For Better or Worse

For Better or Worse

Book - 2016
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Determined to make her mark, newly minted Manhattan wedding planner Heather Fowler, while planning an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza, is showed by her neighborJosh Tanner, a former Wall Street up-and-comerthat there is more to life than just work.
Publisher: New York, New York : Pocket Books, 2016
ISBN: 9781501135156
1501135155
Branch Call Number: PAPERBACK R
Characteristics: 348 pages ; 18 cm

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Janet_Reads Sep 22, 2016

I assign all my books a #hashtag to organize them and a book’s tag normally changes and evolves as I read. The story might feel like an #originalpremise in the beginning but fade to #forgettablebutgood when suddenly it ends as a #didnotseethatcoming. But sometimes a book earns its tag within the first few chapters and never waivers. This normally is either a disastrous or a glorious experience. Disasters happen when the book is a wall banger and a #didnotfinish. Glory reigns when reading karma gives me a #oneofmyfavorite, and I knew Lauren Layne’s For Better or Worse was just that during Chapter 2. I felt like Ms. Layne fed me a happy pill at the 10% mark and my euphoria lasted through the last page. For Better or Worse is a comical battle of the sexes with hilarious character dialogue wrapped in a complex story that explores the emotional effects of cancer.

I loved these two complex and charismatic people, and they are off the charts fabulous when they are together. Their dialogue is laugh out loud funny as their sarcastic quips volley back and forth. I imagine any dialogue, especially witty dialogue, must be one of the most difficult things to write, and Ms. Layne has an exceptional talent for creating it. I miss when Josh and Heather are not together in scenes, and I anticipated their next interactions. I still giggle when I replay their exchanges from memory.

I appreciate that For Better or Worse features a lead character dealing with cancer. Serious illness is a difficult subject for any novel but has the potential to fail epically considering the reader’s expectations of the romance genre. Ms. Layne writes the storyline beautifully and with empathy while not shying away from the reality of Josh’s potential relapse. She respects all of the families experiencing life-threatening illness and creates a story that is emotionally charged and complex.

Speaking of families, both Heather and Josh’s mothers are secondary characters in the book, and both are wonderful additions. I am rarely enamored with secondary characters because they are normally forgettable, but these women enrich For Better or Worse and add another layer to the story. Josh’s mother is particularly endearing as we witness her struggle to heal from the experience of watching and caring for a child fighting cancer while attempting not to smother and baby him now that he is in remission.

Obviously, I loved this book and can easily recommend you add it to your #needtoread. I am smiling like a lunatic while writing this and remembering Heather and Josh’s journey. I laughed, cheered, cried, sighed and almost swooned while reading For Better or Worse, and any book that can make me feel this wide spectrum of emotions is a book that qualifies as one of my favorite reads. I did assign an additional label after finishing it – #desertislekeeper.

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