cover image Everything’s Fine

Everything’s Fine

Cecilia Rabess. Simon & Schuster, $27.99 (328p) ISBN 978-1-982187-70-5

Rabess delivers a breezy yet unsettling debut about a liberal Black financial analyst who falls in love with a white Republican coworker. It’s the middle of the Obama years and Jess Jones, newly hired at Goldman Sachs, runs into Josh Hillyer, an old college classmate with whom she used to argue over politics. To her surprise, they slowly become friends despite his conservative views as he mentors her and helps her navigate office politics as the only Black woman in the firm. Eventually, Josh leaves Goldman to work at a big-time trader’s AI-powered firm, and he brings Jess along with him. Sparks inevitably fly between Jess and Josh as they try to work out their drastically different outlooks and backgrounds. Secrets are revealed, Jess gets in trouble with the boss, and everything comes to a head as the 2016 election approaches, building to a conclusion that lands as either shallowly romantic or an incendiary critique of capitalism, depending on the reader’s interpretation. Rabess’s humor is on-point, and the chemistry between the leads is electric; each scene involving them is fraught with a double-edged sword—after they hook up, Josh starts talking dirty and Jess responds, “Way to ruin the moment, you creepy loser,” before they have sex again. This is sure to spark conversation. (June)