Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibbs | Excerpt

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Publishing Date: May 20, 2019

Publisher: Borne Back Books

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary

ISBN: 0985716533 (ISBN13: 9780985716530)

Goodreads Rating: 4.54

S Y N O P S I S

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Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous. We’re talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he’s spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn’t gone well.

But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin’s life forever.

The three escape to France, in search of the old man’s long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?

— R E A D  A N  E X C E R P T —

CHAPTER 1
In which our hero complains about his assigned seat


You can’t make this shit up.
That’s what Garland Lenox would say about this story—my story—the story of how I tried to win

back Sadie Evans, my super famous ex-girlfriend. Of course, Garland said that a lot. It was his go-to reply anytime anyone raised so much as a skeptical eyebrow at one of the more outrageous details of his own life story. Details like ...

“Scientists said they’d never heard of a Great White that far up the Mississippi River, but when they pulled its tooth from my leg they had to rewrite their little science books.”

Or ...

“Saddam Hussein never could remember all the rules to chess. He’d move pawns backward and he wouldn’t even touch his bishops because he said they were papists.”

Or ...

“The Super Bowl is faker than professional wrestling. I know the fella in Bakersfield who used to write scripts for the NFL. Why’d you think they take two weeks off before the big game? It’s so the players can rehearse.”

Garland would watch you while he told his tales, and if he saw even a shadow of disbelief he’d pounce: “Son, you can’t make this shit up.”

In the week I knew the old man he said those words to me approximately sixty-three times, though for the record I’m not his son. Garland called everyone son, even Parker sometimes, though I’m pretty sure he knew she was a girl. Also for the record, I never once accused Garland of making up anything, though I usually had my doubts, and sometimes my face would betray me. But in my defense, you’d likely catch a raised eyebrow at the final table of the World Series of Poker after Garland said something like, “NASA built a space station on the dark side of the moon and they’ve been sending teams up there twice a week since 1974. I went there once in the eighties and trust me, it’s boring as hell. Just a bunch of nerds playing Atari.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This story—my story—began on a Monday, April 13th, which coincidentally was a year to the day from Black Saturday (the day I lost Sadie Evans), and not so coincidentally the day I met Garland Lenox. I was a junior then, at J. P. Hornby High school in Hornby, Alabama, a little town east of Birmingham named after Josiah Prescott Hornby, a former Alabama governor known best for keeping a passel of pet possums in the governor’s mansion.

“He was also a self-taught dentist,” our history teacher, Mr. Graham, said when one of my classmates broached the subject of our collective embarrassment, but we told him that only made it worse.

On that fateful morning I walked into Mr. Graham’s first period class and groaned when the realization I was about to spend five straight days in that abyss of despair manifested itself in a stabbing pain behind my left eye. Like boy bands, each class at J. P. Hornby was awful in its own way, but I hated Mr. Graham’s class in particular because of our alphabetically assigned seats, something he claimed sped up the attendance-taking process.

Of course there were shouts of protest when he arranged us on day one, because everyone knows last names are too arbitrary of a way to assign seats. Mr. Graham’s alphabetical reign of terror was particularly unkind to me. My last name is Green, because my ancestors had green teeth or began recycling way before it was cool. And because of this, in a cruel twist of surname fate, I had to spend sixty minutes each morning sitting behind Tyler Godfrey, who hadn’t cut or washed his hair since getting into Lord of the Rings cosplay in eighth grade, and in front of Parker Haddaway, the terrifying new girl who’d spoken exactly two words to me since her January arrival.

“Hi, I’m Edwin.” “Don’t. Care.”
washed his hair since getting into Lord of the Rings cosplay in eighth grade, and in front of Parker Haddaway, the terrifying new girl who’d spoken exactly two words to me since her January arrival.

“Hi, I’m Edwin.”
“Don’t. Care.”
That said, I thought pretty much everyone at J. P. Hornby was a dick slap, so in reality every

seat was an assigned seat between two people who’d serve time if mouth breathing were ever declared illegal. But even I’d have enjoyed a change of scenery once in a while.

Monday was our first day back at school from spring break, and I sat there between Parker and Tyler’s gross hair, rubbing my head and trying not to listen to the what and where of everyone’s vacations, when Mr. Graham walked in and all conversation slid to a stop.

“It’s April 13th,” he shouted, slamming both hands hard on his desk, “and that means we only have five weeks left together. So we’re going to spend the next four of them learning about World War II, and then we’ll cram the last sixty years of US history into one week because the people in Montgomery who created your curriculum are imbeciles.”

A murmur of excitement passed over the room, but only because wars sound like a departure from the doldrums of history, when in fact they’re no more exciting to study than the Teapot Dome Scandal. Mr. Graham drove this point home over the next fifty minutes as he droned on about the end of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. He didn’t even mention Hitler until the last five minutes or so, and only to tell us he’d written a book called Mein Kampf.

Then, only a few minutes before the bell freed us, Mr. Graham closed his notes and said, “You’re all going to hate me, but for the next four weeks you will have an outside assignment. In teams of two you will interview someone who lived through World War II. Correction— someone who lived through and remembers World War II. If your great aunt Myrtle was born in 1944, that’s not going to cut it. I will provide a question each Monday, and on Fridays you will report back what your eyewitness to history had to say. This will bring history to life in a way this outdated textbook ...” And here he held aloft his copy of US History 1866–2009 before dropping it to the ground with a thud. “... could never do.”

Groans of dissent rose from around the room but Mr. Graham silenced us with a raised hand. “As for teams,” he said, “you have sixty seconds to find a partner or I will assign one for you. Ready, go.” I watched as three dozen juniors calmly began pairing up by social status with alarming efficiency. I didn’t move. There was no need to. Soon Tyler Godfrey would turn around and say, “I’m glad to be partners with you, Edwin Green ... here at the end of all things,” and I’d say, “Yeah, sure, whatever.” I counted to five in my head, and on cue Tyler turned around and began to speak, but a voice behind me said, “Forget it, Frodo. Edwin Green is mine.”

Tyler’s eyes widened, and my eyes widened, and he quickly turned around leaving me to face the terror behind me alone. I took a deep breath, then four more, and turned around to acknowledge my partner, but she had earbuds in and appeared to be sleeping. What the hell?

Mr. Graham spent the last minute of class extolling the academic benefits of his assignment over a rising crescendo of objections, and as always he kept going after the bell rang because he liked to shout his final words of the day over the bustle of closing books and zipping backpacks. “Remember,” he shouted, “to know nothing of what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child. Ten points if anyone knows who said that. Anyone? No one?”

It was class tradition for someone to answer “Beyoncé” to Mr. Graham’s extra point question, but that day everyone shuffled out in silence, pissed off about this new time consuming assignment. Seemed we all believed we had better things to do than drive around town interviewing geriatrics about world wars. Well, everyone except for Parker Haddaway, who was still asleep at her desk when I left the room. Sooner or later I’d have to talk to her about the assignment, but I figured it could wait until after lunch. I’d skipped breakfast, and she was not the sort of person you could talk to on an empty stomach. So I went to my locker and grabbed my shorts for second period gym.

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A B O U T  T H E  A U T H O R

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Chad Alan Gibbs is the author of three non-fiction books, including God & Football, a Southern Living magazine favorite pigskin-themed page-turner. He has written for CNN.com and The Washington Post, made multiple apperances on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and for three years wrote an award-winning column in the Opelika-Auburn News on his life as a stay-at-home dad. Gibbs lives in Auburn, Alabama with his wife, two sons, two dogs, and an embarassingly large collection of Star Wars action figures. Two Like Me and You is his first novel.

Raised in Santa Monica, California, Scott still resides in the Los Angeles  area close to his family.

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