Aaron Stein doesn’t really believe in happy endings or new beginnings.
It’s impossible to think those things can happen to him when he’s slowly falling apart. Aaron’s older brother is dead, his family is drowning in the debt they incurred paying for stints in rehab and trying to treat the overdose that killed him. Aaron is ostensibly the owner of the family bookstore, Bluebird Books, but he doesn’t care about it the way his father Ira does or even the way his mother did before the divorce. Aaron knows the decrepit store is on its way out just like the dinosaurs he’s been reading about obsessively.
The crack in the bookshelf feels like the last straw, the sign Aaron has been waiting for to cut his losses, to sell the store, to move on.
But then his old classmate Chad drops by the store and asks about a wheelchair ramp so he can navigate the entrance. What starts as an old board thrown over the steps becomes an actual ADA accessible ramp when the out of work lumberjacks see what Aaron is doing and decide to help.
Then the lumberjacks see the cracked shelf. And they want to repair it because that kind of shelving is quality. Then they’re fixing the other shelves because they’re already there. And updating the store layout so Chad can fit his chair into the aisles. Then they’re adding a record section. Chad is running an inventory. There’s an espresso machine, a café.
Then there’s Hannah, the band lead Aaron meets at a show with Chad who feels like she could be exactly who Aaron needs.
Suddenly, the downward spiral that was Aaron’s life doesn’t feel so inevitable. There might even be something like hope in the air.
The only problem is Aaron already sold the store. And he’ll have to confront everything that led him to this latest choice–and lot of others from his past–if he wants to give the bookstore and his fractured family one more chance in We Are Inevitable (2021) by Gayle Forman.
We Are Inevitable is a standalone contemporary set near the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. The audiobook is narrated by Sunil Malhotra. Most characters are presumed white.
There’s no getting around this, so I’m just going to say it: We Are Inevitable is a heavy book. Aaron and his father are despondent and depressed at the start of the novel. Themes of addiction and recovery play important roles in the plot as Aaron learns about love interest Hannah and also as he begins to come to terms with his brother’s overdose.
Forman presents a melancholy but deliberate look at addiction with respect for all parties involved despite Aaron’s initial hard line response. The financial hardship and Ira’s anxiety (which manifests a panic attack in an early chapter) add further tension to an already fraught story. Moments of humor alleviate some of the story’s weight but you have been warned.
Readers willing to come along for the ride with We Are Inevitable will be rewarded with a story that is ultimately hopeful both for Aaron and his family as well as for the unlikely independent bookstore that keeps trucking along.
Possible Pairings: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad, Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey, Recommended For You by Laura Silverman, Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher, Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
*An advance listening copy of this title was provided by the publisher through Libro.fm*