Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: "Next Year, For Sure" by Zoey Leigh Peterson

"...part of being in love with someone is not falling in love with someone else."

Kathryn and Chris have been together for nine years. They finish each other's sentences, they have code names and nicknames and shorthand for nearly every situation, and they know just how to solve the other's crises. They challenge each other but yet there is always the comfort and security of familiarity, of having someone to cuddle with, someone who knows just what you want to eat at all times of the day and night, and someone to rub your feet after a hard day.

And then one day, Chris starts talking about Emily. Emily is a free-spirited, incredibly friendly woman that he sees often at the laundromat. Before he knows it, he discovers he has a crush on Emily. It doesn't change how he feels about Kathryn, but he wants to get to know Emily better. Since they tell each other everything, Chris tells Kathryn about his crush. She wants to show how supportive of Chris she is, and prove as much to herself as anything that she believes their relationship can withstand anything, so she encourages him to date Emily. At least for a while.

"He doesn't want to kiss her. He wants what comes after. After the kissing and the undressing and the confiding. After the discovery and the familiarity and the gradual absence of kissing. He wants the intimacy of friends who used to be lovers."

Can a longstanding relationship withstand the decision to open it up after many years? Can the person who is left behind handle not only the disapproval and pity and curiosity of others, but the fear and uncertainty that accompanies watching your mate pursue a relationship with someone else? How far are you willing to let things go?

Next Year, For Sure follows Kathryn, Chris, and Emily through a tumultuous year, one filled with unexpected excitement and spontaneity, romance, insecurity, depression, surprise, and, of course, happiness. Although the characters at times seem a little too good to be true, and you wonder why everyone is so willing to go along with the situation as it unfolds, you wonder what will happen, and whether someone will be the odd man (or woman) out.

I thought this book was a really easy and enjoyable read. Zoey Leigh Peterson writes in a very approachable, conversational style, which made you feel as if you were eavesdropping on everyone's conversations and watching things unfold firsthand.

As with many books about relationships, you wish that the characters would say the things they're thinking and feeling rather than hope someone will figure it out. I'll admit I could never have this type of relationship, but clearly polyamory works for some, so if you have problems believing this type of relationship would succeed, you may have to put aside your own feelings about the concept when reading this book. I'm also curious to know what came next for the characters.

NetGalley and Scribner provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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