Publisher Description

If one touch can infect. . .

All Ruby Behl wants for her seventeenth birthday is a good career path match, and to kiss her best friend and long time crush, Wesley Fairchild. Unfortunately, the simplicity of teenage wishes evaporated a decade ago when the Tercera virus nearly wiped out the human race. Transmitted through touch, the slightest contact is prohibited in the safe haven community of Port Gibson. 

then a kiss is deadly. . .

An innocent game of Spin the Bottle, a rite of passage for Port Gibson's teens, provides the opportunity Ruby's been waiting for, but when Wesley winds up Marked, Ruby realizes her first kiss may also be her last. Ruby races the viral clock to uncover long buried secrets about her dead parents, and her once cloudy future becomes clear. She's the key to finding the cure, but is she willing to pay the price?


A teenager attempts to find a cure for a deadly, civilization-threatening virus in debut author Baker's dystopian YA series starter. 

Overall, Baker's prose is sharp and vivid, and she manages to immediately plunge her readers into the world of the novel. The story is swiftly paced and features some surprising twists and intriguing characters. The plot doesn't challenge the strict boundaries of the dystopian genre, but its combination of sci-fi, mystery, and teen romance still makes for a compelling adventure.

A promising YA debut about a girl's search for a future in the wreckage of the past.

Young Adult
October 16
Purple Puppy Publishing
Draft2Digital, LLC

Customer Reviews

Nic no K ,


Well written

kjlc2019 ,

YA struggles a decade into a pandemic

Wow! Just… wow! So to read this a bit of the way into a pandemic is probably better than reading it at the start of a pandemic. I think that made the read even better though, as it seems something that could actually happen. Our country could definitely dissolve into the state it is in in this series. Ruby is a teenager about to start her life as an adult in the sanitation industry. Not as in she will engineer sewage treatment plants or work on a garbage truck, but that she is part of the team doing the literal dirty work in her tiny settlement of Unmarked citizens. There aren’t too many healthy people left in the world. There is a strong division between the Unmarked, pure, uninfected citizens, and those who are the outcasted Marked individuals. Each sect has banded together. The Unmarked town where Ruby lives is still a functioning society with schooling and a government similar to what we are used to. The Marked is a wild, wild west of sorts, but run by perpetual preteens. The only way to survive the fatal illness is to take hormone suppressants to halt the growth of the children’s bodies. Otherwise you get three years, or less if the disease is accelerated. Can’t really say either life sounds too great. Ruby’s crush plays spin the bottle with their classmates and it lands on her. That kiss thoroughly wrecks her life. Looking forward to the second book to see where Ruby, Wesley, Sam, and all the rest end up. The first book was stuffed full of surprises, and not all of them great for these plucky teens and crumbled societies.

Stuckey mom ,

Wonderful story

This is a fabulous book. I’ve read it multiple times. I thoroughly enjoy the humor and watching the characters learn and grow.

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