THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW  by Jessica Strawser

THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW  releases in March 2022, and it’s a novel to pre-order. I finished reading an advanced copy multiple books ago, and the lead characters continue to haunt me.

Two broken people trapped in the past and lost in the present, Mason and Nova share a powerful, memorable story.

At thirty-six, indie singer-songwriter Mason Shaylor signed a major record deal—and disappeared from the public eye. Only his family knows why: following a devastating diagnosis, he will never play his guitar again. Everything he’s lived for is over. He’s scared, angry, and alone when he hears a conversation about end-of-life doulas—people who guide others through the process of death. But when he hires motorbike-riding Nova Houston to help him say goodbye, he never expects to discover someone whose spirit is “music in human form.”

Nova, who meditates to the sunrise and believes there is no such thing as false hope, knows nothing about Mason’s fame. She sees him only as a difficult new client. He won’t even fill out the paperwork, but then … she’s not a stickler for rules. She’s also hiding from her own truth: that while she helps others make peace with their mistakes, she hasn’t figured out how to do the same for herself.

On the surface, they’re polar opposites, but gradually, they recognize something in each other, something that brings both of them clarity and joy. And maybe a shot at the unexpected: love.

As the story weaves effortlessly back and forth in time, we see the evolution of their relationship leading up to the incredible final twist. There’s a wonderful balance for the reader between the gradual reveal of their growing connection and the desperate need for answers about what happened between them. (A huge mystery, announced early on, opens a can of plot questions!) Each chapter ending is pitch perfect, as is the true meaning of the title.

I found this novel uplifting, hopeful, and full of wisdom about surviving loss, embracing life, and offering and accepting forgiveness.

THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW went straight to my to-be-re-read pile.



  1. Glenna Fisher on October 17, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Can’t wait to get this one. Jessica’s characters stay with you for a very long time.

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