The Very Nice Box is a remarkably well written and quirky novel about a woman’s grief, the life she has built around it, and the person she lets tear down her walls.
Ava Simon is organized. Planning her days into coordinated units, she does not like or allow her time to be wasted. After an accident changed her life forever, Ava has lived the last few years of her life trying to blend in and go unnoticed. Enter Mat Putnam. Young, easy-going, and energetic, Mat is the exact opposite of Ava, and now he is her boss. Despite being everything she cannot stand, she finds herself drawn to him, pursuing a relationship she never expected to want. As their story unfolds and Ava’s friends begin having their doubts, how far are Ava and Mat willing to take their relationship?
Let me start by saying this is so much more than romantic story. Ava’s story is one of grief and loneliness and healing. Hers is a story of losing and gaining relationships, and how that can shape a person. Gleichman and Blackett did such a beautiful job creating deep, layered characters that make this story truly gripping. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading about a woman whose sexuality was not cut and dry. Not gay or straight. I saw my own sexuality reflected in Ava and I felt close to her for that reason.
The plot and character development is quite strong. With flashbacks to Ava’s accident, the reader gets to witness how Ava changed herself to survive in a world of unthinkable loss. We see how it shapes each one of her decisions and how the story furthers because of them. And the plot twist! When the other shoe dropped, I sat up and actually said out loud “holy hell what even?” So good!
This book made my heart sing. Poignant, heartfelt, and wonderfully queer, you can tell it was crafted with love and the reader feels it with every turn of the page.
Also, I have no idea how the authors would make this a series, but I’d read it faithfully.