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Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen is a Trick or Treat Bonanza pick #yalit #dystopian #giveaway

Title: Altered Helix

Author: Stephanie Hansen

Genre: YA Dystopian Romance

Book Blurb:

I wanted to do something daring and different. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my loyal best friend, Tiff, and work at the bone-chilling Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exhilarating thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria's life takes unpredictable and thrilling turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.


I open the box of my father’s belongings like a child opening a gift. A pair of old sneakers is on top with some team jersey below. Underneath that I find a leather-bound folder with papers inside. There are drawings worth showcasing—complex, detailed, and beautiful depictions of everyday life. When I approach a group called BOURGMONT BUILDING, I feel triumphant because this is the haunted house building, until I flip to the drawings. For some reason, the picture my mother had been holding jumps into my mind before I turn the page. Stairs bathed in shadow seem to breathe, empty hallways feel claustrophobic, and chandeliers sway in an unseen breeze. When the water from the shower downstairs stops, I drop the folder and its contents back into the box. I quickly return everything to its place, pull the light switch, and descend the stairs. Mother walks down the hallway just as I’m closing the attic door.

“Austria, what were you doing up there, darling?” she asks me as she dries her long, dark hair with a towel. I remember them telling me about the debate over my name. My mother’s piano is an Austria. My father loved sports and knew the Olympics would take place in Austria during my lifetime. It was a meeting of the minds. It seemed the perfect combination to reflect their love for one another, which formed me.

“Oh, just thought I might find something I could use for the haunted house,” I say as I follow her to the kitchen. I should’ve grabbed something up there to support this statement, but she hasn’t seemed to catch on to the missing item. The mere mention of my job appears to jumble her. Still I clasp my hands together so they don’t feel empty.

“Ah, that would be exciting, to provide something for the haunting. Austria, I know you like the thought of this job, but are you sure you don’t want to go to college?” my mother asks me while she chews on her lower lip, a telltale sign that she’s never picked up on. My mother shouldn’t play poker.

I grab an orange from the fruit bowl at the center of the table and dig into the skin with my fingernail; the citrus smell overpowering the tension in the room. Lately, it seems like we’re constantly at battle. She’s forever handing me college brochures that I try to ignore. She’s always mentioning how much college can help my career. College is also an expectation from my private schooling. I’m just not ready. I don’t know what I want to be for the rest of my life yet. I take a bite of my orange, and the tang’s almost too much for my empty stomach to handle.

Since I moved in with Tiff a couple months ago, my mother’s chances of talking me into college have dwindled. I still come to the house every Saturday night, stay over, and spend Sunday with her. It’s the only ritual we’ve remained loyal to since my moving out. It’s what my father would’ve insisted upon, had he not died. The house has become awkward without him. Even though she tries to hide it from me, my mother’s been heartbroken. Since I graduated early and moved in with Tiff, she’s been able to become a travelling pianist, which had been her dream until she became pregnant with me at the age nineteen, and she and my father married. He would’ve supported her living her dream, but she couldn’t fathom being away from me. She still can’t; that’s why I had to leave, so she could finally be set free. The door to her soundproof music room finally opens, melodic meditation floating in the air.

An announcement on the television interrupts my train of thought, “Adam Sheffield has done it again. He’s reclaimed another old building, one by one turning economically depressed areas into trendy, upbeat attractions. If he keeps this up, he’ll do to Kansas City what he’s done before in many other cities.” As the reporter talks, I think of all the history this Adam guy’s removing from our city and all of the ways he finds to do it. Since the dissolution of our national government, there have been many changes. States have tried to take over, and Adam Sheffield is one of their key players. My mother’s staring at me when the report stops.

“Hello, Earth to Austria, we were discussing the possibility of college. I’m just trying to look out for you.”

“We’ve discussed this. I just don’t know what I want to do in life. Do you want me to spend money on the wrong education?”

She begins nervously tearing the corner off of the poster. “I understand, but why the haunted house? I know Tiff works there, but don’t other things interest you?”

“I feel like at the haunted house I’m able to step outside of my comfort zone and see what’s out there. Maybe I can even write a script for one of the scenes. Why do you not like the idea of me working there so much?”

“You don’t know what has taken place in that building. When your father and I lived there, he experienced more than strong perceptions, almost telepathy in its truest form, but he couldn’t figure out what was speaking to him.”

Just then, there’s a honk outside. Tiff and Bill are picking me up today so we can move some things we need out of storage to the building. I give my mother a kiss on the cheek.

“Everything’s going to be fine,” I attempt to assure her.

She hugs me tightly before I leave.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?

Rhaenyra Targaryen

Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:

With a haunted house setting, Altered Helix is a perfect read for October.

“With captivating characters, a titillating plot, and budding romance, the Altered Helix is much more than just another young adult piece of fiction. The tale leaves the reader cheering for Austria and Josh as they navigate the messy world around them. There is less emphasis on the larger picture around them but the last few pages set up the plot nicely for the next book in the series.” ~AliReads

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs October 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on November 1.

Author Biography:

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft and Global Book Award Winning Author as well as an Imadjinn finalist. Her debut novella series, Altered Helix, released in 2020. It hit the #1 New Release, #1 Best Seller, and other top 100 lists on Amazon. It is now being adapted to an animated story for Tales. Her debut novel, Replaced Parts, released in 2021 through Fire & Ice YA and Tantor Audio. It has been in a Forbes article, hit Amazon bestseller lists, and made the Apple young adult coming soon bestsellers list. The second book in the Transformed Nexus series, Omitted Pieces, releases in 2022. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community, so she tries to incorporate that into her fiction.

Social Media Links:


Oct 06, 2023

I’m not sure if Ill dress up I don’t usually


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Oct 04, 2023

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your book in our Trick or Treat Book Bonanza!

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