cover image The Bounce Back

The Bounce Back

Addie Woolridge. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3034-2

Woolridge’s thoughtful sophomore romance (after The Checklist) tastefully depicts the hard road back to one’s dreams after failure. The youngest Delacroix sister, Neale, has been trying to make a name for herself as an artist but is unable to escape her parents and sister Billie’s shadow. After her showcase at the Wootherford Collective causes a fire, her parents force her to move out and become independent, and her “not-boyfriend” Darin dumps her for being talentless, Neale is forced to start from the ground up. Luckily, her eldest sister, Dylan, is hyper-organized and ready to help. With Dylan at her side, Neale manages to find an apartment (albeit one that comes decorated entirely with unicorns), and a monotonous job at greeting card company Happy Hearts. She’d be back on track, if it weren’t for her ever-growing crush on her crazy-hot coworker, Anthony, and her artistic dreams continuing to call to her. Without cutting Neale any slack, the people in her life support her and challenge her to see the potential within herself. Woolridge’s introspective narrative tackles the limiting behaviors that stem from comparison and failure. Focusing first on the growth of the characters, Woolridge makes every connection feel genuine and the romance well-deserved for both Neale and the audience. Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Assoc. (Oct.)