cover image The Very Nice Box

The Very Nice Box

Eve Gleichman and Laura Blackett. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (368) ISBN 978-0-358540-11-3

The limits of self-preservation and the giddiness of new attraction collide in Blackett and Gleichman’s sharp debut. Ava Simon designs boxes for a trendy Brooklyn furniture company, but her life barely extends beyond her workspace. Her girlfriend and parents died in a car accident the year before, and Ava has been compartmentalizing her grief and emotional needs ever since. But when charismatic corporate-bro Mat takes over the department, everything changes—right down to Ava’s sense of self. He insists Ava has been denying herself the joy she deserves and convinces her to work less, relax more, and allow herself to fully heal. Soon, a mutual attraction simmers between the two. Mat is not who Ava expected to love, and she initially resists his attempts to get her to open up about her grief, but he remains steadfast in encouraging Ava to be her truest self. But is something sinister lurking beneath Mat’s generosity and kindness? The authors play their cards carefully, balancing the buoyancy of infatuation with subtle red flags and red herrings. Blending comedy, thriller, and romance to great and surprising effect, this should have wide appeal. (July)