No escape. No place to hide. No safety in numbers.
"Think of the heart-racing chase of The Hunger Games, but a giant mall is your arena."
—Seventeen.com
 
When a strange device is discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall, the entire complex is suddenly locked down. No one can leave. No one knows what is going on.

At first, there's the novelty of being stuck in a mega mall with free food and a gift certificate. But with each passing day, it becomes harder to ignore the dwindling supplies, inadequate information, and mounting panic.

Then people start getting sick.

Told from the point of view of two guys and two girls, this is a harrowing look at what can happen under the worst of circumstances, when regular people are faced with impossible choices. Some rise to the occasion. Some don't.

And for some it's too late.

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It's Day 7 in the quarantined mall. The riot is over and the senator trapped inside is determined to end the chaos. Even with new rules, assigned jobs, and heightened security, she still needs to get the teen population under control. So she enlists Marco's help--allowing him to keep his stolen universal card key in exchange for spying on the very football players who are protecting him.

But someone is working against the new systems, targeting the teens, and putting the entire mall in even more danger. Lexi, Marco, Ryan, and Shay believe their new alliances are sound.

They are wrong. Who can be trusted? And who will be left to trust?

The virus was just the beginning.



READ A SNEAK PREVIEW OF NO EASY WAY OUT!
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Perfect for fans of Life As We Knew It and Michael Grant's Gone--this conclusion to the No Safety in Numbers trilogy will make your heart race, your palms sweat, and will leave you wondering exactly what you'd be willing to sacrifice in order to survive.

First--a bomb released a deadly flu virus and the entire mall was quarantined.

Next--the medical teams evacuated and the windows were boarded up just before the virus mutated.

Now--the power is out and the mall is thrown into darkness. Shay, Marco, Lexi, Ryan, and Ginger aren't the same people they were two weeks ago. Just like the virus, they've had to change in order to survive. And not all for the better. When no one can see your face, you can be anyone you want to be, and, when the doors finally open, they may not like what they've become.

If you think it's silly to be afraid of the dark, you're wrong. Very wrong.
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ABOUT DAYNA LORENTZ



Dayna Lorentz
Dayna Lorentz grew up in northeastern New Jersey surrounded by no less than four malls and though never literally trapped inside one, it sometimes felt that way nonetheless. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College and is the author of the Dogs of the Drowned City series, to be published by Scholastic in spring 2012. A former attorney, Dayna is now a full time writer and lives with her husband, daughter, dogs, and cat in Vermont.

Find out more at: www.daynalorentz.com

Read the author Q&A for exclusive behind the scenes material!

A. No Easy Way Out and No Safety in Numbers are disaster books and also science fiction -so what kind of research did you do to make sure the science was accurate? (I might rephrase this to be smoother, but you get the gist)

I should note that whenever the science didn't suit the purposes of the story, the science lost. That said, I did a ton of research to try to make sure that everything in the story is at least plausible.

For the majority my medical research, I relied on a very good friend who is a doctor and a lover of YA literature. In the beginning when I was figuring everything out, we had lots of morbid conversations like, "But would Ebola kill people too quickly?" and "The Black Plague is curable so it's not going to work, right?" I basically bounced every disease and toxin on the CDC's bioterrorism website off her and we weighed the pros and cons of using each to wreak havoc on the Shops at Stonecliff.

To better understand how people might respond to situations of outbreak and quarantine, I studied the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. I was blown away by my research into this incident. In school, I remember learning little to nothing about it, and yet more Americans died during this pandemic than were killed in combat in all of the wars of the 20th Century. The flu devastated whole towns in America, and led to the breakdown of normal social interaction-people wore masks, were forbidden to shake hands, and businesses and schools closed.

I also looked at how the government handled a more recent crisis, Hurricane Katrina, and tried to extrapolate what emergency management agencies learned from that quagmire and how they would improve or fail to improve their response.

When confronted with technical issues about which I had no knowledge, I used experts or researched things on my own. I took a self-defense class to learn about realistic physical attacks and defense. I watched a lot of episodes of Mythbusters to learn about weapons and what can be made into a weapon. My father designed card-key access security systems and closed-circuit surveillance systems in his former life, and he helped me figure out how those worked and could be made to not work. A good friend of mine is a serious gamer, and he helped me understand the worlds of online and console gaming.

B. What surprised you most (or scared you most) in your research of the flu?

Everything about the flu scares me. Maybe the first terrifying moment was when my medical expert friend told me, "Why do you need a bomb? Just have a sick person walk through the mall and cough on someone." This is all you need to cause a pandemic.

Second to that was how easy it would be to create a super deadly and infectious strain of the flu. Normally, a flu strain either has a high morbidity rate or a high rate of infection-it is rare for a flu to be both highly contagious and deadly. But it is not hard to engineer such a flu through a genetic shift by crossing species. In fact, all you need to do is infect a sick pig with an avian flu, or a sick bird with a swine flu, or a sick person with either and see what happens. Worse, a deadly flu can mutate into a deadly and contagious form simply through its transmission from one patient to the next, as was revealed by Dutch scientists last fall.

Next was discovering just how bad the symptoms of the flu can get. In researching what happened to people infected with the Spanish Flu, I was horrified to learn that some people died within twelve hours of showing symptoms. People suffered from raging fevers, delirium, and bleeding from the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth as their mucous membranes hemorrhaged and lungs filled with fluid. Because their extremities were deprived of oxygen, people's skin would develop dark spots, and their ears, fingers, and toes a bluish cast.

C. What changes to the text were necessarily in order for the science to work?

It was more that I bent the science to fit my story than that I changed my story to fit the text. For example, the Stonecliff flu has a very short incubation period, an unusually high mortality rate, and for younger people, a very short recovery period. This was necessary so that I could infect characters with the flu without knocking them out for the entire novel or trilogy. The story, however, was informed by the science. When an idea of mine failed to pass the "smell test"-is it completely rotten, a/k/a implausible?-with my experts, I rethought that plot point.
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