cover image The A to Z of You and Me

The A to Z of You and Me

James Hannah. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3316-7

Hannah’s debut is a humor-filled tear-at-the-heartstrings story. After taking his body and health for granted, middle-aged diabetic Ivo is suffering kidney failure. Hoping his death will be as unburdensome as possible, Ivo withdraws from friends and family, especially his sister, Laura, and arranges for hospice care, planning for a quiet end. But his enigmatic hospice nurse, Sheila, has other plans. Tasking Ivo with playing the A to Z game—thinking of one body part and a story that goes along with it—Sheila dramatically alters the little lifetime Ivo has left. From Adam’s apple to tear ducts to voice, playing the game leads Ivo to remember all of the memories that changed him forever, good or bad, especially those of Mia, the love of his life. The movement between the present day and a multitude of moments in the past makes it hard for the reader to acclimate, which lessens the connection to some secondary characters. Regardless, the urge to hug and simultaneously shake Ivo for the poor decisions he makes, and for the way he learns, loves, and forgives make this expertly crafted story a winner. Agent: Susan Armstrong, Conville & Walsh. (May)