The Next Thing You Know
by Jessica Strawser
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Pub Date 22 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 08 Mar 2023
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.
"Grab the tissues." - People Magazine
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 370 members
I finished this book with tears in my eyes. It was such a beautiful story. Nova and Mason had such a strong connection it drew you in. The secondary characters are well written and developed. I longed to be a part of the story so I could comfort or even just enjoy the company of these people.
I have read a few other of Jessica Strawser's books but this one is my favorite. I feel like each story is better than the last, but this one will be hard to top.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
I am an emotional mess. This was one intense look at life, love and decisions, outcomes and just has me questioning… am I living my best life. End of life doulas … never knew that existed, but I totally understand why they do what they do .
Another fantastic book as only Jessica Strawser can write.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will definitely stay with me for a long time.
A poignant insightful book that pushes the reader to look within herself, her life, her relationships and her future. Highly recommended.
Just WOW! This book kept me up late at night. First to keep on reading, now I can’t quit thinking about the story and what it means to our every day lives. Such an incredible tale of the ‘death doula’ and her journey through life and death. Empowering view into our every day psyche and how we choose to live every single day.
Seamlessly woven story that starts with a bang and literally never lets go. I did not want it to end.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Huge 5 stars from me.
The Next Thing You Know by J. Strawser, published by St. Martin's Press is a stnad-alone. A raw and gritty read, complex and very touching. I connected with the characters from the first page and I read the book, cover to cover, in one sitting. I literally couldn't put it down.
An outstanding book that gave me all the feels that stays with me long after reading the last page.
I usually read mysteries & thrillers but wanted a break to read something dramatic. I am so glad I did, because The Next Thing You Know is fantastic! I’ve read Jessica Strawser before so I had high hopes, and it exceeded every expectation and then some! The plot is warm, yet heartbreaking, and the characters are so lovely. The ending was perfect in every way. This book deserves to be on all the best sellers lists!!!
This was a beautiful story, but it's one of those ones that hurt too. Without giving too much away, I appreciated that the author was very up front about what happens with one of the characters (though admittedly I held out hope for a different ending for far too long). The ending wrapped up pretty quickly.
Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jessica Strawser is a brave author that has decided to address the mysterious and powerful subject of death. Yet she softens it with a love story. It's well researched with pointers that the reader may want to jot down.
It's about a 36-year-old singer-songwriter, Mason, who walks inside a cozy house in Cincinnati to ask questions with Kelly, the owner of "Parting Your Way." She is an end-of-life doula along with her partner, Nova. Kelly described her role as a non-medical caretaker who helps with one's peace of mind when the end of life is near. She specializes with the elderly and her partner, 33-year-old Nova, takes the younger clients.
I would suspect that if someone asked people on the street what a death doula is, they wouldn't have a clue. Kelly notes that American culture avoids this topic as much as possible.
In the book, Mason signs up for the service with a packet of forms to complete. The chapters move from "now" to "then" with an historical glance. In the past, Mason suffered from a surgery leaving him with a burning sensation in his right arm and hand causing an inability to play his beloved guitar for his fans. This was emotionally devastating. However, he didn't reveal to Nova the full extent of a medical condition which would end his life in the near future. Was he actually going to die? Nova wasn't going to ask.
Overall, this is a book that has a strong message, it's well written and one that leaves the reader with heavy thoughts regarding death. Kelly said, "people should talk more openly about death." The book was written during the pandemic with headline news posting high Covid numbers. Yet, I think it may take awhile before people are comfortable with an open discussion on death with so many opinions on what happens at the end. However, those bookclubs looking for a big discussion should pick this one.
My thanks to Jessica Strawser, St. Martin's Publishing Group and NetGalley for allowing me to read this copy with the expected release date of March 22, 2022.