Stray (Touchstone #1) by Andrea K. Höst #bookreview #YA #scifi #fantasy


Title: Stray

Author: Andrea K. Höst

Publisher: Andrea K Hösth

Publication Date: March 20, 2011

Page Count: 278

My rating: 3 1/2 stars

About the book:

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 intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she’s being watched?

Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people’s skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a ‘stray’, a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow.

Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?


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 to there but Cass definitely has a will to survive and find her way back to her home in Australia.

After quite a bit of time in this strange world on her own Cass is about to give up hope when she is rescued by the Setari. Finding the Setari are significantly more advance in their technology Cass learns she is what they refer to as a “stray” or someone that stumbled into a worm hole to end on the new planet.

For a Kindle freebie I was actually a bit impressed with this young adult read in the fact it actually did have some creative content instead of the same old tropes you normally find in fantasy. However, for me I wasn’t a huge fan of the diary format with the telling instead of showing. The beginning when there isn’t a lot around was alright but when the aliens became involved I wanted a bit more. Overall though I would give this opener 3.5 stars as it did have some unique content.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Andrea K Höst was born in Sweden but raised in Australia – mainly in Townsville, Queensland. She now lives in Sydney.

Andrea writes fantasy and science fantasy, and enjoys creating stories set in worlds which slightly skew our social expectations, and most especially give her female characters something more to do than wait for rescue.

She is the winner of the Best Fantasy Novella Aurealis Award for her novella “Forfeit” (found in the The Towers, the Moon collection). Her novel “The Silence of Medair” was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Awards for best fantasy novel, while her novel “And All the Stars” was a finalist for both the 2012 Aurealis Awards and 2012 Cybils Awards.

You can catch the latest news from Andrea at her site:


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