Release Date: July 13, 2014
Author Links: willowaster.com | FB | Twitter
Mabel Armstrong is on the verge of giving up. But just when things feel bleakest, there seems to be a shift in the universe. People come out of the woodwork. Her ex won't leave her alone. An old friend finally tries to become more. Even the cute guy at the coffee shop starts paying extra attention.
Maybe Maby is a heartbreaking, and at times, hilarious story about coping with loss, finding love in New York, and learning to recognize hope in the middle of it all.
As a reviewer, I read a lot of books. Some books I like, but I don't run to the computer and post a review immediately. Then after a while, I forget about the book as it fades into obscurity in my mind. This is NOT that book. Maybe Maby by Willow Aster is the opposite of THAT book. It is the book that has consumed my thoughts since I finished it a little more than 12 hours ago. It is the book that I had to just sit down and write about the wonderfulness that is inside its pages.
Maybe Maby is a story about hope and loss, overcoming huge obstacles, trusting yourself and others and ultimately, love. Aster always ties deep meaning into her books if you are willing to look for it. This one is no exception. Not only is Aster excellent in plot development, she writes intriguing, layered characters that are vulnerable, smart and quirky. This isn't a rehashed story that you've read a million times. This is a fresh look at contemporary romance.
This is Aster's third book, and the third that has blown me away. First things first. Willow Aster is an outstanding writer. She effortlessly writes believable dialogue full of charm and wit. Her books have a flow that keeps the reader invested and interested from beginning to end. She doesn't include superfluous narrative, yet she never skimps on the plot. I'll say it now....Willow Aster is a goddess.
The heroine of this book is Mabel Armstrong. She is 28-years old and living by herself in New York. She works for a "friend" at a boutique and is excellent at her job. Her mother passed away, and her serious boyfriend broke up with her (because he's a cheating bastard) all in the span of a year. This would be difficult for anyone, by Maby has a serious case of OCD. Her favorite things to do are to count and to organize. Aside from her compulsions, Maby deals with an overwhelming sense of guilt and loneliness. Sometimes Maby can handle her disease, other times...not so much. Aster does an excellent job of describing Maby's compulsions and explaining what OCD feels like in Maby's head. The research is very well done.
One thing I really love about Maby is that despite her mental illness, she tries so hard to "fix" herself. She has her bad days, but then her resilience shines through. She makes huge, life altering decisions on her own without anyone else's opinions. She may have OCD, but this certainly does not make her weak in any sense of the word. In fact, she is one of the strongest heroines I have come across lately.
We are introduced to most of the main players in this book early on. We meet Dalton, Maby's ex-boyfriend that is the most immature character in this book. The interaction with Dalton is funny, although Dalton himself is a different story. Saul is introduced as Dalton's best friend and also a close friend of Maby. Saul plays a large part in this book, and although in the beginning I genuinely liked his playfulness and banter with Maby, he ended up grating on my nerves.
Aster does an impeccable job of creating characters that make me swoon. Coen Brady fits that bill. We finally meet him later on in this book, and my only wish is that we could have met him earlier. Coen, oh Coen! I don't want to say too much and give anything away, but he is headed to the top of my book boyfriend list. He is handsome and intelligent, charming and fun. He was raised the right way with a loving and caring family. Although he is full of self confidence, Coen has an underlying vulnerability that gives him depth and makes him extremely likeable. He is no push over when it comes to Maby, though. He gives her honesty, even when she doesn't want to hear it. As this book progressed, I sympathized more with Coen than with Maby, even though she is the one with the mental illness. When you read the scope of Coen's and Maby's story, you will fall in love with him. I promise!
Maby's story is heartbreaking and fascinating, brimming with hope and reality. Willow Aster should be at the top of everyone's TBR list. She is THAT good. She killed me with anxiety in her first book, she tore my heart apart in her second and her third book as me all tied up with happiness, hope and the desire to see more of these characters. I can only hope that we see more of Maby and Coen in the future.