*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
In northern Maine you’ll find a place that’s not quite a town because to be a town you have to get organized. It’s just almost. A place so far north it’s almost Canada.
Based on the award-winning play of the same name, Cariani transformed his best known work into a book. In fact, Almost Maine is Christy’s favorite play and she jumped at the chance to review it as a novel.
One night in the middle winter, the residents of Almost, Maine fall in and out of love under the Northern Lights. It’s a warm night for winter at nineteen degree Fahrenheit. For most of the residents of this almost town, their lives change in surprising ways.
Ginette and Paul have known each other for along time. Now that they’re in high school, their relationship has changed. As the two quickly fall in love with each other, they spend a romantic winter’s night under the stars. But, Paul screws it up, which causes Ginette to question their entire relationship. Ginette wonders through the town and finds different residents experiencing their own confusing and pivotal life moments.
As Ginette questions her relationship with Paul, she passes the rec center, the Moose Paddy bar, Ma Dudley’s apartment building, the lake ice rink and resident’s houses. Little does she know that she walks by just as each person faces a pivotal point in their lives.
Some get closure, others find love at first sight, while a few realize the one has been there this entire time. For a select few, some people realize that their love has faded.
This book is absolutely adorable. Especially the stories where characters fall in love. Our favorite is the one with East and Glory, where they find romance in an unexpected way.
Another of our favorite stories was between Sandrine and Jimmy at the Moose Paddy. While part of it is sad, the ironic connection that Jimmy has with his waitress Villian will make you laugh.
We have to say that our least favorite was between Marci and Phil. It fell flat and became the saddest one of this collection. Still, most of them are adorable and will make your heart swell.
Warning: If you’ve never seen the play, know that this book is super quirky. Everything in this world is literal. Hearts can break, you can fall in love and losing hope can shrink your body. If you go into this book with that in mind, you’ll love the quirks between all these characters.
We also love how Cariani ties all of the residents together. Ginette is the main source of connection. However, all the residents know each other in different ways. Characters connect through each story through friendship, romance and work.
While not all of the stories are happy, but they have a positive message. Cariani uses one story to talk about the strength it takes to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. Overall, each character seems better off than when the book began because at least they gained some closure.
The story ended on a perfect note with Ginette and Paul. We don’t want to give too much away. Yet, we can tell you, the two are in fact closer than ever before.
Read this book one night cuddled under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. And, don’t forget to dream about a romantic night under the Northern Lights.