Peep EXCLUSIVE Cover, Excerpt From Tonya Hurley's 'The Blessed'

Hey, literati! If you loved Tonya Hurley's "ghostgirl" series, you won't want to miss her next entry in the YA book world: "The Blessed," an old-made-new redemption story that re-imagines the martyrdom of three Christian saints through a group of teenage girls in present-day Brooklyn. (Sounds wild, but then again, Tonya is the same talented gal who made us fully believe in the concept of postmortem popularity contests, so...) And for those who are wondering what such a story would look like on your shelf, we've got our hot little hands on the first-ever look at the cover...and an exclusive excerpt...AND a special, seeeecret giveaway that'll bless 50 lucky fans with an advance reader's copy.

...And if you can look into the unsettling red eyes of the pale, weeping, rosary-clutching girl on the cover without dying to know her story, well, clearly you have no soul. So sad! So weepy! So creepy! (Not to mention the tantalizing dialogue between Agnes, Lucy and Cecilia as they meet in a church to discuss their potentially deadly destinies.)

"The Blessed" will be out September 25 from Simon & Schuster, and we can't wait to see how Tonya brings her deadpan wit and blackest humor to the first tale in this trilogy about spirituality, sacrifice and supernatural romance. (Yep, there are gonna be three books in total.) And if you want to win the divine gift of a copy in advance then get thee to the sweepstakes site, and sacrifice your entry information on the altar of All Things Good Bookish. (And pssst, don't wait: the contest closes on March 29.)

Oh, and make sure to check out an excerpt of "The Blessed" below!

One by one they arrived at the church and evening fell. In the order in which they’d originally come.

Lucy.

Cecilia.

Agnes.

All out of breath, and filled with foreboding. Looking over their shoulders. They met only a little unexpectedly in the vestibule and smiled empathetically at each other. No hugs or air kisses. No words. None were necessary.

“You felt it too, right?” Lucy said to them.

They knew what she meant. It was a pull at the center of their being. A sense of purpose beyond themselves.

Agnes explained to them about their namesakes. The legends of their saints and the influential role they played. Their martyrdom.

“I told you, I’m not religious.” Lucy said.

“Virgin?” Cecilia said. “That let’s me out.”

“That’s not the point. It was a different time.” Agnes rebuffed. “It’s about realizing what’s most important, what you are meant to be, meant to do. And what you are willing to sacrifice for it. They gave all they had for what they believed in. Gladly. A love, a duty, a calling beyond themselves.”

“Oh, yeah, and what is our calling?” CeCe asked.

“I don’t know, but whatever it is, I believe it’s something we can’t do alone.” Agnes insisted.