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Title: The Next Thing You Know
Author: Jessica Strawser
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
Page Count: 344
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
A musician facing the untimely end of his career. An end-of-life doula with everything, and nothing, to lose. A Star Is Born meets Me Before You in this powerful novel by the author of A Million Reasons Why.
As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.
When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.
Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.
Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.
Jessica Strawser’s The Next Thing You Know is an emotional, resonant story about the power of human connection, love when you least expect it, hope against the odds, and what it really takes to live life with no regrets.
The Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strawser is best described as a contemporary romance with a side of drama. This is definitely not the happily ever after kind of romance but actually needs a trigger warning for suicide. The story in The Next Thing You Know is one that is told by changing the point of view between a few of the characters and also taking place in a before and after timeline style.
Nova Huston is a end-of-life doula, she helps terminally ill clients settle all of their final affairs being that rock that many need in their life during that time. Mason Shaylor came to Nova’s business wanting to hire Nova but was very vague on just what his prognosis could be. Nova could see that something was going on with Mason’s arm preventing him from playing music which was his passion in life but what Nova doesn’t expect is to begin to have feelings for Mason as she tries to help him.
The Next Thing You Know by Jessica Strawser is the type of novel that let’s you know early on a big event that has happened then takes you back to piece together they how and why. The story is an emotional one with some drama thrown into the mix but there wasn’t much that was surprising to the story as it went on. I did enjoy the characters and the story but felt this one just wasn’t as strong as other books I’ve read from the author in the past with it being sort of predictable leaving my rating at three and half stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
JESSICA STRAWSER is the author of the book club favorites ALMOST MISSED YOU (a B&N Best New Fiction pick), NOT THAT I COULD TELL (a bestselling Book of the Month selection), FORGET YOU KNOW ME (called “masterful” in a starred Publishers Weekly review, and now in paperback), and the 2021 SheReads, E! News, & Goodreads “Most Anticipated” title A MILLION REASONS WHY, releasing to a starred Booklist review in March 2021. Her fifth novel, THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, is forthcoming in March 2022 (all from St. Martin’s Press).
She is Editor-at-Large for Writer’s Digest magazine, where she served as editorial director for nearly a decade, and a contributing editor at Career Authors. Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans nearly 20 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing. A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she was named 2019 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
A popular speaker at writing conferences, book clubs, and book festivals nationwide, she is a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers, Fiction Writers Co-op, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Connect with her on Twitter @jessicastrawser and Facebook and Instagram @jessicastrawserauthor. Visit jessicastrawser.com to learn more, read some of her work and sign up for her email list to receive occasional updates and hellos.