cover image The Neighbor Favor

The Neighbor Favor

Kristina Forest. Berkley, $17 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-54643-7

Fan mail sparks romance in Forest’s adorable adult debut (after YA Zyla & Kai). Nick Brown, pen name NR Strickland, published The Elves of Ceradon right after college, fancying himself “the Black George R. R. Martin.” His dreams didn’t pan out, however, and he’s abandoned the series to become a travel journalist, capitalizing on the job’s anonymity and rootlessness to avoid his estranged parents’ attempts to shake him down for money. When editorial assistant and Strickland superfan Lily Greene reaches out to Nick via email, she’s not expecting her favorite author to actually write back. But Lily doesn’t realize that hers is the first piece of fan mail Nick’s ever received. So respond he does, and the pair form a tentative friendship—until their correspondence grows too intimate, and Nick ghosts Lily for fear of disappointing her. Months later, Nick coincidentally moves in next door to Lily’s apartment and they grow close once more—until Nick realizes Lily’s identity. His fear of commitment keeps him from saying anything, which comes back to bite him when Lily enlists his help finding a date for her sister’s wedding. Forest expertly balances this perfectly matched duo’s emotional connection with their physical chemistry, making them easy to cheer on. This is a winner. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Feb.)