Next Year, For Sure – By Zoey Leigh Peterson

Goodreads Synopsis: In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, longtime romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love.

After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

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I’ve actually reviewed this book once before, but that was in 2017 and I feel like not only am I a better book reviewer, but also my opinions on the book have shifted. So I decided why not review it again?

Next Year, for Sure follows Kathryn and Chris, a fairly typical couple who start an atypical relationship, sort of unintentionally. Their explorations into polyamory start when Chris meets a woman named Emily who he has met and become interested in. Kathryn encourages him to get to know Emily and from there they meet Emily’s community and start exploring the idea of having other relationships.

When I first read this book I was extremely empathetic to Kathryn, I understood her desire to try something but also her feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and jealousy. This time I related more to Chris, who doesn’t look for love but finds it anyway. I love the way they’re both portrayed. Peterson takes a very honest look at a couple opening up their relationship, she does such a good job of it that I don’t even mind the ending. I love an ending that fits, even if it doesn’t make me happy. I think what Peterson does best in this book is the exploration of relationships, the ins, and outs, monogamous or otherwise. She looks at how you can be happy and unhappy in a relationship at the same time. How some people can get into toxic circles without realizing it. What does commitment really mean? And I loved how she never gives us the answer to these questions, she simply lets us decide.

Obviously, I liked this book enough to read it twice, which should say more than how many stars I give it. But still, I’ll let you know that I rated it four stars on Goodreads. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books about relationships, polyamory, or even just bittersweet love stories.

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