Book Review Time: Never Meant To Meet You

Here’s an excerpt from “What’s Ginny Reading Next?”

What’s Ginny Reading Next?

Never Meant To Meet You is co-authored by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans. It tells the story of next-door neighbors whose geographic proximity has not translated itself into close personal ties. Apart from the tiniest of civilities, any true connection is non-existent. 

Marjette Lewis, a divorced mother and kindergarten teacher, abides by the rules of social etiquette she was raised in. She’s a Preacher’s kid, after all. And if she can provide a helping hand for one in need, she’s more than willing to step up. However, when it comes to her neighbor, Noa Abrams, a woman who exudes icy perfection, Marjette’s friendly nature goes into hiding.

But a tragic event will unexpectedly bring these two women together. 

Life rarely goes to plan. There are twists and turns. Moments we can never prepare ourselves for. And as Marjette and Noa commiserate in their experiences of loss, they’ll find the strength to create something meaningful from the pain.

I absolutely enjoyed this novel, and would highly recommend it to any reader. Frank and Youmans uniquely present the multitude of human experience in Never Meant To Meet You. There’s marriage, divorce, death, single motherhood, relationship and work drama. There’s even weekly Weight Watchers meetings. It can all be found within the pages of this funny and heartwarming novel.

I very much appreciated how the subjects of race and religion were dealt with in Never Meant To Meet You. A moment that I particularly related to was the anxiety Marjette, a black woman, feels when a police officer drives up to her home. The officer’s demeanor is solemn. And as he approaches, Marjette (who is sitting with her neighbor, Noa) briefly assumes he is coming to talk to her. Before he can explain the reason for his visit, Marjette’s thoughts immediately turn to her teenage son and his safety. As a mother I understand her fear. And though I have respect for the police, their presence usually brings with it an unshakable sense of unease.

There are other scenes that present microaggressions, statements and actions that aren’t blatantly racist, but that are still rooted in ignorance. What I found so interesting about this novel is that Frank and Youmans present these moments in a way that acknowledges the behavior as problematic yet also manages to find humor in it. No small task.

Ultimately Never Meant To Meet You is a story of female friendship and empowerment. It’s a story of community. A black woman, still reeling from the aftermath of divorce, working full time, and struggling to come to terms with her son’s burgeoning independence. A Jewish woman, who’s suffered an unimaginable loss, balancing her grief with the need to be present for her six year-old daughter. These two women have more in common than they think. And through their unexpected friendship, they’ll find a way to move through the heartache. Because there is no other way around it. Luckily, they’ve left room for laughter as well.

When life doesn’t go according to plan it could be a traumatic experience but with a healthy amount of courage and support from your crew, hope can stem from the pain. 

So if you’re looking for a story that has emotional depth, laugh-out-loud humor, and a steamy subplot involving a handsome baker, definitely check this one out. You’ll also get some cool insight into the wonders and blunders of teaching early education at a private school. Kindergartners are comedy gold.

Bookstore/Library Shout-Out

booksandbevs7 has a shout-out to Sonoma County Public Libraries from an anonymous follower. “Thank you, Sonoma County Public Libraries, for extending your hours to include Sundays. It’s great for our community.”

How awesome is that? Increasing access to the library with Sunday hours. That deserves a round of applause.


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