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(Touchstone #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,573 ratings  ·  430 reviews
On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive.

The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the in
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published March 20th 2011 by Andrea K. Höst (first published March 1st 2011)
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Andrea No. This uses a piece of stock art. It looks like Earthbound uses the same stock art.
Katlover There are characters in this book that have powers, but they remind me of super powers and heroes from comic books, rather than magic. To me, this boo…moreThere are characters in this book that have powers, but they remind me of super powers and heroes from comic books, rather than magic. To me, this book is classified as a sci-fi, not fantasy. There is a small mention of the moon and circumstances with it that may seem to be under the realm of magic. It is definitely not the main focus of the book.(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  3,573 ratings  ·  430 reviews

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Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Andrea Höst will NEVER be a successful YA writer! Remember, you've read it here first. You won't believe what she did… The nerve!

You see, she created a smart, resourceful heroine who doesn't spend her time either whining or swooning. *gasp* And she has a personality! *double gasp* Un-freaking-believable. I know, I know, I'm shaking my head slowly, too. But wait, just like in an infomercial, this is the part where I say "there's more!" Although, in this case, there's less. Sit down and breathe de
How useful would you be in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic situation? My best friend and I had a discussion about this for a while the other day. (Well, to be honest I have this discussion all the time.) While we obviously tally people’s skills up in the positives column, we were in agreement that two of the biggest advantages a person can have is their ability to just go with the flow and their tendency not whine or complain about things. The reason I bring this up is because the first third ...more
Dichotomy Girl
11th Read: In preparation for In Arcadia, because I really need the refresher, ROFL

Updating this with the new GR Re-read Function, and as anyone can see, I have a serious obsession / comfort read thing going on with this book, LOL

10th Read:12/15/2016
9th Read: 9/27/2016
8th Read: 07/06/2016
7th Read: 1/8/2016 - I have such a weird obsession with this book! 7 times in 2.5 Years is crazy even for me!
6th Read: 8/18/2015
5th Read: 5/28/2015

4th Read: 02/27/15 So, I've been sick the past week, and these b
Melissa McShane
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book shouldn't have worked.

The diary structure means that there's an unavoidable amount of 'telling' going on at first (Höst comes up with an excellent workaround later). The main character, for all she's pretty good at surviving, has to get rescued a lot. There are SO MANY characters you really need the appendix to keep them straight. And the plot, while good, is subservient to Cass's life, which means there are long stretches where the plot goes away in favor of the interpersonal relation
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Stray by Andrea K. Höst is the first book of the new young adult science fiction fantasy Touchstone series. This first book was free on Amazon so of course at some point I picked it up and it did seem to still be free, at least in the U.S. The story is told from the prospective of the main character, Cassandra Devlin, in diary format.

Seventeen year old Cass walked out on the last day of high school to find herself suddenly surrounded by a strange forest. She has no idea what happened or how she
Feb 05, 2015 added it
Recommended to Gergana by: Férial
Ok, I was planning to review this book once I finish the whole series, but I started chatting with Férial and decided to post my comments here for now (and write a proper review after I finish the third book). Slight spoilers below (nothing related to the plot).

Férial : So?

Me: Absolutely loved it, but it's very difficult to review. The thing is, I still don't know what to make of my whole experience.

- A small part of me is slightly annoyed with the beginning, and there were a few times where the
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Feb 08, 2017 marked it as on-hiatus
Kindle freebie, written in diary form, about an Australian teenager who's walking home from school, turns a corner and finds herself on an alien world. Cassandra is alone in a forest, in a place that looks like Earth but has longer days. For a while she manages to survive on her own, eating berries and such. And then the aliens find her...

I picked this up as a freebie a couple of years ago, read the first part and then, for whatever reason, it got sidelined unfinished. But it has some very enth
Sherwood Smith
Aug 30, 2012 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sherwood by: Estara Swanberg
Shelves: sf
This is the first book of the Touchstone Trilogy, a YA science fiction (or science fantasy, for hardliner SF purists who don't count psychic powers as part of sf) story that begins with Cassandra Devlin, an Australian high schooler, walking around a corner and shifting to another world.

I am normally not drawn to survival stories. I began reading late one night when it was too hot to sleep, hoping it would knock me out . . . several hours later, I was hooked.

The book is written in diary form. Cas
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
People have been recommending this book (and trilogy) to me for years, but it never sounded like my kind of thing, so I never followed up - until a reader on Twitter generously sent me the trilogy to get through my post-op recovery period. I gave it a try - and guess what? I LOVED IT. I should have tried it so much sooner!

The funny thing is, none of the plot description sounds like the kind of book I'd want to read. The first third is just one character alone exploring (and doing her best to sur
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keepers, kindle
4/17/18-re-read review. Short and sweet. Best book ever. I’m going through a VERY difficult time right now with the health of a beloved family member and I needed an escape. I immediately reached for this book. The first sentence brought me back to Cass’s world and my world, for a moment, was replaced. I’m tearing up thinking about how much this book has helped me. I can’t recommend this book enough. It is helping me to maintain my sanity and for that, I will be eternally grateful to the author. ...more
Wendy Darling
Currently free for Kindle in the U.S. and Andrea says it's also free on B&N, Smashie, Amazon UK, etc., too. Grab before it's gone.

3.5 stars Love love loved the beginning survivalist part! And the worldbuilding was incredible, though I think some of the humor I liked so much, as well as the characterization, got a bit lost in the last half.

I really can't express my thoughts any better than my readalong pal Flannery did, so if you're curious about this book, please check out her review! http://www
Jacob Proffitt
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
So I've been completely blocked on writing about this book. There's just so much I want to burble about that it's been over a week since I finished it and I still can't write coherently about it—which is a crying shame because I really loved this book! Or books.

First off: take it seriously when it says that it's a diary in three parts. It is exactly that and it maintains that fictive device throughout. That’s one reason this review has been so hard to write—because it really covers three books r
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes (sci-fi) YA with mature teens and well-thought-out plot lines
Be warned, this is an incredibly scattered review full of tangents and distracting jumps with no transitions at all between paragraphs! Your teachers would all be disappointed in the formatting!

It's taken me weeks to finally sit down and write the review for Stray, or overall, I guess, the Touchstone Series. (Caution: This is more an overall review, but it doesn't contain any world-shattering spoilers).

It's a rare series. Self-published. World-transcending. And in my top three favorites of All T
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

I really enjoyed this book. It was slow going to get into it but I'm glad I stuck it out. The story picks up momentum almost imperceptibly and after about 100 pages becomes 'unputdownable'. The main character of the story, Cassandra, is portrayed as this quietly courageous girl with astonishing ingenuity and moxie.

The author tells the story via Cassandra's entries into her diary and does a great job of sticking to that POV. She makes the situation believable and the reader can r
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
July 2018: I'd forgotten a lot about this first book. Wow. It's fantastic. I still stand by everything I said in my earlier review (from five years ago - yikes) about bad typos and awkward dialect, and yet Stray really worked for me this reread.

Cass's voice is the primary force in this story - if you don't like her voice, I don't think you'll make it through the book - but on my second read this week, I was able to sort of look past that to what's taking place at the margins of the story. And t
Thea Diepen
So, for about the first twenty pages, my thoughts were: "There is nothing happening. Why is there nothing happening? *sigh* I will continue reading, nevertheless. The description promised cool things."

Then something happened, and I was excited and kept reading because I wanted to, not because I was forcing myself to. Except, after the something happened, nothing happened. And I was staying up at all hours reading it. My thoughts: "There's still nothing happening. And yet, I can't stop reading. W
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

"I walked into adventure and adventure has given me blisters."

On the last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walks away from her exams and just like that, stumbles into another world. She is only sure of two things: this is not Earth and that she must do everything to survive. She eventually finds an abandoned city where she plans to settle down for the time being.

Then one day she wakes up to find herself staring at two people who definitely look h
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, ebook
Don't pay too much attention to that four, as I've just finished Lab Rat One, which is getting a five, and basically I'm not going to waste much time at all doing anything else until I've finished Caszandra. Which says it all, but very, very briefly on this:

1) I thought the survival-story first part was extremely well done - nothing that made you feel it was ridiculous to imagine a 17 year old schoolgirl city-dweller could manage, but also not glossing over any of the huge difficulties such a pe

"I blame Doctor Who.  Mr Spock.  The Scooby Gang: both the ones in the Mystery Machine and the ones with the stakes.  I've spent my life with stories of people who don't walk away, who go back for their friends, who make that last stand.  I've been brainwashed by Samwise Gamgee."


As I've said before, I'm a sucker for a portal fantasy where the h/H is transported to another world and has to cope with their new existence, integrate into a new society, and learn the new rules.

Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
As of July 16th, 2016 it's free on Amazon. Goodreads recommended it to me based on my love for The Last Hour of Gann and now I'm intrigued.

EDIT: Read the book. Really liked it. Actual rating 3.5 stars. The following review was originally posted on my book blog The Book Challengers.

Goodreads recommended this book to me due to my love of The Last Hour of Gann and while I must admit that I really enjoyed this freebie (so much so that I already got my hands on part 2), I don't really see how these t
Sarah Wynde
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I downloaded this as a free book from a Bookbub ad, despite the fact that my TBR pile is immense. That was at, perhaps, 1PM, and I read the first few chapters while I ate lunch. Then I quit working a little early and picked it back up again. Then -- despite the fact that I had plenty to do -- I read, and read, and read some more, and then bought the next book, and read some more. It's almost midnight and I just bought the third book and its sequel.

Problems with this book: oh, the information ov
Intisar Khanani
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I usually find diary-style books somewhat underwhelming, but it worked fantastically in this sci-fi / fantasy / psychic space ninja story. Can I say that again? Psychic space ninja story.

What I loved: first, there were so many commentaries layered into this story. On the surface, intriguing story of an Aussie high school girl who walks through a wormhole on her way home from her final exams, ends up on an abandoned world and struggles to survive, only to be rescued by psychic space ninjas (yay!
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Still 5 stars on this reread.

I decided to reread Gratuitous Epilogue in preparation for reading the recently released In Arcadia. Then I realized I didn’t remember what was going on and who was who really, so I started rereading Caszandra, only to realise I was still a bit lost and it would be best to go back to the beginning. So that’s the background for this reread.

My reaction to this is much the same as it originally was, except that I think I’m more forgiving of its flaws and even more in a
Carolyn F.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Am I the only one who was bored with this book? Every scene was played out not once, not twice but several times. I guess to convey the tediousness, but it got to the point where it was too much. And for such a large book, the ending was abrupt to me. There should have been some kind of point where there's a next scene. In a small way there is but it wasn't enough for me. Average book so average rating.
Rachel Neumeier
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I read this book, and the whole Touchstone trilogy, immediately after reading the Medair duology by the same author. It's fascinating how this trilogy is completely different from the Medair duology: first person instead of third, SF instead of F, a diary format instead of a straightforward narrative, a contemporary protagonist instead of a straight secondary world type of story. And it is SO GOOD.

Cassandra has a very strong, appealing contemporary voice in an amazingly believable SF world that
 Simply Sam ツ
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
***3.5 STARS***

This book was cute and a lot of fun to read. It is very PG and very, very, VERY light on romance. So don't go into this book looking for it to go in that direction. If you do, you'll be sorely disappointed. For now at least. The potential is there, though, so I will be looking for some progression on that front in later books. AKA Ruuel ;)

However, if you want just a fun, quick YA light scifi this may be a good fit. The narrator is 17/18 and it is told strictly from her POV in the
missEvi [can't commit to a book]
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to missEvi [can't commit to a book] by: Dichotomy Girl
I can’t even beging to describe my conflicted feelings about the trilogy.

It started out as a survival story, continued as a complex science fiction, turned space opera.

Cassandra, the main heroine, finds herself in a new planet that looks like earth but it’s not. Then the adventure takes her to new planets with different characteristics and people who have powers, think x-men powers. The author manages to create a very unique world building. Very solid but with so many details that you frequentl
Pauline Ross
I loved this book, loved, loved, loved it. It’s the first book in ages to keep me up until the wee small hours because I absolutely positively had to know what was coming next. Here’s the premise: almost-eighteen year old Cass is walking home from her suburban school one day after her last exam before graduation when - pop! - she finds herself in the middle of a not-Earth forest, with no way back. For a while, she is on her own, walking through this world with its odd mixture of Earth-like creat ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of portal science fantasy and quiet girl heroines
Recommended to Estara by: auto-buy author
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lida by: Dichotomy Girl
Shelves: ya, aliens, sci-fi
Freebie on Amazon!

The story is told in diary entries, which made me want to read the whole trilogy in one sitting, it all reads like one story. The beginning is a bit slow, but I soon got immersed in this alien world with the psychic powers.

Cassandra unknowingly passes through a portal between worlds while returning from her last of high school exams (talk about being unlucky, couldn’t this have happened before all the exams?!) and gets transported to a different world, albeit one very much like
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Born in Sweden and raised in Australia, Andrea K Höst currently lives in Sydney. She writes fantasy, but wanders occasionally into science fantasy.

Her novel "The Silence of Medair" was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. Her novella "Forfeit" won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella.

Other books in the series

Touchstone (5 books)
  • Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2)
  • Caszandra (Touchstone, #3)
  • Gratuitous Epilogue (Touchstone, #4)
  • In Arcadia (Touchstone, #5)

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“I blame Doctor Who. Mr Spock. The Scooby Gang: both the ones in the Mystery Machine and the ones with the stakes. I've spent my life with stories of people who don't walk away, who go back for their friends, who make that last stand. I've been brainwashed by Samwise Gamgee.” 81 likes
“I walked into adventure and adventure has given me blisters.” 37 likes
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