The Opposite of Maybe. Maddie Dawson. 2014. Broadway Books. 400 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of Edelweiss.] When I started reading The Opposite of Maybe, I wasn’t immediately drawn in. I wasn’t sure I’d relate to the characters, Rosie and Jonathan, because they seemed like such anomalies. They’re middle-aged, seemingly commitment-phobic, and generally not what you expect of people their age. Then I kept reading. Instead of what I expected, I was treated to a story about the messy reality of relationships, both familial and romantic, and how we make sense of our choices. I found myself constantly conflicted about Rosie. One minute, she seemed so headstrong and assured, but the next, she seemed weak and complacent. This balance made her real and made her endearing. I felt completely caught up in her life — the confusion about impending motherhood, the heartbreak of a failed relationship, and the joy of a new friendship. Rosie is the heart of this story, through which everyone else’s stories are highlighted.
The Good Enough Husband. Sylvie Fox. [ARC provided courtesy of LibraryThing Member Giveaway.] Sometimes you just have get away. Pack some things, get in your car, and drive. That’s exactly what Hannah Keesling does when she finds herself contemplating whether to walk away from her marriage to her husband Michael. She’s trapped in what she considers a passionless marriage with someone who doesn’t understand her. Her getaway is supposed to give her a chance to really think about what she wants, not just with her marriage, but also with her life, with solitude. However, a carsick dog puts her squarely in the path of veterinarian Ben Cooper in a small town in Oregon – just a pit stop on her path. For her dog’s benefit, she’s forced to spend her down time in the coastal town and has an unlikely opportunity to get closer to the doctor.
Wantin. Truth Devour. 2013. Publicious Self-Publishing. 189 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of Goodreads First Reads program.] I find it refreshing to go on a journey with a narrator, watching their life unfold in front of them and follow their thoughts and actions as they process what it means in the grand scheme of their life. Wantin is a spectacular example of this, as it follows Talia as she embarks upon womanhood. What intrigued me most about Wantin was the book itself. The book is white with a face being revealed from behind a splattering of vibrant colors. The face appears to be that of a young girl looking back at the world. I was curious before reading, wanting to know the symbolism behind it. After reading it, however, I find that it is a foreshadowing of Talia’s experiences and is extremely fitting. Her story is absolutely one in which you begin by seeing things from the eyes of an inexperienced girl; however, as Talia’s journey continues, what she sees is enhanced by her growth.
So Easy to Love. J.A. Pak. 2012. Eden Street Press. 158 pages. [Source: Personal Copy] So Easy to Love is a novella from J.A. Pak, and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. I suppose I expected this to be a simple, run of the mill novella that told a trite story of a messy dalliance between colleagues. It definitely wasn’t that, and I’m glad. It’s actually the story of a young woman, Susanna, and her various relationships among family, friends, and coworkers. The relationships are murky and overlap often, in some cases with no clear resolution to hovering questions. I think that’s what kept me most invested in the book — seeing the evolution of her relationships with others as well as the development of her self-awareness was exciting to watch. I started the book thinking she was meek and helpless, but toward the end of the book I began to see her as someone who took hold of her life as best she could.