Sometimes you need a book that will make you laugh until you have tears streaming down your face. Sometimes you need a travelogue. Sometimes you need a heartfelt tale of the complex bonds of friendship and sometimes you just need to read about goofy dogs. No matter what you’re in the mood for, get ready to hit the jackpot, because Ann Garvin’s latest novel, I Thought You Said This Would Work, is all of these things rolled into one.
I Thought You Said This Would Work takes us on a journey with Samantha Arias, who hasn’t spoken to her former college roommate Holly Dunfee in years—although Samantha is still fuzzy as to why. When their mutual best friend Katie enlists their help while she’s in the hospital due to cancer, there’s no way they can say no, even if that means driving cross-country together, stealing Katie’s ex-husband’s VW camper, and bringing Katie’s diabetic Great Pyrenees home to her. (Easy peasy, right?) If two thousand miles, a 100-pound dog named Peanut, and a weighted history aren’t enough, Sam and Holly’s adventure is further complicated by the flighty D-list celebrity who hitches a ride and an unplanned detour to an animal sanctuary in Utah. With the highway in front of them and decades of unspoken wounds on their tail, Sam and Holly must put their differences aside in the name of their love for Katie, and maybe find the road back to each other along the way. I Thought You Said This Would Work is a hilarious and heart-wrenching tale of old friends, new friends, and the bridge in between, and I loved every leg of the trip.
What makes Ann Garvin’s writing so beautiful is that it balances laugh-out-loud humor with heart-stopping poignancy. Through all of the zany hijinks, there’s a pool of emotion underneath. For every moment of sadness, there are three more of utter joy. In short, it’s life in a nutshell, highlighting that even during times of aching tragedy, rays of light, happiness, and mild absurdity find their way to break through.
And then there are the chapter titles. Have you ever heard anything as true as, “Got a Problem? Get a Dog”?
Every character in this novel is so real and lived in, from Sam and her inability to master teenaged lingo to Holly and the wealth of medical expertise she’s gained from Grey’s Anatomy. I never knew where the story was going to take me—how can you when one of the main characters is a YouTuber with a show called Trick Out My Tent?—and it was an absolute treat to buckle up, hang on tight, and go along for the ride.
If you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh, cry, and feel every emotion in between, don’t miss I Thought You Said This Would Work. It perfectly explores the messy, unpredictable, awkward thing we call life, and it’s a trip you can’t afford to miss.
I Thought You Said This Would Work is available now! Order your copy from Amazon, Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or wherever you buy your books. For more on the delightful Ann Garvin, visit anngarvin.net and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Don’t miss her pictures of her real-life Peanut, who is definitely not a Great Pyrenees.) Ann is the founder of the fabulous Tall Poppy Writers.