Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Switchback by Danika Stone! Stories of survival are ones that are always super intense. Keep reading to learn more about the book and read an excerpt.
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Ashton Hamid knows everything about gaming. His D&D battles are epic; the video game tournaments he organizes, multi-day tests of endurance with players around the world. Real life, however, is a different matter. So when he and his best friend—outspoken "A" student (and social outcast) Vale Shumway—head out on a camping trip to Waterton Lakes National Park with their Phys. Ed. class, Ash figures it’ll be two days of bug bites, bad food, and inside jokes.
Instead, the two friends find themselves in a fight for survival.
An unexpected October snowstorm separates Ash and Vale from the rest of their class. By the time the teens realize they’ve missed the trail, they have wandered deep into the Canadian Rockies. Lost in the wilderness and hunted by deadly predators, their only hope is to work together. But with Vale’s limited supplies and Ash’s inexperience, can the best friends stay alive long enough to find their way back to civilization?
Excerpt: Switchback by Danika Stone
The snowball fight near the top of the ridge stopped all progress. Ash lunged and dashed, evading Vale’s increasingly-accurate volleys. Gusty winds blew snow back toward him, blinding Ash as he danced out of her way. At the top of the ridge, a C-shaped cornice of snow hung—a frozen wave—blocking their way. Below it, the wet, slushy snow near the top made every foothold difficult, and now that they were out of the trees, there were no hand holds to catch himself when he fell.
Ash scooped up a handful of snow and lobbed it back over his shoulder at Vale. “Stay sharp, Shumway!”
She laughed as the snowball thudded into the snow at her feet. “Missed me! Better work on your aim.”
“You moved! My aim’s as good as—”
A snowball smacked Ash’s face, dusting his eyebrows white. Laughing, he clambered away for Vale, loping horizontally along the slope rather than going straight up.
“Wait for me!” Vale called.
He glanced back over his shoulder. She had fallen behind him in the last few seconds. They were separated by twenty feet or more, a line of footsteps linking the two of them like a chain. Ash’s feet slowed. “All right, but—” A snowball smacked him in the leg. “Oh, you sneaky bastard!”
“Get ready!” she laughed. “Secondary attack starts… NOW!”
Another snowball followed the first and Ash pushed himself into a half-jog, whooping and laughing. “I’m outta here.”
“Slow down!” Vale yelled. “You can’t ditch me!”
“There are no rules in a—” A white projectile appeared in his peripheral vision and he dodged it last second. “—snowball fight!” He picked up another handful, tossing it back. “Cheater!”
“Ash, come ON! That’s not FAIR!”
Ash took a few steps up the snowy drift, slid, and fell. Another snowball hit his shoulder. Laughing, he lobbed one back in return. The snow was up to his knees now, growing deeper with each step. The drift over the rock was a treacherous combination. He got four steps, then slipped again, jarring his knees as he went down. He tried again and again. Each time he fell, he caught himself, until his hands were numbed from the cold.
“Seriously!” Vale called. “I really can’t keep up!”
Ash glanced back to discover Vale was nearly at his side. “Liar!” He laughed. Another ball hit him in the back, spraying up his neck. “You’re fricking lethal, Vale!” He palmed a handful of snow and threw it in a high arc that swung up for a long moment, then came down on her head.
Hoots followed his words. “Oh I’m gonna get you for that!” Vale grabbed a handful of compacted snow and pulled one leg back, aimed, and released.
With a shriek, Ash jumped to avoid the snowball. His feet hit a crust of snow—causing the surface to shift—at the same time as his voice boomed outward. “NO!” The sound echoed up the slope like a drum, only it didn’t fade away. It grew louder.
Both Ash and Vale turned in shock as above them, a slab of snow the size of a car cracked away from the overhang and began to slide towards them.
“Avalanche!” Vale screamed. “Run!”
They were on an open slope. There were no trees. The snow slide was almost entirely above them. A single thought shot through Ash’s mind.
We’re going to die when that hits us.