'No One Here Is Lonely' By Sarah Everett Is A YA Romance With A 'Black Mirror' Twist — & You Can Start Reading Now

I think a lot about my relationship to social media these days, and I don't think I'm alone. I remember signing up for my Facebook account back in 2006, when I had just graduated from high school and you still needed a college email account to sign up. I was so excited about the prospect of staying connected with friends that would be moving all across the country. I deleted my Facebook eight years ago, and I now take more social media breaks than ever before. In so many ways the internet went from being an addition to people's lives to being people's lives, and I think many people are still figuring out what that means. This is why I am so excited about Sarah Everett's January 2019 YA novel, No One Here is Lonely, which dives right into the conversation about real life versus the internet. Bustle has an excerpt from the book below!

The story follows Eden, who has always had two loves: her best friend, Lacey, and her crush, Will. And then, she loses them both. Will dies in a car accident, Lacey simply grows apart from her. Devastated, Eden finds solace in an unlikely place: An account Will created before he died on In Good Company, a service that uploads voices and emails and creates a digital companion that can be called anytime, day or night. As Eden falls deeper into her relationship with “Will,” she hardly notices as her real life blooms around her. There is a new job, new friends. Then there is Oliver. He’s Lacey’s twin, so has always been off-limits to her, until now. He may be real, but to have him Eden will have to say goodbye to Will.

No One Here Is Lonely by Sarah Everett, $18, Amazon (Pre-Order)

Although the book won't be hitting shelves until early 2019, I can only imagine that this conversation will be all the more relevent to our lives in six months time. But, don't worry, we're not going to leave you hanging until then. Bustle has an exclusive excerpt from the book below that will have you primed to fall in love with these characters, and thinking about the internet's place in, well, everything, come next year.

Excerpt

I’ve cried more in the last week than I have in my entire life.

Today the waterworks start when I wake up to a last-day-of-school text from my best friend, Lacey. All it says is WE MADE IT!!!!! with an overabundance of exclamation points, but it’s really all she needs to say.

Four years.

Countless hours of interminable lectures.

A hundred scandals.

Two boyfriends.

One broken heart.

There’s a long green robe that goes all the way to my shins hanging in my closet. A short navy blue dress beside it that I’ll wear underneath the robe. A pair of black pumps for the fifteen most important steps of my life so far, and I only hope I can stay upright in them.

We’re graduating today.

There’s a long green robe that goes all the way to my shins hanging in my closet. A short navy blue dress beside it that I’ll wear underneath the robe. A pair of black pumps for the fifteen most important steps of my life so far, and I only hope I can stay upright in them. We're graduating today.

FINALLY, I write back in all caps, and I mean that it feels like I’ve lived four different lives in the space of high school, that so many days felt unending, eternal — like hell. But I also mean that it’s really over and they wouldn’t let us go back even if we wanted to.

We made it, she says, but it’s not totally true.

We didn’t all make it. Some of us were short a few credits or failed a class or got knocked up.

Some of us were driving too fast around a bend two Friday nights ago.

One of us will never graduate high school.

I think of Will the whole time I’m getting ready. Curling my hair, getting dressed, doing my nails. When I drive to Lacey’s and our moms stand shoulder to shoulder, wiping their eyes as they force us to take picture after picture in our graduation robes.

“Oh my God, not you too!” Lacey exclaims when she sees me tearing up beside her as my dad yells for us to say pumpernickel.

“It’s sad,” I sniff, defensive. I turn so Lacey and I are back to back, making finger guns to re-create the first-day-of-high-school pictures my dad took.

It’s cheesy as hell, yes, but I can’t wrap my head around Lacey’s composure, her total indifference to the fact that everything is about to change forever.

“I can’t believe Oliver got out of this,” she sighs as we change positions at Dad’s direction. Her twin brother, who is graduating with us and thus should be subject to all the parental weeping and reminiscing and photographing, left already to meet up with his friends before graduation.

After we’re done taking pictures, we pile into our cars to drive to McKillop High. Lacey rides with me, and as soon as we get into the car, she turns the music up high and starts to belt along with the radio. We’re driving past Avery Park when I get the sudden urge to pull over. Will used to live close by, but that’s not why I’m stopping.

“What the hell?” Lacey says, turning down the music, when she sees where we’ve stopped.

“Let’s go in the tunnel!” I say, already climbing out of the car.

“Are you serious? What are you, five?” she asks, correctly identifying the average age of the kids who are playing in the park right now.

“Oh, come on, Lace!” I insist. “For old times’ sake.”

Lacey has been edgy all day, and instead of letting loose with me, like I hope she will, she digs her heels in.

“We’re going to be late! And we’re going to mess up our gowns,” she says. Normally, this is the kind of thing I’d be worried about, but not today.

Today there is this strange force pushing against my chest, a closed fist tight around my sternum. I wish I could burst into a run, outsprint the feeling. I wish I could leave it behind in this park Lace and I used to play in as kids.

Today there is this strange force pushing against my chest, a closed fist tight around my sternum. I wish I could burst into a run, outsprint the feeling. I wish I could leave it behind in this park Lace and I used to play in as kids.

I make my way to the start of the tunnel, a winding, cylindrical slide that used to terrify us when we were little. Lacey follows.

“Really?” she says, one last attempt to shame me into changing my mind, but it doesn’t work. I climb the small stairs leading to the top of the slide, then with one last look around to make sure I’m not endangering any kids, I push off down the slide. The tunnel is just as dark and winding as when we were little, but a lot shorter than I remember it.

When I climb out of the other end, I can’t catch my breath from laughing.

“Dude,” Lacey says. “Your robe.”

I grab her hand and pull her toward the front end of the tunnel. “What, do they not give diplomas to people with rumpled robes?”

“Does it still make you want to shit your pants?” she asks, peeking into the tunnel.

“More now than ever,” I say.

Apparently, those are the magic words, because after I go through again, she follows me, letting out a loud whoop that I hear from outside as she spirals down the tunnel.

When she climbs out, she is laughing, and I convince her to go back one more time before we leave.

As we start toward the car, I catch a bunch of parents side-eyeing us in our too-big graduation gowns. A chubby-cheeked kid suddenly bolts in our direction, nearly taking Lacey down in the process, as he runs for the mouth of the tunnel.

“Nicholas, you come back here!” A flustered-looking woman hurries after him, but he doesn’t stop. I turn around to watch, silently rooting the kid on. I want to crouch down beside him and tell him to use the tunnel, to keep flying through the dark while he’s still allowed.

“When’s the last time we did that?” I ask Lacey when we reach my car, and she shrugs.

Then I’m starting the car and tears prick the backs of my eyes and I hate that so many Lasts happen when you aren’t paying attention.

There would have been a day, just like any other day, when kid Lacey and Oliver and I would have raced to reach the tunnel first. We would have gone through it, whooping like Lacey did, like we always did, except that when we climbed off that day, it was the last time and we didn’t know it.

There would have been a day, just like any other day, when kid Lacey and Oliver and I would have raced to reach the tunnel first. We would have gone through it, whooping like Lacey did, like we always did, except that when we climbed off that day, it was the last time and we didn’t know it.

“You know, our campers probably won’t be too much older than those kids at the park,” I tell Lacey as we pull into McKillop and circle the parking lot, looking for an empty spot.

“I’m hoping we get more like eleven-or twelve-year-olds,” she says, typing something on her phone in the passenger seat.

When I start to climb out of the car, Lacey stops me.

“Do you think Will Mason’s mom will be here?”

I look at her, surprised.

“I don’t know. Why?”

She clutches her backpack. “I want to return the jacket.”

After Megan Tomey found it the day after the accident, Will’s jacket ended up with Lauren Herbert, who passed it on to Alex Reynolds, who passed it on to Lacey. The strangest kind of hot potato.

“No one wants to be the one to give it to his mother,” Lacey says. Then she adds, “Maybe you could? If you see her?”

“Why can’t you do it?”

“Because,” she says. “Old people scare me.”

I roll my eyes. “His mom is, like, forty.”

“Fine. Older people scare me,” she amends. “You know you’re way better with parents than I am.”

It’s true: parents tend to love me. I’m not sure what this says about me.

“Anyway, I bet it would mean a lot to his mom to have it,” Lacey says, looking down. “I just don’t want to say the wrong thing. I . . .”

It’s a strange role reversal, Lacey being the one who’s afraid to do something, but I understand why she’s nervous to speak to Will’s mother, why Megan and Lauren and Alex were too. What do you say to someone who has just lost her son?

I also probably knew Will better than any of the other girls did.

“Okay,” I say. “If she’s here.”

On our walk to the football field, I think about the last time Will walked across this field. The last time he spoke to his friends, a cluster of tall, broad-shouldered guys also on the lacrosse team who look sadder than you should on your last day of school, and I wonder if he told them anything important. Anything that mattered.

On our walk to the football field, I think about the last time Will walked across this field. The last time he spoke to his friends, a cluster of tall, broad-shouldered guys also on the lacrosse team who look sadder than you should on your last day of school, and I wonder if he told them anything important. Anything that mattered.

We’re surrounded by our classmates, all in their graduation robes.

“I’m going to find Libby,” Lacey says, disappearing before I have the chance to offer to go with her. I stare after her, wondering what is up with her today.

I find my parents already seated next to Lacey’s mom, a few rows from the end of the stage. My mom stands up to give me a hug again, like we didn’t just see each other a few minutes ago. Her eyes travel over my robe, in slightly worse condition than she last saw it, but she doesn’t say anything. On any other day, she’d say something, but not today.

I bury my head in the crook of her neck and somehow I know that even if Will were here, today would still feel like losing something. There’s something about happy moments, happy days, that feels a little bit sad. It’s probably why people always say crap like how you can’t have joy unless you experience sorrow, that the two go hand in hand. But really I think the sadness of happy moments is just the awareness of time passing. You always know the good thing won’t last forever, and sadness is the acknowledgment of one second ending and the next beginning, then ending again.

I won’t ever walk through McKillop’s halls, late for class, late for anything.

I won’t always know all the people I know now.

I won’t ever fly through the tunnel without feeling slightly self-conscious, too big for it.

I won’t always remember the first boy I ever loved.