distinction. Me, I have enough metal in my ears for both of us.
When you’re talking in sign, you’re supposed to focus on someone’s face rather than what the rest of them is doing, but that’s hard for beginners. On those few occasions our Auslan teacher did manage to coax us into hesitant conversation (Is there a bus stop near here? I really want to know. Why is this so difficult?), I found myself staring at her hands rather than what she was saying. (No. So? Because!) Her fingers were short and tapering, her nails tidy and unpolished, her palms surprisingly narrow with wrists to match. The scars on her wrists were what I couldn’t take my eyes off, once I noticed them. Waxy and lumpy, like a wrestler’s ear, they weren’t the work of a cutter – too public, too thick – and they didn’t look like a suicide attempt, either. They were so thick she would’ve bled out in seconds. I was curious to know their origins but never got around to finding the right way to ask, and she didn’t volunteer anything, at first.
Instead, over Messenger, we chatted about usual stuff. Our families (struggling to deal with our new way of being), the shitty lag of closed-captioning on TV (no one likes being last in the room to get the joke), what we were thinking about taking at university next year. She had applied to study social work, while I had intended to pursue a degree in music performance at Adelaide Uni. I was still playing guitar solos at night while everyone slept, and playing well, inasmuch as I could tell, but the question of whether I would be allowed to study music at all was still horribly open. Nowhere in the fine print did the uni say that hearing was a prerequisite, but it had to be, surely?
Small talk, in other words, albeit revealing. I was pleased I hadn’t done anything specific to piss G off but understood that it remained a possibility. She was prickly, ending conversations without warning or making sharp remarks that I wasn’t entirely sure were entirely jokes.
I didn’t learn the source of her enigmatic scars until the roller derby maybe-date, the first time we used our phones to talk to each other face-to-face. (Sign language gave me a headache when I stuck at it too long, plus we were aware of whole vocabularies we hadn’t learned yet. The only thing we’d become truly proficient at was swearing.) I wore a T-shirt of a band called the Ubiquitous Pig, and Stanley, their starred-and-striped mascot, looked right at home next to G’s animated rockabilly look. She had dyed her hair purple and wore sky-blue lipstick.
Here’s our first proper conversation, transcribed by my phone’s voice recognition system and saved for posterity. I’ve added punctuation and fixed typos because the raw file is all this is cheating why we have the technology that doesn’t mean its right, and no one wants to read that.
She asked, You ever seen a bout before?
Heaps. My team’s on tonight. We were junior champs three years in a row.
Hell yes. I was the jammer.
Simon, Simon, Simon. Tell me, why did I bring you again?
So you can show off, I’m guessing. Which team was yours?
The Doom Kitteh Brawlers.
Wow, my phone did not like that.
Wait until it hears my derby name: Arya Ghostclown.
AKA the Diva Hammer.
That’s LOL without the OL.
See my face? That’s LOL without the OL or the L.
I bet you were a mean skater.
The meanest and the best.
Can you still do it since you-know-what?
Sure, but I fell last year and broke my wrists. Had to have reconstructive surgery. You noticed the scars, right? Everyone does.
Yes. And ouch.
The pain was the easy part. Imagine trying to wipe your bum with both hands in plaster.
Wait till I start flirting.
Anyway, my hands are okay now, and I’ve still got my strength. Could skate if I wanted to. Totally. Be like getting on a bike – but if I ever fall on my hands again, how do I talk? What happens when our voices change? I don’t think Siri has a language setting for deaf as fuck.
Doesn’t matter what your voice sounds like to me. It’s the best voice I never heard.
Now who’s flirting?
I was a bit, but mainly I was trying to change the subject. I knew all about the ‘Deaf Voice’. My sister, Maeve, loved to tell me when I was talking too quietly or too loudly, and that wasn’t the worst of it. People who can’t hear themselves talk steadily lose all the subtlety of intonation that hearing people are used to. One day, I knew, my voice would be flat and monotonous, perhaps even unpleasantly robotic to listen to, and that worried me more than I liked to admit. I could only avoid it by using my guitar tuner to check my pitch – and Maeve would get a real kick out of that.
The skate derby provided a welcome distraction on a highly visceral level. I could feel the crowd like a herd of wild creatures stampeding all around me. I kept my hands flat on the chair beside my thighs, relishing the vibrations of the skaters as they went by, the crunch of collisions between flesh and bone and the thud of impacts on the track. Maybe I was fooling myself, but it seemed as though I could actually differentiate each class of sound. It was like being at a gig, searching for the lead and vocals through the mud of bass and drums. Searching and failing, usually.
The Doom Kitteh Brawlers won decisively and bloodily, with the majority of injuries accrued by the opposing team. G stood and clapped like a hearing person, and her mouth opened and closed in what I assumed were shouts of delight and encouragement. No one could tell that she was different. I could see why she liked that.
On the way back to my car, she asked me, So what do you do for kicks when you’re not watching girls in skates beat each other up?
Play guitar, I told her.
But you can’t hear it.
So? I still like to play. Not being able to hear didn’t stop Beethoven playing the piano.
You think you’re as good as Beethoven?
Maybe just as pig-headed. If he didn’t give up, why should I?
G laughed with her eyes and her lips like I’d never seen her laugh before. She was beautiful in an entirely new way, and I was glad when she put her phone in her pocket in order to take my hand. I smiled at her as we walked through a tunnel of silence, feeling genuinely happy for the first time in a long while. We’d spent the night cheating on Auslan by using dictation apps, but this was real. This was real communication.
Don’t stop playing! To continue hunting for clues and reading more exciting, exclusive content, click over to A.M. Rose’s site. I know she has some delicious goodies waiting. Somewhere on the hunt, you can find *my* exclusive content.
Finally, this post has been sponsored by the number 88. (Psst. This is an important clue. Remember it!)