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.
A mysterious three-week blackout has turned Alexandra, 16, and her neighbors into backyard survivalists. Reclusive since a public incident with her autistic younger brother, Georgie (which resulted in the family being labeled "unfit to provide... proper care, appropriate supervision, or a stable, safe home environment" for him), Alex agrees to accompany best friend Anthony on his 10-mile walk to find a working radio. On their journey, Alex, white, and Anthony, Black, meet with rugged individualists and an off-grid religious group. When a detour results in Georgie running away from school and Alex learning more about the father who abandoned their family after "money became The Issue," Alex navigates deep sadness mixed with an awakened longing for Anthony. Simonet (Wilder) crafts an emotionally rich story through Alex's perspective, including the love she has for Georgie and the realistic challenges related to his care. Flash-forwards and flashbacks enhance the plot, dialogue exposes the racial bias and microaggressions that Anthony experiences daily, and discussions of neurodiversity showcase Alex and her family navigating two worlds Georgie's autistic experience, and frequently exclusionary "Normie" culture. Simonet illustrates the tenuous line between hope and despair that Alex walks as she makes pivotal choices in a world turned inside out. Ages 12 up.