cover image Pack Up the Moon

Pack Up the Moon

Kristan Higgins. Berkley, $16 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-451-48948-7

Higgins (Good Luck with That) delivers an outstanding romantic weeper with this tale of young newlyweds facing a terminal illness. Lauren Park is dying from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis—“twelve syllables of doom”—but she’s determined to leave a little bit of herself in her husband Josh’s life after she’s gone. She does so by writing letters to Josh and leaving them with her best friend to dole out month by month after her death. The letters are structured as to-do lists, ranging from basic tasks to ensure Josh takes care of himself (“Go to the grocery store and stop eating food from cartons over the sink. Don’t be a loser!”) to encouragement to start new relationships. After Lauren dies, Josh’s raw grief is palpable, as is Lauren’s reluctance to leave the love of her life, which comes through in her letters. Delightful supporting characters add to the charm, such as a Banana Republic salesman who comforts Josh after he has a breakdown while trying to fulfill one of Lauren’s tasks. Perfect pacing and plotting lift Higgins’s masterly latest. This is going to break (and restore) plenty of hearts. (June)