Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.
sharp, sarcastic tone of hers. Honey Lady flipped her long, flowing hair and, ignoring her, guided me across the lobby to a short hallway. “Emergency stairs are there.” She pointed to a closed door. “Here’s the elevator. You’re already programmed into it.” Programmed into an elevator? That was new. Honey Lady pushed a button, and the doors slid open for us to step inside. The elevator had no floor buttons. “Say your full name, loud and clear,” she said. “Matthew Dunston.” The elevator
closely at the numbers, adding them up quickly in my head. “In fact, look at this. It’s worse, much worse. Even if we didn’t order a single item online—including food—we don’t make enough to cover the cost of living on the top floor.” “Shoot,” said Jeffery. “So I don’t really need to waste time buying all those expensive electronics?” “Whoa. You mean after busting my butt here for three months, I’ve done nothing but improve my paddle-wall-ball skills and drain money from my family’s account?”
her cry. As I reached for another chair, four huge hands grabbed my upper arms. Gorilla Man and the goatee guard had ambushed me from behind. I kicked and twisted, even though I knew from experience that fighting back was pointless. A sharp prick in my hip took me by surprise. The room turned in circles around me, and everything got fuzzy. The one clear thing I saw before the blackness overwhelmed me was fingers with long, white nails. They closed the laptop and picked it up. CLICK! CLICK!
the big bucks on this floor, didn’t you? And now you stuck me here. Hmm, wonder what that means.” Her eyes went wild. I braced myself for the feel of her nails scraping down the sides of my face. They didn’t come, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. “You will not speak to me in that tone. I am the head of this workhouse. It will be run in the manner I think best. Workhouse residents will do as I say. Do you have any idea the chaos you’ve created on the top floor?” I pushed my back up against
the wall behind me. I’d never seen this side of Honey Lady before: a furious, on-the-brink-of-losing-control woman. “How dare you upset those other children like that!” How dare I? Who did she think she was? Let the fingernail scraping come. I didn’t even care. “Oh, no. We can’t have upset Top Floors, now, can we.” Sarcasm gushed from me like water from the end of a hose. “If we upset the Top Floors, they’re not going to be able to concentrate on their work. They’re not going to be able to make