December 11, 2013 at 03:30 PM EST

The final installment of The Forsaken trilogy won’t hit shelves until July 8, 2014, but you can read an exclusive excerpt of The Defiant today! This series has been one of my under-the-radar YA favorites, and I can’t wait to read the sure-to-be-epic conclusion. Author Lisa M. Stasse emailed us a few thoughts about the cover and book: “Lizzy Bromley designed the covers for The Forsaken and The Uprising as well. I am totally in love with her work. It’s so unusual, eye-catching, and futuristic,” she said. “The cover for The Defiant has a lot of secret meanings hidden in it—including the color choices, and the two figures on the front. This is the last book in the trilogy, so all the mysteries get answered, but at the same time, there are some new twists and surprises. The characters have to decide what sides they must take, even if it goes against their instincts.”

First read the official description for The Defiant, and then check out the excerpt below: “After getting sent to the wheel for potentially violent tendencies, Alenna Shawcross fought for her life and found her place in a tribe of people all determined to bring down the system that sent them to their eventual death. Now Alenna has to go back to the home she was ripped from and attempt to bring it down from the inside. But as much as Alenna has changed since she’s been gone, so has the UNA. They have new weapons and are just as determined to maintain order as the rebels are to destroy it. But freedom is all that matters and Alenna and her friends will stop at nothing to get theirs back.”

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