Fiction Fest: Steve Westover’s ‘A Nothing Named Silas’ first up in September’s fiction excerpt series

A Nothing Named Silas_2x3Yeah, it’s Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean we don’t strive to bring you something good to read on this special holiday. Take Steve Westover’s “A Nothing Named Silas,” for example.

Publisher’s Weekly says this dystopian novel falls “somewhere between ‘The Hunger Games’ and Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem,’” which means it’s sure to appeal to Young Adult readers.

The book is Westover’s fifth novel.

The book won’t drop until Sept. 10, but you can pre-order it right now on,, and


In the distance, I can see the domed Shield shimmering over the plantation homes and shelters, and just in front of it, I can see my competition racing forward. I lower my shoulders and pump my arms as my feet speed along the path. The paddock grass and pebbles tear into my feet, but I couldn’t care less. I can feel the adrenaline thrill of imminent victory.

Gregg must sense me coming because he turns back to judge the distance between us. He’s almost to the shield but I’m close behind and moving up fast. Though I don’t want to run side by side, the nearness of the finish requires the risk. Racing from behind, I wait for the right moment and then I crank up my speed and blow past.

The finish line spans the opening of the Shield, and it’s within reach. My head lifts, and I puff out my chest as I prepare to claim victory. I hear the Shield buzz and I prepare to cross, but then I feel a nudge against my shoulder. My legs pump faster, and then I feel another push, this time into my back. I see the wall of the Shield directly in front of me as I’m pushed off course. My eyes widen as I slam into the Shield. Then, my world goes black.

My eyes open into a blur, and I can hear the muffled sound of Jeshua calling for me. Sweat mingles with the blood running down my face as I lie in a heap beside the Shield. I force my eyes open in time to see Gregg being congratulated as the victor. I wipe the blood from the corner of my lips and spit. Then, my head lowers back to the dirt and I close my eyes.

I failed in spectacular fashion, and all the Regents saw it. The draft is tomorrow, but now I have little reason to hope or care.