Monday, May 31, 2021

BLOG TOUR: A Night Twice as Long by Andrew Simonet


 Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Andrew Simonet's A Night Twice As Long! Today, on our tour stop, we have a sneak peek into this upcoming release with an exclusive excerpt! So... Be sure to check it out and pre-order your copy now! A Night Twice As Long release tomorrow, June 1, 2021! Follow the tour, HERE.

Young Adult
Publish Date:
June 1, 2021

What do you call the difference between what you should feel and what you do feel? Life?

The blackout has been going on for three weeks. But Alex feels like she’s been living in the dark for a year, ever since her brother, who has autism, was removed from the house, something Alex blames herself for. So when her best friend, Anthony, asks her to trek to another town to figure out the truth about the blackout, Alex says yes.

On a journey that ultimately takes all day and night, Alex’s relationships with Anthony, her brother, and herself will transform in ways that change them all forever.

In this honest and gripping young adult novel, Andrew Simonet spins a propulsive tale about what it means to turn on the lights and look at what’s real.



“What’s that scar?” is Anthony’s second question this morning, after: “Do that yourself?”

“Kid threw a rock at me.”

I’m on Anthony’s unpainted porch, watching him feed the puppies. I thought we’d have a big moment of “Hey! You’re coming,” but, of course, Anthony assumed I was coming. No high fives for my bravery or for disobeying my mom.

“Damn. When?” He pulls a squirmy fur ball out of the pile and drops it by a separate bowl.

“Second-grade recess,” I say. There’s an inch of pink scar tissue above my hairline, a wound no one’s seen. I’ve never seen it till today.

“Bit late for stitches then.”

I lean on the splintery railing. I’m wearing my blue hoodie with the fuzzy lining, my green army shorts, my backpack, and my mom’s old hiking shoes. Ready for a trek. “How do I look?”

Anthony matters. His opinion matters.

He scans me up and down. I scan him back. The inner cavity of his ear shines like it’s wet.

“Like a cocky twelve-year-old boy,” he says.


Is there a word for this, for what Anthony and I are to each 
other? I was eleven when I met him. We were elementary school kids, little guys. Then he turned into a young man whose T-shirts hang on muscular shoulders. A young man whose deadpan sar- casm flips into a twinkly grin when I crack the right joke. And I turned into a young woman who finds all of that appealing. But our friendship was formed from simpler things. Board games, bikes, homework, hot chocolate.

It’s fine.

If you have one person in your life, you can’t kiss him. Cause who would you tell about it?

“Make sure Pepper eats.” His grandma—so young, could she really be?—steps outside. Her pale belly parts her tight shirt and pants, dark wiry hairs trailing down from her navel. “And take that bag when you go, see if you can find kibbles. Hell of a time to have puppies, huh?” She looks at me now, no hello, just inserts me into the conversation.

Tiny crunching noises from the dogs. The buzz of a green fly orbiting their butts.

“How they doin?” I say.

“Fine. What do they know? Soon as the lights come back, I’ll get good money for em. Feeding them’s gonna kill us, though. It’s like having two families.”

We talk about “the lights coming back” as if that’s what we’re missing. Lights are the least of it. We could live without lights, do stuff in the daytime, build fires at night. We lost our story. We lost our agreement. Or the illusion of agreement.

“Is that Alex?” Anthony’s little sister, May, peeks through the screen, tongue poking out of her Kool-Aid-smeared mouth.

Anthony calls his home “diverse.” His grandma looks white, paler than me, May looks pretty black, and Anthony looks, well, like Anthony. Tight curly hair, bronze skin, dark-green eyes. He has a black mom and a white dad, and he gets endless questions from people of all races. What are you? What’s your background? Before moving to Little Falls, Anthony lived in what he calls a “regular black neighborhood.” And while our little town has a lot more black people than most towns around here, the trio of Anthony, May, and Gram can still confuse people. One lady thought May was Anthony’s daughter.

“Yes, May, she got herself a haircut, now go finish your breakfast.” His grandma doesn’t ask about my hair, immediately accepts it, relays it as fact. She never judges, never pins assump- tions on you. That must be where Anthony gets it.

Through the screen door, I see the couch covered with a plaid sheet where Anthony and I used to watch the shows I couldn’t see at home. Georgie fixates on TV, so it’s strictly rationed at our house. Was.

“If you do talk to your mom, Anthony, tell her we miss her and we’re doing fine. Don’t get her worrying.” His grandma sighs. “I don’t know, what do you think, Alex?”

“About what?”

“Talking to someone halfway across the world. Think it’s real?”

“I’m hopeful,” I say.

Since when am I the optimistic can-do person? Since I saw that fear in Anthony’s eyes.

“Anything else?” Anthony says, folding the dog food bag into his backpack.

His grandma shakes her head. “News. What everybody wants. There’s endless “news,” explanations of what happened and what’s coming, everybody filling the void with paranoia and wishes. The less people know, the more they proclaim. The thirst for a story line, any story line, turns opinions into rumors and rumors into facts. The strangest explanation is more comforting than no explanation.

Not for me.

I don’t want news. I don’t want a Story. I step off the porch, smell the moist ground warming in the 
May sun.

I want to stay wide open. 


**About the Author**
Andrew Simonet is a choreographer and writer in Philadelphia. His first novel, Wilder, published in 2018. He co-directed Headlong Dance Theater for twenty years and founded Artists U, an incubator for helping artists make sustainable lives. He lives in West Philadelphia with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two sons, Jesse Tiger and Nico Wolf.

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