Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

After you finish reading 1984, you can look forward to more dystopia in the form of James Patterson’s new YA novel Crazy House, out May 22. Ahead of its release, EW is excited to premiere the cover and an excerpt from the new book.

Here’s the story: Brainy Cass and wild Becca are twin sisters living in a world controlled by The United, an all-powerful government that commands a “separate but equal” society. Suddenly, Becca is thrown into prison, forced to fight her fellow inmates for survival. Cass is determined to save her sister, but she is in danger herself: the captors took the wrong twin, and when they find out they’ll be coming for her.

Patterson is the prolific author of novels including the crime thrillers in the Alex Cross series, and Crazy House is his return to YA after the Maximum Ride series. The novel was written with Gabrielle Charbonnet.

In a statement to EW, Patterson said, “With Crazy House, I’m thrilled to bring fans of my Maximum Ride series and new readers alike into the world of Cass and Becca, 17-year-old twin sisters thrown into a nightmarish prison. There’s been no trial. There are no charges. And they’re innocent. I promise you that Crazy House is even more exciting, scarier, and of course, crazier—in the best way—than anything I’ve written. I hope that you’ll be drawn into Cass and Becca’s dystopian world and connected to their unbreakable sister bond just as I was.”

See the cover and excerpt below:


Excerpt from Crazy House by James Patterson

Chapter 1

Thank God for programmable coffeemakers, that’s all I want to say. Actually, that’s about all I can say until I’ve had that first cup. Right on time, 5:45 a.m., life’s precious fluid starts seeping down to the carafe.

And thank god for coffee. Last year when we’d heard that a lot of coffee crops had failed, I thought the bottom of my life had dropped out. But this year coffee is back on the shelves at United All-Ways, and I for one am grateful.

Leaning back against the kitchen counter with my first hot cup, I looked out the torn window screen to see the barest hint of pink coming up over the tops of the trees by the Boundary. I guess people who live in cells by the ocean get to see the sun coming up over the water.

Actually, I don’t know. I don’t know if any people live near any ocean.

I felt the coffee igniting nerves throughout my body as I sipped and watched the sun come up. It was partly blocked by the carport where I kept my—
I bolted upright and peered through the ragged screen.

“No, she didn’t!” I shrieked, wanting to hurl my coffee cup right out the window. It would have hit my truck if my truck had been there. Which it wasn’t!

“Damnation, Rebecca!” I shouted again, then wheeled and headed upstairs just to double check. Just in case. Just in case my twin, Ridiculous Rebecca, was in fact still snoring in bed instead of joyriding in my truck.

I slammed open her bedroom door, adrenaline making jumpy friends with all the caffeine in my system.

Becca’s bed was empty.

Seething, I hurried to my room at the end of the hall, passing the door to our parents’ room, which we kept shut all the time nowadays. In my room I threw on yesterday’s jeans and a plaid shirt that I’d been too hasty in assigning to the dirty clothes pile. Jamming my feet into my perfectly worn cowboy boots, I started rehearsing what I would say to my sister when I caught up with her.

And I would catch up with her. There was zero doubt about that. Our cell was barely four miles across, a nice big crop circle. Becca had no place to run, no place to hide.

Chapter 2

I pushed open our screen door so hard that one of the hinges busted, making it tilt crazily. Watch it, idiot. Anything I broke, I had to fix. It wasn’t like there was anyone else to do it.

Halfway around the side of the house, I remembered to look at my watch. 5:55. Silently I mouthed crap! I turned around, stomped up the steps, across the porch, through the broken screen door and into our living room. Curfew wasn’t over till six a.m., and I’d seen what happened to people who didn’t think the Provost meant what he said about curfew. He really, really meant it. He meant inside your house from ten p.m. to six a.m. Not in your yard. Not under your carport. Not leaning against your fence, enjoying the breeze. And he always, always knew.

My jaw was so tight it was starting to hurt. Since I had four—no, three—minutes left to kill, I went back into the kitchen and cut myself a couple slices of bread. I had a PB & J in my hand by 6:01, and I hurried out to the carport where Ma’s dinky purple moped was leaning against a pole.

Just looking at it bummed me out. For one thing it reminded me of Ma, which, obviously, bad. For another thing it reminded me of Becca, because she’s the one who used the moped now, and I was ready to skin her alive. Third, it had a top speed of twelve miles an hour. Twelve. Miles. An. Hour. And that was on a full charge, which it had only if Becca remembered to plug it in the night before. Fourth, the pickup had been Pa’s, and he’d left me in charge of it. There were only a few pickup trucks left in the entire cell. We’d only been allowed to keep it because it was so ancient that I practically had to push-start it. But I still loved it, I was still the one who used it, and now Becca had taken it, left before curfew, and was probably already getting high with her loser doper friends.

And who would have to come up with some lame excuse about her tardiness or absence at school? Me. Who had to hope that somehow she hadn’t already been seen out before curfew? Me. As mad as I was, I didn’t want to see her go through that. I never wanted to see her go through that.

Ma’s moped started easily enough and I wheeled it around, then got on and steered through our gates with my non-sandwich-holding hand. The more I heard the gentle hum of its little engine pushing us down the road, the madder I got.

My sandwich was gone by the time I reached Murphy’s crossroads—not that there are any Murphys anymore. I guess “Forty-seven’s crossroads” didn’t have the same ring. At the big Healthier United sign I turned left to take the road to town, all the time searching the crop fields for the curved red roof of the pickup poking out above the wheat. Becca had several usual hangouts, and I circled down to the gully where kids went to smoke and generally be bad citizens. No one was there, and the tire tracks in the rutted mud looked a couple days old, at least.

By seven thirty I had puttered to all of Becca’s lairs. Though I’d found several of her red-eyed friends, none of them admitted seeing Ridiculous, and no one had seen my truck. She’d done an excellent job of disappearing. Damnation!