Dark Parts of the Universe (Hardcover)

Dark Parts of the Universe By Samuel Miller Cover Image
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Outer Banks meets Bone Gap in New York Times bestselling author Samuel Miller’s propulsive and genre-bending YA mystery, following a group of teenagers who discover a dead body while playing an app-based adventure game that sends players to “random” locations, unlocking a much deeper mystery about their small town. 

In Calico Springs, Willie’s life has been defined by two powerful forces: God and the river. The “miracle boy” died for five minutes as a young child, and ever since, Willie is certain he survived for a reason, but that purpose didn’t become clear until he found the Game.

The Game is called Manifest Atlas, and the concept is simple: enter an intention and the Game provides a target—a blinking blue dot on the map. Willie’s second time playing Manifest Atlas, his intention takes him to an ominous target: three empty graves. Willie is sure the Game is telling him he’s going to die.

Willie’s older brother, Bones, doesn’t believe him, but their friends are intrigued. Sarai, a girl from across the river, sets the next intention: something bloody. The group follows the Game’s coordinates and they discover something even more unsettling than the graves: a dead body. Sarai’s stepfather’s body. The Game is suddenly personal.

Willie is dedicated to proving the Game works while Sarai is set on finding out what happened to her stepdad. Bones just wants to enjoy his last summer before real life begins. As the group digs deeper into Manifest Atlas, stranger and wilder things begin to appear, unlocking a much deeper mystery running like an undercurrent through the small town. 

About the Author

Samuel Miller is a novelist and screenwriter, made in South Dakota, based in Los Angeles. His most recent novel, Redemption Prep, was a New York Times and Indie bestseller and is in development for television with MGM. His debut, A Lite Too Bright, released to critical acclaim and has been translated into four languages and published in eight countries. Sam wrote his first novel in a fifteen-passenger van while touring with his alt-rock band, Paradise Fears. In addition to writing novels he coaches Little League Baseball, walks his dog, and works to dismantle capitalist systems of power. You can find him at samuelmillerbooks.com.

Praise For…

Dark Parts of the Universe serves as a terrifying mystery while examining an important history. Masterfully done!”  — Nick Brooks, author of Promise Boys

A raw and daring portrait of Middle America, Dark Parts of the Universe defies categorization. Part tech thriller, part small-town mystery, Miller explores the complexities of family secrets, and what happens when the unshakeable foundation of brotherhood begins to shake, without ever shying away from the beating heart of the story: the reckoning of one town’s racist past (and present), through the eyes of a boy reckoning with his own complicity. Propulsive and genre-bending, I couldn’t put it down. — David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland

“Evocative exploration of the suffocation of small town life, where a dark past controls present chaos.” — Mindy McGinnis, award-winning author of Heroine

“The page-turning suspense is a draw, but the book’s ultimate strength is its skillful exploration of racial injustice in rural America. A multifaceted thriller with a powerful social message.”  — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In the richly detailed plot, Miller deftly captures the claustrophobic nature of small-town residents locked into what they believe is the way things should be.” — Booklist (starred review)

Praise for Redemption Prep: "The moody atmosphere, the science/religion dichotomy, and the constant cliff-hangers will keep readers hooked till the shocking finale."  — Booklist

"Readers looking for a unique take on the isolated-house mystery, with a bizarre setting and a cast of unstable characters, will enjoy losing themselves in this strange yet compelling tale of drugs, power, and the future of the human race."  — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A tense and atmospheric thriller with a truly surprising twist. I can’t wait to see what Samuel Miller does next!”  — Kara Thomas, award-winning author of The Cheerleaders

“Clever, drama-filled, and mind-blowing. My mind is still reeling from the twists and turns, and I loved every second of it.”  — Sasha Alsberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

“Eerie, atmospheric, and smart as a whip, Redemption Prep kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.”  — Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes series

Praise for A Lite Too Bright: “What a compelling journey this is—and what an accomplished debut too. Beautifully conceived and executed, it has an irresistible premise; an ingenious plot tinged with mystery; compelling, multidimensional characters; and a haunting ethos that will linger in readers’ minds long after they have finished.”  — ALA Booklist (starred review)

“Jumping from clue to clue and train to train across the country, Arthur stumbles upon extraordinary discoveries, from long-lost family members to secret societies. This fresh incarnation of the great American road trip novel is bursting with big ideas, enigmas, poetry, and flashes of humor.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Charmingly written, this debut novel introduces rounded characters and an engaging mystery. Wonderfully mirroring the disjointed feelings and thoughts of young Arthur and those who have dementia, this literary piece has a satisfying conclusion. A highly recommended purchase for fans of literary and realistic fiction centered around family.”  — School Library Journal (starred review)

“Miller’s debut novel weaves together several other larger-than-life literary figures and events, including gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the beat generation, and the Kent State shootings, creating a love letter to social justice and American literature.”  — Publishers Weekly

“Debut author Miller peppers his well-paced chapters with the poetry of ALP the First. This earnest homage to writers, rebels, and the evergreen ideals of youth will appeal to devotees of John Green and Gayle Forman.”  — The Horn Book

“Arthur’s coming-of-age journey communicates that today’s young rebels’ most important cause may be their own mental health.”  — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063160484
ISBN-10: 006316048X
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English