Throughout the novel’s events, Julia’s theme of self-discovery and journey to understand her needs independent of the others in her life is carefully nurtured. In returning to her first love, painting, after willingly putting it aside for Asher, she reawakens her artist’s heart, in the process re-evaluating her life’s decisions to determine what suits the woman she’s becoming. None of the answers are easy— including whether she should nourish old hobbies or discard them for the sake of trying something new—and her romantic outcome becomes even more uncertain when past high school friend Sean and close pal David throw their hats in the ring.
Benson’s easy writing style paired with carefully curated descriptions provides for a relaxed, captivating read. Julia’s perspective is richly developed, allowing readers an intimate tour of her mental landscape and an almost-voyeuristic glimpse into the mechanics behind her decisions, and her support network offers appealing viewpoints bolstered by occasional words of wisdom—particularly her best friend, Kat, and her slightly unconventional, quirky sister, Jolene. At times heartbreaking and at others purely entertaining, readers will fall in love with Julia’s story—and the idea that life is a journey, not a destination.
Takeaway: A young woman rediscovers herself after her fairy tale life begins to fall apart.
Great for fans of: Jill Shalvis’s One in a Million; Carley Fortune’s Every Summer After.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A