WARNING: Blythe Woolston’s CATCH AND RELEASE will hook you

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… and not let you go until you see Polly and Odd down the road. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second. But first, a look at the book coming to the world. Editor Andrew Karre blogged a while back about how hard it was to write jacket copy for Catch and Release:

This is not an easy novel. As a parent and a mild hypochondriac, the text itself was a little terrifying to read. But as an editor and the one who writes the first draft of the flap copy, summarizing this book was enormously challenging. A first draft of flap began this way:

“Survival is a funny thing. Take Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—MRSA to its friends. Humans hurl antibiotics by gallon at Staphylococcus. But a few survive—the strong ones. And they move their stories on down the road.”

A third of the way into the flap copy, and the only character I’ve introduced is lethal bacteria strain with an unpronounceable name.

Lucky for readers everywhere, Andrew came up with something brilliant that showcases a gorgeous strength of this book: voice (more on that in a sec). Here’s the book description:

I should have died quick. But I didn’t. I’m a miracle of modern medicine, only the medicine doesn’t get much credit, I notice. People say I’m lucky, or I’m blessed, and then they turn away.

I’m not the only miracle. There’s Odd too.

Polly Furnas had The Plan for the future. Get married to Bridger Morgan, for one. College, career, babies. Etc. All the important choices were made.

It was all happily-ever-after as a diamond-ring commercial.

But The Plan did not include a lethal drug-resistant infection. It did not include “some more reconstruction and scar revision in the future.” And it certainly did not include Odd Estes, a trip to Portland in an ancient Cadillac to “tear Bridger a new one,” fly fishing, marshmallows, Crisco, or a loaded gun.

But plans change. Stories get revised and new choices must be made.

Polly and Odd have choices: Survival or not. Catch or release.

Those italicized parts? That’s Polly’s voice. Polly after. Polly who no longer has The Plan. She is raw, cynical, and stalled in a place that’s scary and looks very different with only one eye.

And because she’s been robbed of The Plan, she has also been freed from The Plan. Freed to think thoughts that would have been off limits to the Polly who was nice because she had to be, not because she wanted to be. Who had the boyfriend she thought she wanted to marry, but never thought too hard about.

For me, those thoughts were just delicious–pitch-perfect but also provocative. I love a character who teaches me something. And not just Big Thoughts. Crazy facts, which I believe are Blythe Woolston’s secret specialty.

But there’s more credit to spread around; it’s the trip with Odd (who is) that lets Polly discover the difference between being robbed and being freed. Odd needs tending, and the kind of tending that he needs opens up that place in Polly that can let her move her story down the road.

In case you were wondering, there’s not a romance that opens up between the two; it’s a book about the push and pull of unexpected friendship (and what happens when you put two very different people in a car for an extended period of time). BUT, for those of us who think about what might be down the road… Polly does think of him as her “beautiful Odd.” I think there are some more road trips in their future.

Gorgeous storytelling and incredible voice. Catch and Release is not to be missed. Order it now here, or ask for it anywhere after the official release date on Feb 1.

 

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