cover image Which Brings Me to You

Which Brings Me to You

Steve Almond, Julianna Baggott, . . Algonquin, $22.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-1-56512-443-1

This witty but self-conscious epistolary novel starts with strangers groping each other in a coat closet and ends with the beginning of a relationship. Baggott (Girl Talk ) and Almond (Candyfreak ) join forces for "an extended power-flirt," conducted through the snail-mail correspondence between Jane and John, two 30-somethings who meet at a wedding and almost consummate their lust before John puts the brakes on, wondering if it might be the real thing. Jane reluctantly agrees to take it slow, so John returns to New York and Jane goes to Philadelphia, where they pen their respective confessions revealing their erotic and emotional experiences—they've both enjoyed a "past littered with regret." They are, in Jane's words, "two low grade Romantics. Tough but susceptible." By the time Jane and John meet again face-to-face in Hopewell, N.J., we know their backstories as well as their literary quirks. Sharp humor and insights into the modern psyche pervade the book, but not enough to make it add up to anything more than a pretense for hot scenes and spicy talk, a lot of sex and a little "low grade" romance. (May 5)