Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the A Neon Darkness blog tour!! Read on for an excerpt, plus find out more about the book and author, follow along with the rest of the tour and enter a giveaway for a print copy of A Neon Darkness!!
A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen
Series: The Bright Sessions #2
Published on September 29, 2020 by Tor Teen
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Queer
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Los Angeles, 2006. Eighteen-year-old Robert Gorham arrives in L.A. amid the desert heat and the soft buzz of neon. He came alone with one goal: he wants to see the ocean. And Robert always gets what he wants.
At a very young age, Robert discovered he had the unusual ability to make those close to him want whatever he wants. He wanted dessert instead of dinner? His mother served it. He wanted his Frisbee back? His father walked off the roof to bring it to him faster. He wanted to be alone? They both disappeared. Forever.
But things will be different in L.A. He meets a group of strange friends who could help him. Friends who can do things like produce flames without flint, conduct electricity with their hands, and see visions of the past. They call themselves Unusuals and finally, finally, Robert belongs.
When a tall figure, immune to their powers, discovers them, the first family that Robert has ever wanted is at risk of being destroyed. The only way to keep them all together is to get his powers under control.
But control is a sacrifice he might not be willing to make.
A Neon Darkness is the origin story of Damien and the second stand-alone storyin the Bright Sessions Novels.
P A R T O N E
In retrospect, going on a power spree in Las Vegas was not my smartest move.
Typically, using my ability to get things—money, food, cars, you name it—isn’t too much of a problem as long as I keep the mark in my sights or move on quickly. But I didn’t think about the cameras. A security guy watching me take a table for all their chips with a pair of twos isn’t going to be susceptible to what I do. Not from a surveillance room all the way across a crowded casino.
After a few hours on the empty, endless expanse of desert highway, I’ve traded the claustrophobia of Vegas for the traffic jams of Los Angeles. The sun is starting to set, making me squint as it beams through my windshield, but my wince turns into a smile as I think about the look on the head of security’s face when he said he’d never met anyone like me. That glow of admiration, the slight tinge of confusion. It felt good, seeing that expression on someone like that. His job is to make sure that the house always wins, and I won.
I could have stayed, could have rubbed it in, hit up every casino on the strip, but after being taken to a back room with five guys twice my size, I figured it was time to cut my losses and get the hell out of dodge. Things turned out all right in the end, but I spare a thought for the fact that my face is still all over their security tapes. Still, I can’t imagine they’ll come after me for taking twelve grand. That amount of money means about as much to the Bellagio as it does to me. Which is to say, not much.
LA seemed as good a place as any to hit up next on my haphazard tour of the western United States. Anything’s better than goddamned Nebraska. But, in another boneheaded move, I haven’t looked at a calendar in weeks, which means I’ve somehow timed it so that I’m driving into Los Angeles on the night of Halloween.
So now I’m sitting in traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard, just trying to get to the ocean—I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean before—while swarms of people in absurd costumes walk west. I can barely see the next intersection for all the bodies in the street. I expected Los Angeles to have a light, nice sea breeze, but I have to roll up my windows against the hot October air carrying the smell of body spray and sickly-sweet party drinks.
“Screw this,” I say to no one, pulling over. I grab a couple of stacks from the bag of cash flopped uselessly on the backseat and shove them in my pockets. I can get by without it but it’s always nice to have the extra security. I leave the car unlocked, keys on the dash—it served me fine through the Nevada desert, but I’m going to want something slicker for LA.
Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Shippen
Lauren Shippen is a writer best known for her work in fiction podcasts. She was the creator and sole writer of the popular audio drama The Bright Sessions, which ran from 2015 to 2018. She went on to executive produce The AM Archives and co-produce the #1 podcast Passenger List, for which she received a BBC Audio Drama Award. Most recently, she wrote MARVELS, an audio adaptation of the popular comic. Her first novel, The Infinite Noise, was released through Tor Teen in September 2019.
Lauren was named one of Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 in Media and one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch. In 2019, she founded Atypical Artists, a company dedicated to audio storytelling. Shippen grew up in New York, where she spent most of her youth reading and going to Panic! at the Disco shows. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she does the same thing.
Are you adding this book to your #TBR? It’s been on mine for months, and I’m so excited to read it! Let me know if you’re adding it in the comments and have a splendiferous day!