Third Thursday Staff Recommendations

Usually I’m introducing the staff member who’s sharing a favorite, but this time I was so excited about this new book that I just had to talk about how clever and satisfying it is.

When I first read the book-jacket summary of Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty I knew it had all the ingredients I typically look for in a good read: an unexplained missing person, a mysterious and regular arrival of chapters from The Guidebook that promises to one day “change the world.”  Then, after twenty years, Abi, the protagonist is invited to a free weekend retreat to learn the truth about The Guidebook. The game is on! Is it a scam? A real opportunity to change the world?

I kept wondering what kind of book I was reading. But even though I didn’t have the full answer until the end, I kept wanting to read. The protagonist Abi had questions of her own, such as what is behind The Guidebook  and is it connected somehow to her missing brother.  As Booktopia reviewer Sarah McDuling wrote, “…literally every page is infused with gentle off-beat humour, sharp intelligence, and vivid emotion…. This wonderful book presents readers with a highly original and unexpected story.”  To echo McDuling, it’s better to start reading Gravity Is the Thing with an open mind, it’s definitely not “far-fetched” or “unbelievable.”  Moriarty has a delightful ability to ask big questions without purporting to have definitive answers.

Publisher’s Summary: Gravity Is the Thing Twenty years ago, Abigail Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing one day before her sixteenth birthday, never to be seen again. That same year, she began receiving scattered chapters in the mail of a self-help manual, the Guidebook, whose anonymous author promised to make her life soar to heights beyond her wildest dreams. The Guidebook’s missives have remained a constant in Abi’s life—a befuddling yet oddly comforting voice through her family’s grief over her brother’s disappearance, a move across continents, the devastating dissolution of her marriage, and the new beginning as a single mother and café owner in Sydney. Now, two decades after receiving those first pages, Abi is invited to an all-expenses paid weekend retreat to learn “the truth” about the Guidebook. It’s an opportunity too intriguing to refuse. If Everything is Connected, then surely the twin mysteries of the Guidebook and a missing brother must be linked? What follows is completely the opposite of what Abi expected––but it will lead her on a journey of discovery that will change her life––and enchant readers. Gravity Is the Thing is a smart, unusual, wickedly funny novel about the search for happiness that will break your heart into a million pieces and put it back together, bigger and better than before.

I should have guessed, but I didn’t realize beforehand that Jaclyn Moriarty is the sister of one of my favorite authors, Liane Moriarty, who has written some of the titles in my reading history including the novel-turned-new-hit-series Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot, and one of my personal favorites, Truly, Madly, Guilty.

Publisher’s Summary: Truly, Madly, Guilty Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other. Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship. When Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. Two months later, Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

Apparently there’s a third Moriarty sister, Nicola, who is also an author. Her 2018 thriller Those Other Women is available though the Cloud Library.

Happy Reading! Susan C.

Also by Jaclyn Moriarty:

Young Adult Series:

A Corner of White: Colors of Madeleine, Book 1 Fourteen-year-old Madeleine of Cambridge, England, struggling to cope with poverty and her mother’s illness, and fifteen-year-old Elliot of the Kingdom of Cello in a parallel world where colors are villainous and his father is missing, begin exchanging notes through a crack between their worlds and find they can be of great help to each other.

Tween Read: 

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone Bronte is ten years old when she receives a letter saying that her long-absent parents have been killed by pirates, and the lawyers tell her that their will (rein forced with serious magic) requires her to deliver gifts to her ten other aunts (not Aunt Isabelle, whom she lives with), and to start the trip immediately and alone–but as she travels the kingdoms, she begins to suspect that there is more to this journey than delivering treasures, and that her parents had more secrets than she ever realized.

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