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Kalahari

Cover of Kalahari

Kalahari

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Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret...
But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own?

When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It's up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.

But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she's ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion's silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.

In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.
Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret...
But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own?

When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It's up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.

But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she's ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion's silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.

In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.3
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2015 Jessica Khoury



    O N E


    The lions were napping on the runway again.

    I held up a hand against the blazing African sun and stared at the small silver plane that was just minutes away from touching down. I'd have to move the pride before it landed.

    "Theo!" I called. The Bushman was sitting on the hood of the Land Cruiser, and when he looked my way, I pointed at the three lionesses and two cubs sunning themselves on the hard-packed sand. Laughing, he leaned backward and honked the horn of the truck, his way of saying we'd have to chase them off. I nodded and ran back to the Cruiser, tossing my folder of papers in the backseat.

    In a moment, I had the engine roaring and we were off, rattling down the runway toward the sleeping lions. They yawned and chuffed at me in a lazy attempt to scare me off, but I bore down on them. I recognized the pride; the lionesses were sisters, used to us rambling around the bush. They barely opened their eyes as the truck trundled up to them.

    I stopped the Cruiser, leaving the engine running, and climbed onto the hood. From there, I shouted and waved my arms, to the amusement of the cubs, who rolled and yowled and stretched. At last, their mothers lifted themselves up huffily and ambled off the runway. They were soon lost in the waving golden grass, their tawny coats blending into the dry savanna. Just the black tips of their tails showed, flickering slyly above the foliage, and then those too vanished.

    I drove the truck back to the other end of the runway and parked it, then grabbed my folder out of the backseat. The plane was dropping lower in the sky, lining up with the runway.

    Theo glanced at me sidelong. He was part Bushman, with the lovely golden skin characteristic of his nomadic ancestors, and though he was older than my father, he was no taller than I was. He had found a praying mantis somewhere, and the insect was crawling over his hands, from one to the other. As soon as it crawled onto one hand, he lifted the other and placed it in front, so that the mantis was continually crawling forward but getting nowhere. Theo could charm any creature that walked, crawled, flew, or slithered.

    "You look like you got a toothache, girl," he said.

    "Two weeks," I murmured, my eyes still on the plane. "What are we going to do with five teenagers from the city for two weeks?"

    "You're a teenager." He grinned, taking far too much delight in my dismay. "I am sure you will have a grand time."

    "Yeah. A grand old time." I sank lower in my seat and flipped open the folder, riffling through the documents inside. "I went to school for three months in the States once, did you know that? The kids in my class called me Mowgli and threw bananas at me during lunch."

    "What is the problem? At the end of the day, it was you who ended up with all the bananas." Theo turned in his seat, and though he was still smiling, his dark eyes were serious. "Tu!um-sa, it will be good for you. You cannot live your whole life with only animals for friends."

    "I can try." I sighed and shut the folder. "Here they come."

    The plane touched down in a cloud of dust, its silver sides reflecting golden grass and blue sky. It taxied down the short length and then turned, the propeller whipping up a whirlwind of sand. Theo and I got out of the truck and walked toward the plane, and I held my scarf over my mouth and nose to keep from breathing in the dust.

    After the engine died and the propeller wound down, the pilot ran around the front of the plane and opened the passenger door. I drew a deep breath and...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 15, 2014
    Khoury follows Origin and Vitro with another exciting novel of teens battling corporate evil in a far-flung setting. Sarah has grown up far from civilization, the daughter of field biologists, intelligent but ignorant of the outside world. She’s also still grieving her mother’s recent, supposedly accidental death. After Sarah’s father hastily leaves their Kalahari Desert camp to trail poachers and fails to return, she finds herself in charge of five ill-sorted American and Canadian teens from a conservation exchange program. When a mysterious silver lion suddenly appears, “as metallic and gleaming as mercury,” and the poachers turn out to be hired guns working for an illegal genetic research laboratory, Sarah and her greenhorn companions make a dangerous cross-country trek to escape. Khoury’s favorite story elements are all on display, including the talented but isolated heroine, evil corporate scientists, and a wilderness setting. Sarah is a believable heroine and the Kalahari a fascinating environment, though the teens’ encounters with dangerous animals come a bit too regularly. Still, it’s an enjoyable biological thriller that will appeal to Khoury’s existing readership. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Kalahari
Jessica Khoury
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