cover image Funny Guy

Funny Guy

Emma Barry. Montlake, $16.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-66250-503-4

Barry (Chick Magnet) mixes close quarters, self-destruction, and new opportunities in this ingenious friends-to-lovers romance. Bree Edwards has loved her best friend, Sam Leyland, since childhood. Both raised by unfit parents, the pair are fairly codependent, but Bree has largely exorcised her demons while Sam, a well-known comedian, bases his acts on his real-life trauma—and each laugh is like a punch to his gut. Only Bree knows that his jokes mask intense pain. Afraid he’ll never return her feelings and believing she’ll need distance to move on, Bree applies to her dream job out of state. Sam struggles with abandonment issues, so she procrastinates in telling him—and before she can come clean, he confesses his love, leaving Bree torn between her career and her soulmate. Barry uses comedy to soften this emotional tale of true love hidden in the depths of depression and codependency. She does a fantastic job charting the turbulent emotional progression of the central couple, so much so that even when their relationship is at its least healthy, readers will root for them to work out their issues. It’s a fresh take on a favorite trope that perfectly marries humor and heartache. Agent: Sarah Younger, NY Literary. (May)