cover image Between Us

Between Us

Mhairi McFarlane. Avon, $18.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-311799-0

McFarlane’s latest (after Mad About You) is an immensely readable deep dive into the durability of friendships and the slow death of a romantic relationship, rounded out with a love story that feels almost like an afterthought. High school teacher Roisin Walters’s 10-year relationship has been fizzling out for some time, but she had no intention to break up with her TV writer boyfriend, Joe, during a weekend getaway with their core friend group. To make matters worse, when the crew sits down to watch Joe’s new show together, Roisin is shocked to see their fraught relationship reflected on screen—and in the show, the character based on Joe is unfaithful, leading Roisin to wonder just how much art imitates life. The question of whether Joe’s betrayals include infidelity is central to the story, but the larger plot revolves around the current state of a friend group that has become a family, as all are affected by the breakup. A budding attraction between Roisin and her friend Matt brings some feels, but it doesn’t arrive until well after the halfway mark and will leave readers looking for a traditional romance somewhat underwhelmed. Still, it’s a thoughtful and often enjoyable exploration of human relationships. (Aug.)