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In the Outside: The Conduit

Teased at school for her over-long name and nose, Vera Geuzugeutchugian is the kind of person who keeps her chin high and her tongue sharp. She agrees to join the high school basketball team on the condition that she never have to dribble the ball; she paints a red blob in art class that beats like a living heart; and she discovers that her talent with colors has morphed into an ability to “see” a person’s greatest moral strength by the color of their emanating nimbus. But others understand more than she does about the power those colors represent, and want to use her ability for their own dark purposes.

At first, Vera only knows that something strange is going on at Briar Glen Nursing Home in her Virginia town. She knows the place well because that’s where she visits her favorite person in the universe, her great-great aunt (aka GGA Zanzan, one of the last living survivors of the Armenian genocide). Soon Vera begins to suspect that Briar Glen’s residents are being used as human guinea pigs. Vera and her unlikely allies—including a handsome teen CNA who’s a refugee from North Korea, an amputee teammate, and an agoraphobic resident of the Home—try to rescue GGA Zanzan before she dies. Vera realizes that whatever is happening at Briar Glen is bigger than her own family’s tragedy: that in fact, it may affect everyone in the mortal world.

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