New Fiction: The Almost Sisters – Joshilyn Jackson

Here’s another writer who is a master at serving up serious themes inside of confection of wit, pathos and heart. In The Almost Sisters, bestseller Jackson tells the story of a graphic novelist who has a one-night stand with a mysterious Batman she meets at a FanCon. She later discovers that she is pregnant and finds herself looking forward to the prospect of motherhood.

But add that her son will be a biracial boy born into a conventional Old South family, a grandmother with dementia, and a family secret in that has been hidden in her attic since the Civil War–and you’ve something a lot more substantial and satisfying than the typical summer beach read.

If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, you’ll love this story of family and relationships. If you’re not a fan of women’s fiction, come for the humor and insight. As one reviewer said of her work, it’s “Flannery O’Connor meets Dave Barry.”

“Jackson has written another spirited page-turner …There’s a whiff of Southern Gothic here and plenty of sex, lies, and family secrets…. But Jackson is bighearted and, in the end, optimistic. She writes vivid, funny characters, and her voice is distinctive and authentic.… A satisfying, entertaining read from an admired writer who deserves to be a household name.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Jackson has packed in all the drama needed for a fast-paced summer read, but this isn’t your average beach book. Dark secrets and racism plague Grandma Birchie’s seemingly charming southern town, and Leia will soon find that real-life villains aren’t as easy to identify as the ones in her comic books.”
Publishers Weekly

Leia, a self-proclaimed superhero-comics dork, narrates this light-dark Southern story of family, race, and belonging with affection, humor, and well-timed profanity, bound to please fans of the best-selling author’s six previous novels.… Both literary and women’s fiction readers will appreciate Leia’s smart/sassy narrative.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Joshilyn Jackson is an amazing storyteller who somehow keeps getting better and better with every novel. Unforgettable characters, constant action and a deft hand with social issues makes The Almost Sisters her best yet…. Jackson’s ear for language makes her work sing; her characters’ fierce family loyalties make you cheer for them; and the humor in her work balances her often-dark subject matter. I adored The Almost Sisters!
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI

The Almost Sisters (9780062105714) by Joshilyn Jackson. $26.99 hardcover. 7/11/17 on sale.

 

New Fiction: The Opposite of Everyone – Joshilyn Jackson

Jackson will be a familiar voice to many readers. A bestselling author many times over, she is especially beloved by the Indies. Her Southern-inflected stories are wise cracking, tough and infused by a core kindness that allows a complex humanity to shine through her characters.

I’m not a bit surprised that this story of a daughter coming to terms with her mother is the #1 Indie Next pick for March as well as an Okra Pick and a LibraryReads pick. Jackson never been better than in this tale of reinvention and understanding how our personal stories can either weigh us down or release us.

 “Paula has settled near Atlanta, where she tries to push away everyone she cares about, but this becomes impossible when her past and present converge. She hasn’t seen her mother Kai in years; then, the monthly check she sends to her is returned with a cryptic message, and a half-brother, Julian, whom she didn’t know she had, shows up. Although Paula is rough and reckless, Jackson makes her an easy character to root for by vividly depicting her inner struggle and past. This is an excellent read with a fresh take on the detective genre.”
Publishers Weekly

 Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self. A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The smart-ass, no holds-barred narration by whip-smart Paula/Kali… should please the many fans of Jackson’s snappy writing style.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Jackson excels at weaving a wholly absorbing story with vivid characters. Paula’s fractious relationship with Birdwine is the highlight as the two sparring, onetime lovers renegotiate their relationship…. [T]his novel, nonetheless, makes some affecting points about the importance of the stories we tell to each other and to ourselves.”
Booklist

Have you ever loved a book so much that you finished it and immediately went back to the beginning and read it over again? That’s exactly what I did with The Opposite of Everyone. Jackson gives us wonderful characters, with fully human qualities and flaws; her ear for language and dialogue is first-rate; her plots manage to be both surprising and satisfying. The Opposite of Everyone centers around Paula, a self-determined, overachieving divorce attorney who appeared in Someone Else’s Love Story. The carefully constructed edifice of Paula’s life begins to crumble when she learns that her estranged mother is dying, and the events that unfold – surprising, hilarious, terrifying, and delightful – will keep the reader biting their nails until the last page.
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI

“More gritty than her former novels, and I loved every page. This is the story of a strong woman with a broken past, who has moved on…but gets caught up in her old life again when an unexpected sibling shows up on her doorstep. Just so darn good – read it!”
— Jessilyn Norcross, McLean and Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Opposite of Everyone (9780062105684) by Joshilyn Jackson. $26.99 hardcover. 2/16/16 on sale.

Book of the Week: Someone Else’s Love Story

I remember a number of years ago talking with some bookseller pals at Schuler Books who were raving about a new writer they’d just had dinner with. This writer’s publisher had held a large meet-and-greet for area booksellers and it was clear that Michigan booksellers were crazy about this book and the chance to meet the author sealed the deal. It made an impression and I’ve always remembered the name—Joshilyn Jackson.

That’s by way of saying I’m overjoyed that Jackson is now with Harper. Starting with 2005’s Gods in Alabama, she has racked up an impressive string of bestsellers and garnered a very large, very loyal fan base of readers. Her combination of darkness and comedy, characters you cheer for and plots you can’t put down has been a winning formula for almost a decade. Someone Else’s Love Story takes her to a new level; Kirkus gives it a starred review, concluding: “A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won’t be able to put it down.”

Booksellers and reviewers alike have been eager to praise this. It’s the December’s #1 Indie Next Pick and a November LibraryReads Pick. Media will kick off with reviews in People and USA Today. Jackson has an extensive tour scheduled and you can see where she’ll be appearing on her website. (Stick around once you land there; her blog is hilarious!)

“[W]itty and insightful….With a deft wit and a series of stellar twists, Jackson creates a conventional love story that is also something more: an exploration of what draws people together, and pushes them apart; a commentary on faith’s ability to unite or divide; and a reminder that ‘death brushing past makes people hungry to connect to other people.’ What emerges is a novel at once funny and touching, whose characters’ many flaws are overshadowed by all the ways in which they look out for one another. The final denouement of Jackson’s roller-coaster love story will leave the reader both thoroughly sated and hungry for more.”
— Publishers Weekly

“An inspiring story of love, faith and redemption…All of the characters… are so vividly drawn, they fairly leap off the page.”
— Booklist

Joshilyn Jackson is a phenomenal novelist, creating feisty, unforgettable characters who wrestle their way through complicated lives with grit and good humor, taking the reader on a wild, nail-biting and thoroughly enjoyable ride.  With rich dialogue, vivid scene-setting, edge-of-your-seat plotting and one-of-a-kind characters, Jackson’s novels entertain thoroughly and stay on your mind long after you’ve turned the last page.  In Someone Else’s Love Story, a chance encounter during a convenience store robbery shakes up a number of lives. As life pokes holes through their assumptions about their relationships – with family, friends, lovers, and perceived enemies – something new and surprising emerges. I loved Someone Else’s Love Story.”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

“Joshilyn Jackson grabs your attention right from the start, then entwines you in her own inimitable mix of humor, surprise, philosophy and just downright great storytelling.  Shandi has enough on her plate with her feuding parents (now divorced), her exceptionally intelligent 3 year old, and her ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time – again.  Events set in motion by the gunman in an attempted hostage taking gone wrong in a convenience store play out in ways that change the lives of everyone involved.  Mix miracles, faith, science, destiny, luck, determination and statistics with a touch of DNA, and you create a special recipe for self discovery.  This is Joshilyn proving again that she weaves a special kind of magic with her totally believable characters wrestling with the unique circumstances life has thrown at them. I have loved and handsold every one of Joshilyn’s books, but I think this one might be my favorite.”
— Nicola Rooney, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Someone Else’s Love Story (9780062105653) by Joshilyn Jackson. $26.99 hardcover. 11/19/13 on sale.