Outer Banks: Lights Out publishes Nov. 23.

Before the Royal Merchant gold, before the Cross of Santo Domingo, before all those life-and-death treasure hunts on Outer Banks, there was just John B (Chase Stokes) and JJ (Rudy Pankow). And now fans can learn about what life was like for the two original Pogues in a new YA prequel novel based on the Netflix series.

Outer Banks: Lights Out, written by Alyssa Sheinmel, follows John B and JJ in an adventure that takes place before season 1. Full of action and even some romance for JJ (finally!), the novel is set during spring break, when the rich tourist Kooks take over and John B and JJ plan a fishing getaway to the notoriously dangerous Frying Pan Shoals — nicknamed Graveyard of the Atlantic for good reason. Soon after setting sail they meet a captivating Kook named Savannah, who ends up hitching a ride on their boat after the weather gets worse and her boyfriend leaves her stranded.

As a violent storm sets in, the three realize the only place to safely ride it out is a creepy abandoned hotel on the shoals' lighthouse platform. But it doesn't take long for the teens to realize they may not be alone like they thought. And when sparks start flying between JJ and the secretive Savannah, their adventure gets more complicated. The closer JJ gets to this mysterious new girl, the more he realizes he's playing with fire. Even if they make it out of this alive, can a Pogue-Kook romance survive the high-stakes shores of the Outer Banks?

Lights Out publishes Nov. 23, and EW has your exclusive first look via the excerpt below. Told from John B's point of view, it chronicles the teens' treacherous sail toward the lighthouse.

outer banks book
'Outer Banks: Lights Out,' by Alyssa Sheinmeil
| Credit: Abrams Books

Excerpt from Outer Banks: Lights Out, by Alyssa Sheinmel

If the Light Tower could survive all those storms, right smack at the edge of the graveyard of the Atlantic, it can survive this storm. Which means, if we can get there, we can survive this storm. 

JJ bends over the engine at the back of the boat while I stay at the controls. He uses his body to shield it from the rain. 

"Flooded!" JJ shouts, which means the spark plugs are too wet to spark. 

Savannah holds an enormous torch of a flashlight over him. (At least we remembered to bring that.)

JJ engages the choke — a small valve in the carburetor to reduce the amount of air added to the fuel. You can engage the choke to give it a boost of fuel, which is sometimes enough to make it turn, but you have to be careful to disengage the choke immediately to keep the engine from flooding all over again as too much fuel is pumped into the cylinders. JJ is much better at these sorts of things than I am. 

"Try again," JJ shouts over the wind, pulling at the engine. I try the controls; nothing happens. JJ leans down again. A few minutes later he shouts, "Now!"

This time, the engine starts. JJ cheers and Savannah lifts her arms overhead like she's just run a race. For a second, I think they're going to actually hug.

I point us in the direction of the light tower. I have no idea whether it will be empty. Dad told me it used to be a Bed and Breakfast, and it's privately owned these days.

JJ makes his way across the boat to me, walking with his knees bent for balance. He puts a hand on my shoulder. "What's the plan?"

"Light tower," I say. JJ nods; he doesn't need me to explain. Most of the lessons my dad taught me, he taught JJ, too. 

"I'll keep an eye on the engine," JJ says. "You just get us there."

I've been on the water in choppy conditions before, but I've never rode through anything like this. At times, it's like we're in a canyon between monster waves; and then suddenly we're on the top of a crest, and nothing I do at the controls matters — all I can do is hope that when the wave crashes, we'll still be right side-up.

Through the rain, I see JJ wrapping Savannah in a life-vest, and then handing her a rope; she ties herself to the side of the boat. Without a word, JJ ties a vest around my shoulders, a rope around my waist, then does the same thing to himself.

Since the light tower isn't actually in use, the light in the lighthouse won't be lit. Which means it'll be all but impossible to see in the darkness. Which means I could be sending the boat directly towards it — we could literally be smashed to bits against one of those steel legs.

I could kill us all.

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