Title: Pack Up the Moon
Author: Kristan Higgins
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Every month, a letter. That's what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she's dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.
Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they're wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
As Lauren's disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future--a future without the only woman he's ever loved. He's so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.
But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It's a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed...from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn't Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren's most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn't follow a straight line.
Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life's greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.
I'm so used to reading books by Kristan Higgins that leave me with a smile on my face. Yes, some can elicit tears but they are always hopeful. So I was a little shocked to read the blurb of this one. We are told the main character dies!!
Was I going to read it? Yes, absolutely.
Was it going to break my heart? Probably, but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity.
This is the story of Lauren and Josh. A young couple who is happily married. They are lucky, they get along in a fantastic way. Then, Lauren's asthma keeps on making her feel tired and short of breath. She has multiple ER visits and hospital admissions for pneumonia. Then she is sent to the pulmonologist and finally, an accurate diagnosis is made. Lauren has IPF, a terminal disease.
Joshua's world collapses. Despite him being a prodigy in his career, he can't help Lauren. He is completely useless and powerless and losing her, he does. Yet, Lauren is helping him deal with her loss from the GB (great beyond). She left behind a letter for each month of the first year she's gone to help Joshua move on. The tasks are not easy for him to do but in a way they make him move forward despite the pain.
There is no doubt that Kristan Higgins is my favorite author for a reason. Pack Up the Moon is a well-written novel that deals with grief in an honest way. I couldn't feel sadder for Joshua and his heartbreak. Lauren was a little too good for her own good but I will let that go. I did love the secondary characters, Lauren's letters to her dad, the humorous parts of the story, and I thought the epilogue was just what the novel needed.
Thank you KH for making sure my tear ducts are in working order!
A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.