“Twenty-four-year-old bookseller and New Yorker Naomi Ackerman, desperate to write a novel, struggles to find the right story to tell. When, after years of disastrous Tinder dates, she meets Caleb—a perfectly nice guy with a Welsh accent and a unique patience for all of her quirks—she feels she’s finally stumbled onto a time-honored subject: love. But then Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, Rosemary, enters the scene.
When Naomi learns that Rosemary is not safely tucked away overseas as she’d assumed but in fact lives in New York and works in the literary world, she is fundamentally threatened and intrigued in equal measure. On paper, Rosemary sounds like a better version of Naomi—but if they both fell for the same man, they must have something more essential in common.
Determined to figure out how their stories intertwine, Naomi’s casual Instagram stalking morphs into a full-blown friendship under false pretenses. She can’t seem to get herself to quit Rosemary, in whom she discovers an unexpected confidant—and she can’t stop writing about her either, having now found a more interesting subject for her nascent novel. As her lies and half-truths spiral out of her control, and fact and fiction become increasingly difficult to separate, Naomi manipulates the most important people in her life—her family, her friends, Caleb, Rosemary, and, perhaps most devastatingly, herself—in pursuit of her craft. Ultimately, she’s forced to decide who and what she’s willing to sacrifice to write them all the perfect ending.”
A Novel Obsession (Amazon) was so emotional for me. Not weeping and laughing, but the abject horror of someone stalking another person, and then ingratiating themselves into the life of the one she stalked. I know this book will be polarizing because of the content, but despite that, it’s an excellently written book. I don’t normally sit on the edge of my seat, but this book had me devouring it.
Throughout the book, I was shocked and cringed at the choices Naomi was making. Did she want to get caught? She was so bold, so naive in some ways, and brash in others. She has a good thing going with Caleb, her first real relationship. But because it’s her first real relationship, she has no clue about boundaries, apparently.
Becoming obsessed with an ex is something that could be easy to do. My husband had an ex-wife but I didn’t obsess about her. He, being older than me, had a past involving several women. Me, just out of high school, had almost no relationship experience. But even I knew you didn’t stalk an ex! What was Naomi thinking? The fact that she’s lying to her best friend and her beloved Grandmother about her actions should give her pause, but it doesn’t!
Even more twisted, other than becoming friends with Caleb’s ex, is the fact that she’s gathering every bit of personal information she can possibly find about Rosemary, the ex, so she can write a novel about her experiences. She keeps notes in her phone and in a notebook she carries with her everywhere, crafting her story. She even has the nerve to ask Rosemary, who is a book editor, to read and review her work, so she writes another story with similar themes to see how she reacts.
There are a few ways this book could end up, yet I wasn’t surprised by the ending. In fact, I was relieved for all involved. This was a roller coaster ride I enjoyed, but was glad it was over in the end. Excellent twisty book!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Dutton Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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