First look: David Levithan and Jennifer Niven's first collab is a story of siblings and secrets
This summer, two YA powerhouses are teaming up for the very first time, and EW has all the exclusive details. David Levithan, who writes hits like The Realm of Possibility in addition to serving as the editorial director of Scholastic, joins Jennifer Niven, the best-selling author of titles like All the Bright Places, for a new novel unlike anything you've read before. It follows siblings Ezra and Bea after Bea takes off, leaving Ezra with nothing but an email address (hidden someplace only he knows about). Take Me With You When You Go (out Aug. 31) is told through correspondence between brother and sister, offering unique insights into their mindsets as they grapple with their family's unraveling.
Here, EW can reveal the cover and an exclusive look inside the book.
Excerpt from Take Me With You When You Go, by David Levithan and Jennifer Niven
Subject: You. Missing.From: email@example.com
Date: Mon 25 Mar 12:12 EST
I am not mad at you. I don't blame you. But I do think you owe me an explanation.
I know you're gone. We all know you're gone. I think from the moment Mom went into your room and found it the way you left it, we knew. What an exquisite fuck you to her and Darren— a perfectly made bed. Like it had never been slept in. Like you'd never been here at all. How many times have they yelled at you to make that bed? How many times have you refused? (Hint: The answer to both questions is the same number.) And now: You left everything smooth and blank.
No note. No word.
I know. I looked.
I wasn't the one who found your room like that. I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to eat cereal in a way that wouldn't annoy Darren. Suddenly Mom was screaming your name. Again and again, angry at first, then something else—maybe ten percent scared. (It maxed out there, about ten percent.) I'll admit I didn't think much of it, since no morning would be complete without you two fighting. Darren didn't look up from his toast either. But then Mom came storming into the kitchen and launched right into me—Where is your sister? Tell me right now where she is.
I was like, "I don't know I don't know I don't know—what's going onnnnnnn?" Sounding guilty as I tried so hard to sound innocent. Then she turned to Darren and was like, "She's gone," and he was like, "How the hell can she be gone?"
As an answer, we took a family trip up to your room. That's when I saw your bed and thought, Oh, wow. She's taken off.
I politely mentioned that it was time to go to school, so I needed to run upstairs and get my stuff.
The minute I got to my room, I knew exactly where to look. I'm guessing you thought it would take me longer, but it didn't. You know exactly what I found. And what I didn't find.
Look, I don't blame you for taking the money. I'm not at all surprised that you took the money. In fact, I'm going to confess to you that I have more than one hiding place.
The big question, as I was lifting out the tray of baseball cards, wasn't whether you'd robbed your little brother. It was whether you'd left me something in return.
And you had. This email address.
You do realize how hard this is going to be, right? You do realize what you've left me with? And while I guess I'm happy you gave me the gift of plausible denial ("Really, Darren, I had no idea!"), some prep time would have been nice too.
And a goodbye. I would've liked a goodbye.
But for now, I'll settle for you telling me where you are. If you trusted me enough to give me this email, you have to trust me enough to let me know where you are, and that you're okay.
I'm hoping it's not something I did. I don't want to be the reason you chose today—the reason you couldn't wait two months until you graduated. I don't think I'm the reason, but I just have to put that out there.
Really, Bea. Write me back. It's going to be very hard to make it through your disappearance without you.
Subject: Me.From: Bea
To: Ezra firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tues 26 Mar 02:32 CST
I'm still breathing, if that's what you mean by okay. And no, I can't tell you where I've gone or why.
What I can tell you is that yes, I'm gone for good.
Goodbye, Hidden Valley Circle. Goodbye, Indiana.
It's surprisingly easy. When I knew I was leaving, I did a web search for "how to run away from home," and I had all the info I ever needed.
On that note, the thing about Beatrix Ahern is that running away is exactly what everyone expects of her. Sure, they'll be upset for a while, but give them a couple of months and they'll be sitting around saying, "What did you think was going to happen? There was no hope for her." Just watch. I almost wish I was going to be there to see it.
I'm sorry about the money. And I'm sorry about leaving without a goodbye. This was never meant to be a fuck you to you. Of all the people in my life, you're the last person I would do that to. That's why I broke the rules and created this email address. If it wasn't for you, I'd never look back.
What I can also tell you is:
I didn't leave for the reasons you're thinking.
If it ever gets too much living with Mom and Darren, go stay with Terrence. Promise.Stop feeling guilty. The sooner you let go of that, the better. And don't think of me as Beatrix anymore. "Beatrix" is the old life. New life, new name, or at least one I've decided to borrow for a bit.
p.s. Use a private browser every time. NEVER autofill the password. Even when you're on your own phone.
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