Something like normal: DJing the punk show, fixing Lizzie’s godawful ties, getting lectured by Jack for screwing up yet again. It’s the best Jamie can hope for, what he’s been working for every day since they got to the Academy, spirited out of the city in the wake of his sister’s death. Alice. He can hardly even say her name out loud.
Then Jamie gets sick like Alice, and Lizzie and Jack are terrified that their family tragedy is about to repeat itself. But Jamie’s illness has a different—and stranger—result. When he awakes a month later, he finds he’s been completely transformed.
Into her. Into Alice. A perfect copy.
A new face, a new name, a new life. Nevermind “normal,” Jamie—now going by the name Leigh—has his hands full just trying to put himself back together, finding any kind of way to fit back in. But locked in his new body is a dangerous secret, and there are powerful people who’ll stop at nothing to control it.
Caught up in the middle of something so big that it started before they were even born, it’s up to Leigh and his friends to uncover the uncanny truth behind his transformation—and behind his sister’s death—before they all run out of options. And before the shadowy figures playing with their lives can pull them apart for good.
Displacement deals with violence, illness, and loss of a family member, as well as sexuality and gender transformations which, while fictionalized, certain readers may feel are analogous to their own situations. I’ve tried to treat these issues with care, but even so I feel that readers should have the choice to know what they’re getting into before reading.
This is a link to a more thorough—but also more spoilery—discussion of what takes place in the novel.
“I’ve often said that I don’t want to be the spokesperson for autism, but one of many autistic voices contributing to a much greater body of work. Displacement is such a great example of what I want to see more of in the world: characters beyond my own experiences and worlds beyond my own imagination that open me up to new perspectives. Different enough to challenge autistic readers as well as our non-autistic counterparts, but just familiar enough to feel true to anyone hoping to be seen and understood in a fellow writer’s work. It’s a pleasure to have Richard Ford Burley’s one voice be part of this greater conversation as it grows, too.”
— Sarah Kurchak, author of I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder
“We begin with three students at a rather odd school, but the focus gradually widens and, many plot twists later, we find we are dealing with the future of humanity itself. Ingenious, unpredictable, and gripping.”
— Edward James, author of Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century
“Part coming-of-age story, part speculative suspense-thriller, this novel explores gender identity, neurodivergence, and non-human otherness in a deftly intersectional fashion. To classify DISPLACEMENT as strictly Science Fiction would be to do it a disservice. The ensemble of young protagonists, at whose boarding school the action opens, are as engaging as any I’ve encountered elsewhere in current YA fiction. The narrative entirely defies conventional genre classification, and that should be celebrated.”
— A.J. Odasso, Senior Poetry Editor, Strange Horizons and award-winning author of The Sting Of It
“A surprisingly fun ride, and well worth picking up.”
— Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside
Four excerpts were published on my blog prior to the publication of the novel, you can check them out at the following links:
You can buy it from Barnes and Noble in the US, from Amazon in the US and Amazon in Canada, from Waterstones in the UK, and from your local bookseller through Bookshop.org.
And if you do like it, the best thing you can do is to tell people about it—leave a review where you bought it, or on GoodReads!