cover image How to End a Love Story

How to End a Love Story

Yulin Kuang. Avon, $18.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-331068-1

Screenwriter Kuang’s debut beautifully probes the lingering effects of grief and guilt while offering readers a glimpse behind the curtain of Hollywood glamour. Thirteen years before the start of the book, Helen Zhang’s younger sister, Michelle, took her own life by jumping in front of Helen’s classmate Grant Shepard’s car. Ever since, Helen and her family have channeled all of their grief and anger into despising Grant. Now a successful YA novelist, Helen leaves New York City for sunny L.A. to join the writing team for a TV adaptation of her work. Then she learns that Grant is leading the team. Michelle can barely bring herself to be civil toward him and her anxiety and anger over having to work together casts a pall over the writers’ room. Slowly, however, she sees Grant’s talent and comes to be impressed by how diligently he takes care of the people on the team. Like Helen, Grant is scarred by the past, but he also senses that he and Helen belong together if only she would give him a chance. Once feelings blossom, however, Helen fears her traditional Chinese immigrant parents are not ready to forgive Grant and may get in the way of a relationship. Kuang handles her characters’ complex emotions with sensitivity and skill, and makes the chemistry between Helen and Grant leap off the page. Readers will have no trouble rooting for these two. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Feb.)