Cover Image: You'll Be Fine

You'll Be Fine

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Member Reviews

OK, so it was the books cover that attracted me to the book. But, I'm not disappointed. 

This book reminded me of a soap. UK readers will understand. It just gave me that impression. It just sauntered a long and yes, some bits were funny, but more of a snigger than a laugh out loud.

I usually find flashbacks annoying but in this book they seemed to help.

I really can't decide if I loved this book or disliked it. I think  you can't really dislike it because it's just a? Oh I don't know. But I do know it suits it's title  "You'll Be Fine", and it suits it's sloth front cover.

I'm sitting firmly on the fence with this one and I have a seat belt on.

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Alex returns home after the death of her mother and agrees to profile a local restaurant owner (and former girlfriend) for an article.  She has to come to terms with her mother's death and her feelings for the ex, while dealing with family and a new maybe-more-than-friendship with a woman she meets while back home.  I really enjoyed this.  All of the characters were great, especially Johanna.  4 stars.
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I LOVE sloths and the adorable martini drinking dude on the cover was 100% why I decided to request this book from Netgalley. I'm so glad I did because, even though this book is out of my comfort zone, I really enjoyed it. 

In You'll be Fine, Alex is a 30-something woman who is having a rough go of things. She was recently dumped via letter by her live-in girlfriend and then comes to find out that her estranged mother has passed away. Alex returns to her small hometown to see her brother and help him sort out their mother's passing. While she's there she rekindles an old love, sparks up a new one, and discovers what family really means to her. 

This book was not the light romance/drama that I expected but rather an intense family drama with a sprinkling of comedy. It was different for sure but I thought all of the characters were wonderful and really developed over the course of the book. I'd really like an Aunt Johanna in my life lol. 

My only gripes are that I wish there was more to the ending, as I like 100% closure in books. Also there DEFINITELY should be trigger warnings at the start of this book! With such a light fluffy cover, I did not expect sexual assault to be a major component of this book and I would have liked a heads up. 

Overall I gave this book 4 stars on my Goodreads & I will absolutely keep a look out for whatever this author does next - she has such a way with character building!
Thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for my honest review.
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3.75 Stars. This was pretty good. The story was different than I expected –that is until I saw it better explained in the reviews- but I still enjoyed it. I like when a book can surprise me a bit as long as it’s not too different from what I want to read. This is a new author for me and I was impressed with her writing. Her writing felt comfortable and I will keep an eye out for more stories by her.

Just to make clear, this is not really a romance. I don’t even think I will put the romance tag on this and I’m pretty lenient with my tags. The main character spends time with other women, but to me it was more comfort than romance. Anyway, this story is in what I would consider a contemporary drama category, with a surprisingly light sprinkling of comedy. This book deals with some tough subjects, I’ll put the trigger warning under a spoiler (view spoiler) so I was surprised to experience some of the lighter and even funnier moments. They ended up being some of the moments that stuck most with me the most so I thought it was a nice overall mix.

I was very impressed with the characters. This is a really good group of characters and even if you don’t like them all, or they drive you a bit nuts, they were all well written. Our main character, Alex, is a mess. After the death of her mother, she is finally realizing what a mess her life is but she doesn’t know how to fix it. Alex, will drive you nuts at times as a reader, but it still doesn’t stop you from rooting for her during her journey. For me, her Aunt Johanna, a trans woman, absolutely stole the show. Many of the warm and even funny moments revolved around her so most of her scenes were my favorite.

I have to talk about the f-word, FLASHBACKS. I think everyone knows by now how much I hate them but shocker… I didn’t mind them at all in this book! In fact, I thought they actually added to the story. There might have been a couple I would have edited out, and one or two transitions that where not the clearest, but this is an example of using flashbacks the right way. This is the way to use flashbacks to advance the story and make it a more enriching experience, not just an easy way to add some background. Well done Michalski.

This book had a different feel, but in a good way. The writing was well done and I was drawn into the book easily. I would definitely recommend this to readers looking for a contemporary drama type of story or for people looking for something different than the usual sapphic romance. Michalski, has won me over with this one and I would absolutely read her again.
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This was such a great read! I found myself laughing, crying, and even cringing at some points with things characters said or did. All the characters were wonderfully complex, even some of the more side characters, which I loved.

One of my favourite parts of this story was the main character Alex learning more about herself, even if it wasn’t in the best of circumstance, the aftermath of her mother passing away. She doesn’t make the best decisions throughout the novel – passing up the possibility of a loving relationship, for the rekindling of an old love that wasn’t the healthiest relationship for her. Then she learns from this, and learns more about who she is and who she wants to be in the process.

I loved the narrative voice, Alex’s point of view made interesting, and sometimes comical observations. Her internal thoughts we enlightening too, both into her character and the often bitter and cynical way she sees the world.

One thing reading this novel did for me was make me reflect on my relationship with my own mother. I have been blessed to have the most beautiful woman as my mother. I am so lucky to have her in my life. Alex’s relationship with her own mother was strained at best, though she may have meant well, most of the memories Alex related throughout the story were negative.

Even with Alex’s questionable decisions, and the quite negative narration throughout, this was a heartfelt and beautiful read. Highly recommended for anyone who is after a well thought out read, focused mainly on character development and relationships.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher NineStar Press who sent me this free eARC (eAdvanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an honest review. This title was published 2nd August 2021. You can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bookstore
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4.5 Stars

“You’ll Be Fine” by Jen Michalski is about Alex Maas, who is forced back to her hometown after her mother’s sudden death. She suffered from trauma and being an outcast because of her queerness so when she left her hometown after high school, she has no plans to return. However, her brother Owen, isn’t exactly capable of handling things on his own and depends on her to come home. To keep her mind off her problems she asks her editor to let her write an article on a local upcoming chef, Juliette. Juliette also happens to be her secret ex-girlfriend from high school and she’s looking for some closure, or something like it. While on the job, she meets the editor of the local paper, Carolyn, who she takes an interest in as well, even if only as a friend and a distraction from everything else. 

This is one of those messy reads where the protagonist isn’t perfect and there’s a lot going on that she’s dealing with. She doesn’t always cope very well and sometimes makes bad choices. There were several instances where Alex and her poor choices had me shaking my head but I could understand why she made them, even if I didn’t like them. I just wanted her to do better and eventually she does. I loved the growth and to a degree, forgiveness she has to give in order to move on. There’s also a lot of grief and healing that has to go on. Alex had a troubled relationship with her mother and is dealing with guilt and anger leftover from her childhood. She also has a strained relationship with her brother that brings its own issues. On top of that, her Aunt Johanna, shows up and has some startling news that she has to deal with. Alex finds out not everything is as it seems and sometimes what you believe isn’t always true. Suffice it to say, Alex is dealing with a lot. 

There’s a good bit of angst but there’s also a lot of humor and heart. It never feels too heavy or overwhelming. Michalski does an excellent job of balancing the bad with the good. There’s a small cast of characters and they each stand out on their own and were enjoyable. 

There are some flashbacks that help explain Alex’s past and I feel they were necessary and added some depth and emotion; but there weren’t too many and none were long so they shouldn’t be a factor in not reading. 

I read romance novels about 99.8% of the time. “You’ll Be Fine” falls into the .2%, in my opinion. This is a wonderful family dramady or LGBTQI+ fiction but I think calling this a romance is misleading and readers looking for romance will be a disappointed in this selection. There are some small levels of romance interests but not enough to classify as a romance. However, I fully recommend this is if you’re looking a break from your regular reads. Like I said, it’s messy and dramatic and funny and kept my interest from beginning to end. 

There are some trigger warnings for this one I believe people should be aware of. They are homophobia, sexual assault (flashback), and child abuse.

I received an ARC from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and NineStar Press for an ARC of You’ll Be Fine in exchange for an honest review. 

To be completely honest, the first thing that drew me into this book was the cover. Sloths are my absolute favorite animal and I loved getting to see one placed on the cover of what turned out to be a spectacular book. 

The book follows Alex as she begrudgingly has to return to her hometown after her mother, someone she has an extremely complicated past with, accidentally overdoses in her own home. When she’s home however not only does she have to pick up the pieces of her family, but she is also back in the same hometown that her closeted ex-girlfriend has become a popular chef in. And if that’s not enough on her plate, Alex is still reeling from her breakup six months ago, and now may have a chance at a brand new love in her hometown. In instances like this, where the world seems to simply be on fire and there’s not enough water to even begin diminishing the flame: all you want is someone to whisper in your ear, “You’ll Be Fine”. 

Overall I thought that it was an endearing novel focusing on grief, complicated and broken family dynamics, and learning how to not feel like you have to be okay all the time. Additionally I loved that it had adult LGBTQ representation and relationships that were not centered around the character’s sexuality and journey. I rate it 4.5 stars rounded down, and I cant wait to see it hit the bookshelves!
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The book is about Alex who goes back to her hometown after the tragic death of her mother. To take her mind off of things, she also takes an assignment interviewing local restaurateur and high school lover Juliette, although I’d personally put lover in quotes because their relationship turned out to be much more complicated than that.
You’ll Be Fine perfectly towed the line between soapy, family melodrama and humorous lightheartedness. It also took an interesting look at grief, and embodied further that no two people handle grief the same way, especially if it’s for/about a person one has a complicated past and relationship with, just as Alex had had with her mother.
Jen Michalski did amazing in how she wrote the complexities behind the relationships of the characters, particularly our main character Alex’s relationship with her family--it was complex and layered and never one note or archetypal, which I think helped ground the story in realism in a way that doesn’t completely disregard the escapist, entertaining element I personally want in my fiction. 
The book was rich with flashbacks which I usually dislike reading, but I found that it added to the story and not necessarily took away from it. None of them were drawn out by any means, which tends to be my usual complaint about it.
The last thing I loved was, of course, the representation. Our main character was lesbian, and the book tackled her coming out and her romantic relationships with women with such care. There was some depiction of homophobia and queer trauma, but it never felt like it was included for the sake of having a queer character go through it and come out all Changed and New and Better. 
Overall, You’ll Be Fine was an entertaining and heartfelt story that was at times comforting even with the subject matter it dealt with. Highly recommend for fans of soapy, family dramas and complex queer leads!
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Thank you to the publisher for an ARC.

How do we deal with our trauma when the ones who were supposed to protect us, hurt us the most? That is what Alex the main character has to wrestle with in the wake of her moms death. The book does deal with some heavy topics. The book questions the idea of home and family in relation to childhood trauma, secrets, and learning to let go.

Overall I really enjoyed this book but at times it felt a little one note and that something was missing. I sometimes had a hard time connecting to the characters.  There was not much of a plot, it was much more internally driven by the main character. Overall though a solid read for anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent and coming to terms with a complicated relationship and navigating the fallout of grief.
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This book was provided to me compliments of #NetGalley for my honest opinion. 

I admit the picture of a sloth attracted me to this one. You’ll be fine rehashes old relationships with family and friends post tragedy.
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Alex is doing fine. She lives in an apartment in DC working as a writer for a lifestyle magazine. It’s not an amazing job, but she likes it. She feels accomplished. Then, her girlfriend of the last four years, the girl Alex thought was “the one”, breaks up with her. But that’s fine, she’ll be okay.

On her way home from work one day, she gets a call from her brother (probably to overshare some tidbit about Tortoise, his pet cat). She lets it go to voicemail, but then he calls again. Not in the mood for a boring conversation about nothing, Alex is frustrated when she finally picks up.

“Mom’s dead.”

Oh. Right. So there’s that.

Soon enough, Alex is catching a bus to her hometown in Maryland. She hasn’t been back since she graduated high school when she high-tailed it out of there as fast as she possibly could. Aside from the mandatory weekly phone calls with her mother, she hasn’t seen her in years and now… well. Now she’s dead.

Alex grew up with her brother and their single mother. Their father left them when they were little and it was only her mom around to look after them. She must have cared about her children in a strange, twisted way, but she was far from a perfect mother. Even now, fifteen years later, Alex harbors the pains from her childhood in a metaphorical cardboard box inside her head, closed up tight and hidden in the depths of her metaphorical closet.

She’s fine, she thinks. She’s moved on.

But when she returns to the place where everything started – the place where her mother developed a prescription drug addiction, the place where Lewis ruined her life, everything rushes quickly back to the surface. Alex is an emotional wreck, something that is entirely out of character for her. As if things weren’t complicated enough, an unexpected family reunion forces some of her mother’s secrets into the light. Struggling to maintain some sense of normalcy, Alex befriends Carolyn from the local newspaper. Despite all the chaos, she begins to feel a connection with Carolyn that feels like more than just friendship… Throw in an article she volunteered to write on Juliette, an old flame that maybe hasn’t quite flickered out, and you have a recipe for disaster.

My Thoughts…

Wow. What a roller coaster of emotions! This book was utterly captivating. I was fully absorbed by Alex’s story and was rooting for the love interest/s at each twist and turn. Alex’s anger at the hand she’d been dealt in life mixed with bittersweet recollections from her past were the perfect recipe for a compelling read.

I really appreciated reading a book featuring LGBTQ+ themes that didn’t revolve around the main character discovering her sexuality. Obviously those books are fantastic and wholeheartedly deserve a place on the bookshelf, but it was so nice to read about a main character who was already sure of themselves (at least in that department).

I thought the author did an excellent job of exploring both the difficulties of coming out as gay in a small town as well as the reality of dating and meeting people as an adult. The book followed the evolution of Alex’s love life in the form of reminiscence about her first love from high school, then her issues in her most recent long-term relationship, and finally the beginnings of something new. I loved seeing the feelings bloom with the new love interest and was so happy with the ending (even if it wasn’t the stereotypical ending that I was expecting).

The one critique I had of this book was the slight confusion I had at points, particularly towards the end. There were a few times where I had to re-read the page because I was confused about who was actually in the room during the conversation. There were some portions of dialogue that were missing bits of clarification in between to show the setting more obviously. Although this took me out of the story a little bit, it was easy to fall back into the world once I turned the page.

If you like reading books with LGBTQ+ themes including gay/lesbian and transgender, this is a beautiful story that’s easy to fly through in a few sittings.
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A book on family drama and everything in between. Alex, a writer in Washington DC, finds out from her brother, Owen, that her mother has died. 

Living through years of abuse, and her dad not being in the picture at all, Alex has a hard time trying to cope with her mother’s death, and will do anything to distract her from it. Even if it means writing an article on her ex-girlfriend’s thriving restaurant. What could go wrong there? 

Yet, to her surprise, her aunt Johanna, makes her way down to the family home to offer her condolences, but also comes with a big secret of her own.

I really liked this book. The plot was enjoyable to read, and the characters were really well thought out. The banter between Johanna and the siblings, really brought out the lightheartedness of this book, whilst still showing the hardships of Alex accepting her mother’s death. 

I loved the romance aspect too. Although I wasn’t keen on Juliette and her past relationship with Alex, I was 100% rooting for Carolyn! Whilst I was satisfied with the ending of this book, I wished there was a little more romance between Alex and her love interests. 

One thing I should mention is that the flashbacks within this book caught me off guard at times. So please adhere to the content warnings at the start of this book. 

Overall, You’ll be Fine was an exciting relatable read and I’ll definitely recommend!
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I won’t lie, what attracted me to this book was the cover and the title. I mean, it’s a sloth, how can you not want to read it? 
The sloth I believe is for something in the book, but also symbolic for our main character.

I feel like the main, Alex, is stuck in her troubled past and the death of her mother is finally bringing her some much needed acceptance, self reflection, self respect and some grown up actions. And some really stupid things as well. I must issue a warning as well, a warning for flashback, I am not a fan of those, and the flashbacks in this one need additional warning for child abuse, sexual abuse and homophobia in the very least. This book is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster I suppose. The flashbacks in this book do serve a plus pose, but I still don’t like it much. There is so much that happens in this book that I feel that the focus is off at times. To me this book should be about how Alex deals with her past and finds herself now, and along side all that she finds her family and maybe even love. 

It’s an emotional read that could be a bit better in my opinion, maybe a bit more a happy or more hopeful ending? I’m not sure. It does seem more like real life this way, nothing ever ends as happy as in much of the books, but it’s still a book… I think I’ve been more in the mood for some lighter reading, a bit more fun and happiness. This book is decent, just nog the right fit for me at the moment.
3.5 stars
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This is a family drama novel with heavy emphasis on the drama.  Alex writes puffy articles for a Washington DC magazine.  She returns to her hometown when her brother Owen lets her know their mom has passed away from an accidental overdose.  Alex's home life was a wreck growing up.  Her mother was abusive at times also drinking heavily and used drugs.  Alex has visited home only occasionally since getting out of town to attend college.  Owen has a PHD but has failed to launch and works at a local big box store.  Their father left before they can remember him and the only relative to contact the dads sister that occasionally sent notes or birthday cards.

While in her hometown Alex offers to do an article on an up and coming restaurant run by her ex-closeted girlfriend Julliette.   This story is told with lots of flashbacks as Alex tries to make sense of her past and how she feels about her mothers passing.  There is lots to like, especially local newspaper editor Caroline but there is a lot of misery and grief to read through.  I felt Aunt Johanna got too easy of a pass for leaving the kids in the care of a volatile mother.  And I wasn't sure if she was there to bond with the kids or to get "things" from the house.  

Alex is resilient and yet broken from her dysfunctional family life.  I want her to succeed and feel she took steps to improve her mental health.  I prefer books that don't make you read as much between the lines but I was happy with Alex's direction and the ending. (3.5 stars)  Thank you NetGalley and NineStart Press, LLC for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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I really like the way that this book went into grief and childhood trauma, and enjoyed the journey Alex went through to realize that she really needed to be a bit more introspective on how she dealt with her emotions. One thing I was not a fan of was how easily it was glossed over by Alex and Owen that Johanna had knowingly left her children in an abusive household. I would have liked to see that part of their relationship explored more in-depth but besides that, I really liked what the book had to offer.
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