Cover Image: The Next Thing You Know

The Next Thing You Know

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Member Reviews

The topic of an end of life doula intrigued me to read this and one could tell a lot of research was done by the author, particularly providing info on the legal aspects.  However I found the timelines back and forth not enjoyable and it took me a long time to finish it. I found myself not really interested in the characters either.
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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Wow!  I finished this over twenty four hours ago and my mind still keeps going back to it.  The Next Thing You Know completely destroyed me in a good way.  It gave me all the feels from happiness at the most simple joy of a sunrise to sad tears for the early loss of a loved one to the fears of a parent just trying to do their best and everything in between.  The questions posed in this book about an end of life doula falling for her terminal patient are important, relevant and discussion worthy.  I’m hoping to convince my book club that we need to read this story next.
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Really good book. It as interesting because it had multiple perspectives and dealt with sensitvie subject matter such as coming to terms with the life you are living and what comes after life. I would recommend this book to many people.
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Emotional, and a unique perspective. I had never heard of a death doula before this book. I found the law aspect of this profession interesting. It was suspenseful and kept me invested, however I found the story to be anticlimactic. I was anticipating more and wishing for a different direction.
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This is a solid book that covers a topic that I knew nothing about, end of life doulas.  I appreciate the research and the unique topic picked by Ms. Strawser for this book.  While generally this was an entertaining read, it became slow at certain times and a bit of the side plots seemed unnecessary.  This is a 3.5 star ⭐️ book for me, but because I’m not sure I’d want to read it again, I’ll have to round down to 3 stars ⭐️, instead of up. I understand those who may have enjoyed this more than me.  Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy for review.
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The Next Thing You Know, by Jessica Strawser was not a far reach for me, since I have loved her books in the past.  I have enjoyed a few of them, so was really looking forward to reading this book.  This book focuses on Nova, a death doula (someone who helps a person come to terms with their impending death, and also helps to support they and their family in that time.)  Nova meets her new client, Mason, and she is surprised.  He is younger than the usual clientele, and he is also a little more quiet about his diagnosis and prognosis.  Nova's practice is a little unorthodox, compared to her partner's and so she follows the lead of what Mason might want from his doula.  This leads them down some paths and adventures, and eventually to a deeper relationship than just client and service provider.  

This book is told from multiple points of view, and from multiple timelines.  Although I did enjoy this, it got confusing at times, especially when a more "minor" character had a whole chapter dedicated.  Chapters were mostly told in Nova's "now" and "before" voice, but also chapters were told from the points of view of Mason, Nova's business partner, the business partner's daughter, Willow, Nova's mother and Mason's agent.  Some had a few chapters, some as little as just one chapter in their voice.  I thought I could have done without some of those minor characters having a whole chapter, and found a way to further the story without confusing the issue.  

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, for the education about what a doula is in this context, and the background that was set.  The end was also a good conclusion and put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  However, I felt like the middle of the story lagged a little bit, and I just wanted to fast forward to more "exciting" parts.  Overall, I am glad I read this book, I just wanted there to be a little more in that middle section that would have kept my interest for the duration of the book.  

Thank you to the Author, Publisher and Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really loved the character development and messaging around family. The information included about death doulas was unique and although I just knew how this story would end, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. If you need a good cry, this is the book for you!
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This is an unusual novel with a man dying and a death doula being the central characters. Nova has dedicated her life to helping people face death.  Usually for family members but this time it's Mason, a musician who is dying.   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. This is a very emotional book and you will find some parts harder to read.  Realistic and very relevant.  I received a copy of this ARC in  exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A raw, emotional read that deals with end-of-life plans, and preparation for death, even at a younger age.  Nova, an end-of-life doula, works with client, Mason, who is devastated to lose his ability to play music.  How will their relationship evolve?  
Such an intriguing read, and a field of work that I wasn't overly aware of.  This book caused me to reevaluate my end-of-life plans, even as someone not quite in their 40s.  Highly recommend...again, very emotional, though!
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From my blog: Always With a Book

This is the third book I’ve read by Jessica Strawser and once again she manages to give us quite the emotional story. I wasn’t quite sure I was going to be able to read this one as I had just lost my dog, but I have to say that while this book is sad, it is so much more than a book focused solely on death.

This is such a thought-provoking novel. Death is something we tend to not like to talk about or even think about and yet it is inevitable. And I’m so glad that I had the chance to read this book because it really makes you think and consider your own end-of-life. Yes, this is is a sad and heart-breaking read, but it’s also one full of hope and it’s inspiring at times, too.

I loved the way this story was told – it just grabbed me and never let up. Alternating from the present to the past, it slowly fills in all the pieces to the puzzle so that you finally get the big picture of what happened. It is mostly told from Nova and Mason’s points of view, though occasionally we hear from some of the other characters’ points of view as well. But the flashbacks, while at times might be a bit confusing, really do make sense the way it is told, and I just loved this. We get crucial information at just the right time and once it all comes together, I was left stunned! That reveal at the end came without any hints and I’m glad it wasn’t one of those things that was left open to interpretation.

This book really captured my heart and left me with lots of food for thought. While it is a bit heavy at times, it really would make for a good bookclub pick as there is so much to discuss here. It takes you on quite the emotional journey but to me, those are always the best reads!
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I was so up and down in this story. It never truly felt fully developed. I kept waiting for things to make sense. I loved Me Before You so I felt this would be similar. But sadly I was wrong. The characters frustrated me and I couldn’t make any connections. Basically the premise was all there but it was slow and flat. 

I could go on about things I don’t like but I’m not going to bash the work of this author. Would I suggest this book? Probably not. Will I read something by this author again? Possibly. 

Like always please remember this is my opinion. If this book interests you pick it up and read it. You just might love it! 

Thank you to NetGalley for the copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review.
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This was so enchanting! At first, it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books, ME BEFORE YOU - but it definitely had a uniqueness and stood on it's own :) I absolutely adore Jessica's writing!
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Heartfelt and engaging. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult. A recommended purchase for all collections.
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This was a beautifully written emotional roller coaster of a story.  In the US death with dignity is not a universally embraced concept as most people don’t want to even acknowledge their mortality. So many pass without ever having shared what they to happen when they die.  For those who have decided to get help to create their own path and navigate their own journey, they engage a death doula for their of life plans. This is a story of love, life, death, conflict, family relationships, business relationships, learning to live and embrace life and of course finding your own path to the end.  I truly don’t want to give too much away, but this was a thought provoking, emotional book about learning to live when you’ve got nothing to lose.
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I wish to thank Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for this intriguing and emotional novel. 
This is the story of Nova Houston, an end-of-life doula. While I have heard of a doula in regards to expectant mothers, I never knew that a “death doula” existed. An end-of-life doula assists a person that has a terminal illness with matters including funeral arrangements, meeting with family members to offer support and guidance during the patient’s final weeks/days. They do not offer legal advice or medical advice. They are more like a shoulder to lean on during the final days. 
Mason Shaylor is an indie musician who enlists Nova’s assistance. He is young (38) and very secretive regarding his deteriorating condition. Nova tries to obtain as much information as she can from him and delves into research to learn more about who he is. She invests a great deal of her time advising Mason. What happens to Mason is the crux of the novel with many ups and downs along the way. The ending will most likely surprise you. 
Nova works with her colleague Kelly Monroe, owner of “Parting Your Way” and often tries out of the box techniques with her clients. Nova also has her own tale to tell in the story, which is weaved throughout the novel.  
The chapters in this novel alternate between characters as well as with two different timelines- Now and Then. The characters were interesting enough to become invested in their lives and to continue reading to see where this will end. The author has a vast knowledge of the subject material. For me, this book moved a bit slow, often dragging when I was hoping it would pick up a bit. This is a story of hope, loss and love. Be prepared to cry a bit.
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A first time read of author, Jessica Strawser, and it won't be the last! This book is intense, powerful and so needed. No one likes to talk about death, most people avoid the subject entirely, which is not surprising. Our natural instinct to live and survive is strong. So when Mason, a thirty-six year old musician, discovers he has a disease that will eventually leave him unable to play his guitar, he feels he no longer has a purpose to live. 

He visits a 'death-doula' to help him sort out his feelings of his impending incapacity to do what he loves. The woman he meets, Nova, also in her thirties, changes the way he thinks about everything. It's a love story with a gentle ending.

As a plus, I was able to meet Jessica at a local book signing. 

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press.
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Nova is an end-of-life doula. As people face their deaths, she supports them in whatever ways they need–emotional, logistical, and even spiritual. She specializes in unusual or difficult cases, often with younger clients. As she begins work with Mason Shaylor, a musician whose affliction is a bit unclear and who has only said that his life is over, she feels a connection that is both uncomfortable and life-affirming–for them both.

Strawser takes on the subjects of life death head-on–how we face it, how we choose to live, and what makes a life worth living. The role of an end-of-life doula is fascinating–if ripe for controversy, as the novel reveals. As you might guess, there is a lot of sadness in this novel, but also a lot to think about.
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All of the emotions on this one! Oh my heart. From the very beginning, I was intrigued by the unique premise of this story, and enjoyed the overall feel, despite the emotionally heavy content. It came together nicely in the end and left me thinking of these memorable characters.
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Refreshing to see awareness around death and dying and death doulas, which you don't see much of in contemporary works. That being said, this novel is a bit uneven and slowly paced.  An emotional read and very thought provoking
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