Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

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Imagine if you were in a relationship and completely happy. Blissfully happy in the same routines you’re always used to doing. You’re always sure you’ll come home to someone.

Then suddenly, your significant other tells you that they’re interested in someone else. How do you react?

This book is about the value of a relationship. How some people move from one partner to the next like stones skipping in a river and how other people enjoy that sinking feeling of being with someone you love.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

30201150After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Rating: 4/5 partners

My thoughts

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I have a lot of thoughts about this one. If you can artistically create a relationship with words, this might be the best example of it. At first, I thought this was some book about some dude who is bored with their current mate and looking for another. Granted, I don’t like Chris because he’s the type of insecure human being who can’t be with someone in a committed relationship. However, this book turns out to be the analysis of relationship all together.

When we first hear about Chris and his myriad of relationships, you think to yourself that he’s so womanizing jerk who drops one girl for another girl because of the way they look or their interest. But it turns out that he’s extremely insecure and doesn’t know what he wants for himself. It’s a tough lesson to learn especially when there are other people involved.

I think the entire story is an allegory on the types of people we tend to turn into in a relationship; those people who are completely dependent on the other. The people who don’t remember who they were before they fell in love. Being in a committed and long relationship myself, you can definitely feel a struggle to maintain a semblance of your “True Self” and also be with someone else.

Relationships are a shared life, not a single one. What you do may have cause and effect on your partner and that’s clearly what’s happening here with Chris and Kathryn. Chris finds someone else. They form some strange triad, not necessary a poly relationship but three people all involved in the same relationship. You see Kathryn peer off to someone else. You see Kathryn be happy. You see Chris miss all the little things about his relationship with Kathryn. Did Chris make a mistake? That’s the ultimate question.

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The writing is quite simple, but beautiful. For a debut novel, I’m surprised the author didn’t go full tilt on eloquent writing. But the story has got a bit of depth. You can’t take it at face value. This isn’t a story about a dude who has two girlfriends. It’s more about finding yourself in the niche of a loved one. It’s more about seeing yourself be with someone else. It’s beautiful and while not the most thrilling novel I read (hence the four stars), it’ll definitely leave you thinking, who am I? Is this the person I want to be?

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