Read an excerpt from A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen (Excerpt & #Giveaway) @jeanbooknerd

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the tour giveaway below...

A Neon Darkness
(The Bright Sessions, #2)
By Lauren Shippen
YA Contemporary, LGBT, Super Hero
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 256 Pages
September 29, 2020 by Tor Teen


The second Bright Sessions novel from creator Lauren Shippen that asks: "What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?"

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 story
in the Bright Sessions Novels.  


“X-Men by way of Salinger.” ―Mackenzi Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue


“Emotional and inventive, Lauren Shippen has written a queer love story for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. The Infinite Noise managed to make me swoon even as it broke my heart. A thoughtful and tender exploration of mental health, it will make you want to go to therapy, whether you have superpowers or not.” ―Britta Lundin, Riverdale screenwriter and author of Ship It

“The Infinite Noise is a marvelous book about love, mental health, and connection. Lauren Shippen writes with a clean and honest warmth that is deeply refreshing, and her sharp representation of depression and anxiety rings true. Once I started reading The Infinite Noise, I couldn't stop; now that I've read it, my life has become a matter of waiting to get my hands on whatever Shippen creates next.” ―Sarah Gailey, Hugo Award winning author of Magic for Liars

“Fans of the podcast will revel in this closer look at the lives of the characters, and readers new to the franchise will drop into this world without missing a beat. Give this to fans of the podcast, as well as readers who enjoy Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Rainbow Rowell's work, and Welcome to Night Vale.” ―School Library Journal

“The author gives emotions form, texture, and color, taking readers along on Adam's and Caleb's journeys while remembering that a boyfriend is not an antidote to life's supernatural―or mundane―problems.... A warm, satisfying love story with depth.” ―Kirkus Reviews

"Shippen does a superb job of handling a swirl of complex emotions, ranging from subtle to fiery as the boys struggle to complete each other and share their differences." ―Booklist  

(Affiliate links included.)



“What can I get ya?” I hear as I slink onto a bar stool at the long and empty wood bar. I swivel around to see a woman a few years older than me behind the bar, moving toward me. She’s stunning— tall, tan, and slender, her cheekbones lifted with a warm smile, her whole face glowing. But as she approaches me, her smile sinks a bit. Like the bouncer, she squints.

“Whatever’s good here.” I shrug, going for nonchalant. “Which I’m assuming is . . . something with vodka?” I add, gazing pointedly at the Russian decor before throwing her my best rakish smile, ignoring the uncomfortable pinching in my cheeks.

“Can I see an ID?” She smiles, her eyebrows lifting.

“Nah, that’s okay.” I wave a hand. “Just the drink will be fine.”

A beat. That familiar beat that sometimes happens in the blink of an eye—usually without my realizing what I’m doing—and that sometimes takes an eon. But no matter how long it takes, I almost always get where I’m trying to go.

“Sure thing.” She nods, moving away, and I settle my arms onto the bar, leaning forward to watch her. She’s got tattoos up and down her arms and pink in her brown hair, and I can’t tell if that’s how she always looks or if it’s for a costume. If it is, I don’t get what she’s supposed to be. The black tank top she’s wearing looks like it’s seen better days, but if she works here, it’s possible she lives in the area. Even if it’s not a nice place, it’s better than sleeping in a Subaru and easier than trying to find a hotel in the middle of the night when the street is packed with people. And there’s something about her . . . something friendly and inviting, that makes me want to lean farther over the bar until I’m fully caught in her orbit.

There’s a couple cozying up in one of the booths—ugh, no, I hate dealing with couples. That kind of closeness is alien and impossible to navigate, my desire always swinging from wanting to be more than a third wheel to wanting to break the whole damn bicycle. But my gaze lingers on the pair, watching the guy’s arm grasp his girlfriend’s shoulder, watching her put her hand on his face, and I feel the same pang I felt out in the street. I’m in a much smaller space now though—much closer to them than I was to the crowd outside—so if I’m not careful, I might find myself dealing with a couple all the same. I tear my eyes away.

There’s a group of guys around one of the cafĂ© tables, vodka shots in each of their hands, egging each other on. I already got too much of the frat house vibe in Vegas. No thanks.

Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Shippen

About the Author

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.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 Winners will receive an Copy of A NEON DARKNESS by Lauren Shippen.
- 1 Winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends July 6, 2020

No comments

Post a Comment

I love comments! I try to read and reply to them all. Feel free to agree or disagree and generally share your thoughts with me.