Writing a book set in the future is tough. Our world is moving so quickly that I have no idea what five years from now will look like, let alone 2120. One thing I do know: people will probably not be driving their own cars anymore.
In Jesse 2.0, that’s exactly the case. Jesse 2.0 is the clone of Maddy’s dead boyfriend Jesse, and the two decide to escape before Jesse’s creators can find him. There’s just one problem: if they use their credit cards to pay for a self-driving cab, their parents will know where they are.
Luckily, Jesse’s uncle owns Classic Car World, a museum that houses all of the old cars you have to drive yourself. Jesse lets Maddy pick the car for their escape, but for those who love the thought of picking from every car ever driven, his choice is probably more than a little surprising. Here is an excerpt from that scene:
Uncle Ric had the only collection of classic cars in LA, most of which he had inherited from his father-in-law, who had bought the cars with drug money so the feds wouldn’t catch on. He had the super old stuff—1946 Buick, 1955 Porsche, 1957 Thunderbird—but more modern stuff too, like the 2025 BMW. Now that so few people in LA owned or drove cars, Uncle Ric’s business had spiked, with tourists from all over the world dying to see what amounted to one giant parking lot.
Maddy and I walked the aisles between the bumpers while Uncle Ric went back in the house to shower and prepare Aunt Sofia for the biggest shock of her life. Even though I’d been to Classic Car World a million times and even driven a few of them around Uncle Ric’s track after hours, a thrill ran through me when I thought about actually taking one of his babies out on the road. Sure, I was an art geek, but what was more artistic than the classic curve and vibrant color of a yellow Porsche 911?
“No. Definitely not. Oh no, that one can’t be safe. Nope,” Maddy commented as he looked at each model. Then he stopped at what looked like a small bus and read the description on the plaque at its concrete base: 1963 Volkswagen Bus. “I like this one.”
“A bus?” My voice went up an octave. “You have the choice between any of these cars—including, by the way, several Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bugattis—and you want the Volkswagen?”
“I like it,” he said, running a hand over the VW symbol like he was petting its silver nose and creamy face. “It’s… cute.”
“Yes, Jesse, cute. And it reminds me of this book I read a while back—”
“Fine, fine, we’ll take the bus,” I grumbled, “just spare me the lecture, Professor Stone.”
“The old Jesse loved my lectures,” Maddy said as he opened the unlocked door and got in the driver’s side.
“I am the old Jesse. And no, he didn’t.”
Maddy put his hands on the wheel and closed his eyes. Even silent, his voice was in my head, telling me about Kerouac or Huck Finn or whoever the heck else this reminded him of. I swear, those characters were more alive to Maddy than I was, even before I was dead. It used to drive me nuts, the way he called authors by their first names or referred to characters like they were his neighbors, because it seemed like he spent most of his time thinking of them instead of me.
Then again, it’s what made him so completely Maddy that I could never love anyone else.
And I did love him.
Even when he did crazy things like lock himself in a VW Bus in the middle of Classic Car World so that I had to yell through the window that I didn’t mean that thing I’d said about the lecture.
Although Maddy may have strange taste when it comes to cars, he has good taste when it comes to significant others.
The only problem?
In the time since Jesse’s death, Maddy has found someone else to love.
What would the world be like if anyone who died could come back?
That’s a question that bookworm Maddy Stone never thought he would need to answer. But when he saves a drowning man at the psychiatric facility where he volunteers, he discovers the man is his ex-boyfriend, Jesse, who committed suicide several months before. Jesse tells him that not only was he revived using “reproduction technology,” a type of cloning that relies on the same principals as teleportation, but that the doctor who brought him back was Maddy’s father. There was only one stipulation: Jesse could never talk to Maddy again.
Now, with the help of Georgia, Maddy’s new girlfriend, Maddy and Jesse must escape before their parents track them down. But when Maddy finds out that maybe Jesse—or Jesse 2.0, as Maddy calls him—isn’t the only repro, he must decide whether to continue with his new life or return to the Maddy he was before he knew the truth.
About the Author
If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.
A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.
During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.
Author’s Website: www.annabellejay.com
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14191901.Annabelle_Jay
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Annabelle-Jay-376249719245415