Friday, August 10, 2012

Excerpt + Prize Pack Giveaway: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the author of the Raised by Wolf series and Every Other Day has a new book hitting shelves January 22, 2013 called Nobody. To celebrate not only the upcoming release, but the reveal of the (amazing) cover happening August 16, I've got a book excerpt for you guys, followed by an amazing contest for a huge JLB prize pack!

If you're just now stumbling onto the Nobody coverage, you can check out the book prologue here, as well as the first part of Chapter One here (and enter at both sites for a contest as well!).

Now without further ado, I give you the rest of Chapter One, and the start of Chapter Two!

Nix’s quarters at the institute were eggshell white and completely bare. The Society’s scientist du jour believed that the less a Nobody was exposed to the outside world, the more potent his powers. Deprive him of all contact with the energy that ran unseen through everyone and everything, and his ability to pass through the world unnoticed increased.

It was the latest in a string of theories that Nix detested.

He was nothing.


Putting something on his walls wasn’t going to change that. It wasn’t going to change him. Who he was. What he could do. Nobodies went through life unable to leave their marks on another person. Maximally unimportant. Metaphysically deficient.
That wasn’t the kind of thing that scientists could understand.

At seventeen, Nix wasn’t the kind of person who had any particular desire to be understood. Most days, he didn’t feel like a person at all.

You’re less than air. Less than shadow.

He put his back to the wall and stopped breathing. He’d learned this lesson so often that it was branded into his mind, the voice in his head a mixture of his trainers’ lectures in stereo.

No matter what you do, no matter where you go, people will always look through you. They will affect you, but you will never affect them.

Nix’s chest began to burn, and with silent, ritualized savagery, he slashed at himself, uneven fingernails carving jagged red lines into his stomach and arms. Beads of sweat rose on his bare skin.

If you let yourself, you could love—but no one will ever love you. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. That thing, that intangible thing that other people have that lets them form connections, that lets them matter—

You don’t have it.

You are never going to have it.

Nix began to bleed. Darkness rimmed his line of vision. It wasn’t enough.

It was never enough.

You’re no one. You’re nothing, and that is very, very special.

Sated and soothed by his outburst, Nix slid to the floor, sinking smoothly and effortlessly into lotus position. He sat his bloody, upturned hands on his knees and closed his eyes.

I am everything. I am nothing. I am powerful. I am forgotten.

His words, not The Society’s. His handlers couldn’t do what he did. They had never tasted his kind of power. The Society of Sensors had been studying metaphysics for thousands of years; its members had taught him what he was, what he would always be—but his trainers had never been nothing themselves.

I am shadow. I am air.

Forbidden thoughts. He breathed them in and out, and for the first time since returning from his mission, he spoke, his voice low and rough, but musical in the way of a gravel-voiced siren singing the blues. “I am Nobody.” His lips curved upward, his breathing even. “I am Nix.”

He was unchanging.

He was constant.

And whatever his next assignment held—back alleys, visiting dignitaries, monsters dressed as men—he was ready.

For number Twelve.


“Excuse me, could I get a towel, please?”

Claire signed in at the front desk, dotting the i in her name in a manner almost grand enough to pass for a circle. She could do this. Hot day, cool pool, good book. What more could a girl ask for?

“Could you please hand me a towel?” She spoke a little louder this time, determined to catch the attention of the boy working behind the sign-in desk. The boy in question ran his hands through his hair (blond and gelled and respectably thick) and stared straight past Claire with the kind of complete nonchalance only possible between the ages of fourteen and twenty.

“Ummm . . . excuse me?” Claire felt like she was shouting, but the boy didn’t so much as blink. Brandishing The Hollow Kingdom like it was a flare, Claire stood on her tiptoes. Suddenly, the boy snapped out of it. Moved to grab a towel. Smiled. And handed it—

To the girl standing behind Claire.

I don’t really need a towel. I can air-dry. That’s what the sun’s for, right?

Giving up, Claire turned to go into the pool area, but the towel thief turned at the exact same moment, and the two of them collided full force.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Claire said, her apology reflex kicking into overdrive.

The girl she was apologizing to tossed red hair over one shoulder and tilted her head to the side. For a moment, she stood ramrod straight and so still that Claire thought she was broken. Then the girl brought one hand up and slowly ran it over the side of her own face. Claire watched, feeling like she was intruding on some kind of sacred ritual; the girl lifted her other hand up, palm first, and let it hover just over Claire’s face, then her arms.

Maybe I really did break her, Claire thought.

“Are you okay? I’m so sorry. . . .” The red-haired girl didn’t register Claire’s words. Her hands fluttered back down to her sides and in a completely impassive voice, she whispered a single haunting word.


Claire took a step back. The girl reached for her cell phone. And then she turned around and walked back toward the parking lot, the coveted towel still slung over her arm.

“Okay,” Claire said, under her breath. “Now that was weird.”

Determined to shake it off, Claire scanned the deck and found an open lounge chair angled between the baby pool and the diving board. It was, without question, the loudest, wettest, least desirable chair on the deck, but in her contrary moments, Claire liked liking things that went unappreciated by others.

Settling back into the chair, Claire offered her face up to the sun and closed her eyes. She breathed in and out, letting the din of the pool fade into the background, pushing the red-haired girl and her accusation—Nothing—out of her mind. The hum of Claire’s brain waves settled into the requisite pattern for an old standby, perfect for sunbathing and guaranteed to keep overthinking at bay.

Situations, Claire thought, waiting for one to take hold, enjoying the feel of the sun on her face, her body, the length of her limbs.Situation: What would it be like if you got hit by a car, and you desperately didn’t want to go to the hospital, but the person who saw it happen—a total stranger—was dead set on seeing you checked out by a doctor? What if it were a mother, with several small children, who couldn’t help but mother you, too, and pursed her lips when you said you didn’t want to go? What if it were an undercover FBI agent, and you had somehow stumbled into an integral part of their case?

What if it were a boy, and he wouldn’t let you stand up off the ground, because moving might upset your internal injuries? What if he kept his face close to yours and his hands on your shoulders? What if you wanted to fight him, even though you knew he was right?

For reasons she couldn’t quite put her finger on, Claire quite liked that Situation. Flipping over onto her stomach, she felt the sun on the small of her back and gave into the lure of the image taking hold in her mind.

Car accident. Blood—not much, because then it would be stupid to refuse to go to the hospital, but a little on the back of her head, and a bruise on her side. The car that hit her peels off, not bothering to see if she’s okay, and then the boy is there, beside her. He comes in a blur and bends over her, until he is all she can see.

His hair is dark.

“Are you okay?” he asks her.

No, that wasn’t right. That was such a normal thing to ask. It would be a much more interesting Situation if her rescuer were a little abnormal. And if she didn’t want to be rescued.

“What the hell were you doing?” he demands, his voice little more than a growl.

“I’m . . . who are you?” She tries to sit up. “Ouch.”

“Lie still.” He seems to expect that his words will be obeyed. Her eyes flash.

“Don’t touch me. I’m fine. And if I want to get up, I’ll—”

“You got hit by a car. You wandered into the street and got hit by a car. An ambulance is on its way.”

“I don’t want an ambulance.”

He leans down closer toward her, his eyes narrowing, and for a second, she thinks he will kiss her. “Well, princess, that’s too damn bad.”

Princess? Princess?! Claire rears back, ready to tell him what she thinks of his machismo BS, but he grips her shoulders, holding her in place more by the power of his touch than by force.

“Get your hands off me!”

“Be still.” For a moment, the boy’s voice is awful, but then he softens. “You could be hurt. Humor me.”

And then the ambulance came. End of Situation. Claire opened her eyes and rolled back over, just in time for a tsunami of water to body slam her like a professional wrestler.

Curse you, cannonballs.

Claire sputtered and snorted and tried desperately not to drown in her own chair. She blinked violently, and that was the exact moment she heard the voice.

“You look like you’re thinking deep thoughts, young lady.”

It took her a few seconds to locate the speaker: an elderly man with a face creased like a worn leather sofa and brown eyes so dark that she couldn’t make out the pupils. For a moment, Claire assumed that the man was talking to someone else, in part because people, as a general rule, didn’t come up to Claire and start making conversation, and in part because she was positive that she looked more like a drowned rat than someone caught in the throes of thought.

Say something. Respond. Be witty.

As Claire tried desperately to come up with the proper response, the man leaned forward, the intensity of the gaze behind his centimeter-thick glasses swelling, his eyes fixated on a point directly over her left shoulder. Those pupil-less irises flicked left to right, then up and down with a concerted effort that reminded Claire of a squadron of soldiers searching a field as if it were a grid.

“I was just sitting here,” Claire said finally, but the words came out in a whisper.

“Have a way of going unnoticed, do you?” the man asked, his voice not unkind.

Claire nodded, but before she’d even finished the motion, the man glanced away, and something deep inside of Claire told her that he wasn’t going to speak to her again. He’d seen what he needed to see, and now he was going to leave.

As Claire watched him disappear into the parking lot, she couldn’t help but wonder what he’d been looking for, and she couldn’t shake the single word her memory whis-pered over and over again in the red-haired girl’s voice.


Does that not make you crazy excited for the book? You can add it to Goodreads here!

And now for the contest:

I have, for one lucky winner, a Jennifer Lynn Barnes prizepack including the following, all packaged up in an Egmont tote bag with some temporary tattoos:
The Raised by Wolves series (Raised by Wolves, Trial by Fire and Taken by Storm)
Every Other Day
ARC of Nobody

To enter, just fill out THIS form.

This contest is US/Can only, and ends August 17.

No entries will be accepted through the comments, but you know you want to leave one anyhow, and don't forget to check back on August 16 for the cover for Nobody!


  1. That's a totally riveting 1st and 2nd chapter!!

  2. WELL. My interest has been captured. Thanks Kari for hosting and for Egmont for being so generous :)