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My interest in this book was piqued when I saw that it was being compared to A Star is Born and Me Before You. My initial thought was that this book was probably going to tear my heart to shreds, but I was more than a willing victim.
Jessica Strawser created a thought-provoking, meaningful, heartbreaking story that kept me needing to know more about these intriguing characters.
Nova Huston lives her life by her own rules. As a death doula, she helps terminally ill patients prepare and come to terms with their impending deaths. While she may not believe in doing things strictly by the book, she does believe in using her instincts and her big heart to help guide them through their most difficult times.
When Mason Shaylor seeks out his own death doula, Nova is the obvious choice for this client. As a musician who’s going through a debilitative illness that has robbed him of the bones of his craft, he’s bitter, resentful, and not the most compliant or forthcoming. He has his reasons for needing her, and she has her reasons for wanting to help him. As their relationship develops, trust is secured, and defenses are lowered, leaving them at their most vulnerable with each other and what they are both facing. Death is an inevitable part of life, but sometimes it’s the living that’s the hardest.
The story is told from multiple characters’ perspectives, from the then and now. This propelled the book forward, leaving me wanting and needing to know how the story was going to unfold. Let me just say that it did not unfold the way I had envisioned it would. Strawser took it somewhere different, shocking me and leaving me speechless. I love it when the story takes an unexpected turn.
The Next Thing You Know is an emotional novel that is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. Days after finishing it, I’m still thinking about it.
* 4 Stars