Our hero, Samantha Arias, is conflict avoidant. So conflict-avoidant in fact that she has a sleep disorder where she needs to take a nap whenever she feels stress or a fight coming on.
This is exactly what she wants to do when she learns that not only does her best friend Katie maybe have cancer again, but that Holly, their former third musketeer, is already at her friend’s side.
Wanting to do something useful while they wait for results, Samantha offers to get Katie’s dog Peanut back from where her ex-husband has him in California. With her sleep disorder, Holly needs to come to.
As stressful as that idea is, maybe Samantha will learn why Holly cut her out of her life so abruptly when they graduated college so many years ago.
Hilarity ensues when they pick up a former celebrity tv show host Summer as a ride along on the road trip, while romance maybe blossoms back home with a doctor Samantha met and asks to help keep her updated on Katie. This is a big deal because Samantha hasn’t even dated since her husband died before her daughter was born 18 years ago.
I think you’ll agree, there is a lot of meat in this story to work with, and Ann Gavin does justice to all the elements.
How Samantha struggles to reconnect with Holly, who now appears to hate her, even though they were so close years ago.
How Summer both helps and buffers that reconnection by being the third wheel on the trip.
How texting with someone new you are into can just be so… thrilling.
Through it all, Ann Gavin manages to hit a perfect balance of poignancy with fun. If I make it sound like this story is all bleakness and people mourning their losses, I’m doing it a disservice.
What it really made me feel was how much I want to go on a road trip! And also to call my girlfriends and tell them I love them.
You never know how much time we will have with someone, and that is definitely a strong theme throughout the book. The sense of time lost that can never be got back, and how even with a lifetime sometimes it’s not enough.
While this could be a maudlin idea, instead it comes across as sweet. Sweet, and motivating to not let that same regret ever be something you have to feel.
It’s in our darkest and lightest moments that we really want to hold those friendships close.
If you like happily sad, funny, quirky stories you can read over a weekend and that might make you cry, I Thought You Said This Would Work is the novel for you.