Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?
Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: "When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls." And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.
In SUSY Asylum, there is no release. There is no escape. No hope.
Oliver and Desiree are introduced to the writings of a mysterious blogger, Commodore Chaos, when they return to Provex City to indulge in what the sublime city has to offer. The blogger claims the Lornes are collecting people venturing between the higher planes of awareness and locking them away in a mythical asylum. But are these legitimate concerns for inter-plane travelers or just the ramblings of an anonymous conspiracy blogger?
Oliver looks to Provex City as his only connection to his father while Desiree looks to the city as an escape from the torment of losing her best friend—again. Provex City is a wonder of beautiful treasures, entrancing them to continue returning. But behind the beauty, wolves have continued hunting Oliver, a boy who is still unaware of his importance in the rebellion.
Oliver’s belief is waning. Desiree will not always be by his side. Mr. Gordon will not always come to his aid. Oliver finds himself alone, forced to confront his biggest fears, fight his inner demons, and face the very cold reality that no one is coming to save him.
Welcome to SUSY Asylum.
SUSY Asylum Playlist
Music is a big part of my writing process. I love creating playlists, or soundtracks to my books to help me find the tone and to bring out the feeling in particular scenes. These are the songs that helped me create SUSY Asylum. ***I tried to include as few spoilers as possible, but the playlist spans the entire book and many of the songs accompany certain scenes in the book.***
Codex, by Radiohead
This song was chosen for the original preface, with Desiree standing atop Lorne Tower and jumping off. I think it still works with the prologue that made the book, with the asylum escape attempt. What I see now with this song is the two scenes in slow motion, flashing back and forth, finishing with two seemingly hopeless situations.
White Lies, by RX Bandits
This song goes with the scene at the end of chapter one where Oliver and Anna are sitting in Oliver’s backyard, when they say they love each other for the first—and only—time.
Tomorrow Tomorrow, by Elliott Smith
This is the song Desiree and TJ are listening to in the first flashback, when they’re going over lines for Almost, Maine and share their first kiss. “They took your life apart / And called you failure’s art / They were wrong though / They won’t know 'til tomorrow.”
The High Road, by Broken Bells
This song doesn’t go with any specific scene, but I feel like the tone fits well with the book and with what Oliver’s feeling early on when he feels like he’s lost all his friends. “’Cause they know and so do I / The high road is hard to find / A detour in your new life / Tell all of your friends goodbye.”
We Are Young, by Fun
This song was chosen for when Oliver, Desiree, and Darius are enjoying themselves at the Provex City Fair.
Morning After Dark, by Timbaland
I think this song fits really well for when Oliver and Desiree are being lead into the club, Le7el, and up to their VIP platform.
Till the World Ends, by Brittney Spears
This may seem like a strange choice, but I love this song and think it fits well with Oliver and Desiree’s escape from Le7el. The teenagers running through the club. The music blaring. The lightning and strobe lights flashing. Oliver leaving a trail of blood as they frantically search for the exit. I think it works.
Hospital, by The Used
This song lends its beat to another chase scene—when Oliver, Eli, and Anna are being chased through the hospital. They’re caught one by one, and Oliver falls—literally—into Dr. Alexandria Lorne’s office. “You're hiding in your safe place / Hiding with your eyes shut tightly / All the way to the hospital.” Game over.
Reckoner, by Radiohead
This is a song that perfectly represents Oliver’s time in the asylum. The music is loud and chaotic, with Thom Yorke’s melody oddly ethereal. Oliver must find his peace and focus in the insanity of the asylum if he ever hopes to escape. he must find his ethereal melody amidst all the noise.
The Humbling River, by Puscifer
This song accompanies Oliver’s transition into the asymmetric plane, having to nearly drown in the river (forced to face his phobia head-on), with the faith that he will be pulled out in time. “Open your heart and hands my son or you’ll never make it over the river.” “The hands of the many must join as one and together we’ll cross the river.” Oliver goes in and Nero pulls him out—and together they cross the river.
Save Yourself, I’ll Hold them Back, by My Chemical Romance
This song plays when Oliver wakes in the asymmetric plane, not the Hell he was expecting, but unsettling nonetheless. “We can leave this world, leave it all behind / We can steal this car if your folks don't mind / We can live forever if you've got the time.”
Satellite Mind, by Metric
While Oliver is held captive by Nero, I heard this song while he tries to communicate telepathically with Desiree. “I send vibrations in your direction / Through the satellite mind.”
Chain, by The Fire Theft
This is the theme song for Oliver breaking his chains and conquering Nero; a powerful and positive song. “I’m amazed / Within the darkness a solution / We’ll never give in.”
Heavy in Your Arms, by Florence + the Machine
I heard this song for when Oliver saves Desiree. Originally, I pictured Oliver carrying her home. It didn’t end up happening that way, but the sing still fits and feels right.
Twilight, by Elliott Smith
This is one of my all-time favorite songs—so sad and powerful. This is the song TJ listens to in his final moments. “Because you candle burns too bright / Well, I almost forgot it was twilight.”
Kiss You Goodbye, by The Used
This song goes with one of the last scenes in the book with Oliver, Mr. Gordon, Desiree, and Jeremy. Oliver can’t go home because he unknowingly fused with his mirror and everything is about to change. Oliver has to say goodbye to the life he knew—what was safe and comfortable—and ready himself to meet his father.
The Catalyst, by Linkin Park
There are two catalysts at the end of this book. The first is Oliver fusing with his mirror, which doesn’t allow him to go home, so he can only go forward...to find his father. The second, is the first of four earthquakes, which leads us immediately into Book 3. “Lift me up / Let me go / Lift me up / Let me go.”
About Michael Pierce:
I believe in a future where I will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter & Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful baby girl.
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