This Close to Okay

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This Close To Okay book cover

A Novel
by Leesa Cross-Smith

On Sale: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Hardcover: 320 Pages

Publisher Description

From the award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller” comes a cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers.

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home when she spots a man precariously standing on the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally, reluctantly, shares his first name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally-charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe and comfortable space for Emmett, although she doesn’t confess that she works as a therapist. However, Emmett is not the only one who needs help — and he has secrets of his own.

Alternating between Tallie and Emmett’s perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge, This Close to Okay is an uplifting, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they need it the most.

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About the author

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and the author of Every Kiss A War, Whiskey & Ribbons, So We Can Glow, and This Close To Okay. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and their two teenagers. 

For more about Leesa, check her website HERE!


“Leesa Cross-Smith is a consummate storyteller who uses her formidable talents to tell the oft-overlooked stories of people living in that great swath of place between the left and right coasts.”—Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
“This book hits the ground running. Cross-Smith writes tenderly about the trial and error of intimacy and draws you in with enormous warmth and control.”—Raven Leilani, New York Times bestselling author of Luster
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“Leesa Cross-Smith writes the way many people wish they could: ferociously, tenderly, and with a tremendous amount of heart. The stories contained in So We Can Glow showcase the very best of Cross-Smith’s voice. They stick with readers long after the book is closed. This collection is tantalizing and Cross-Smith is a delight.”—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things (on So We Can Glow)
“One of those rare feel-good novels that also crackles with wisdom, This Close to Okay introduces readers to two characters who will come to feel like cherished friends. . . Over the course of a single weekend, their many conversations on love, loss, grief, and joy coalesce into a primer on human goodness.”—Elle
“With an effortlessly Baldwinian style of misleading simplicity, Leesa Cross-Smith’s beguiling prose lures readers in from the first moments. Reading Cross-Smith is like stepping into seemingly calm water, only to be swept away by the force of a story so immediate, and characters so intimate and bewitching, that you do not want to come up for air.”
Bethany C Morrow, author of Mem and A Song Below Water
“Another page-turner . . . A story about the power of vulnerability and connection, This Close to Okay is a moving reminder of the importance of authentic human relationships.”—Refinery29
“One of the most charming and uplifting stories I’ve read recently. It’s the perfect dose of escapism.”—Maisy CardGlamour
“This is a heartfelt and moving novel about grief, love, second chances, and the coincidences that change lives. Leesa Cross-Smith is a wonderful writer and a wonderful caregiver of her characters, showing them the kindness they can’t always show themselves, and giving readers a tender, intoxicating reading experience we won’t soon forget.”
Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

“Leesa Cross-Smith’s This Close to Okay navigates difficult subjects with great tenderness and the beautiful, emotionally rich language she’s known for. By turns heartbreaking, charming, surprising and funny, Cross-Smith deftly explores what it means to be okay in the face of what life hands us.”—Elizabeth Crane, author of The History of Great Things

“An emotional, uplifting tale of hope, chosen family, and the healing power of human connection, especially at the moments when we’re most determined to be alone.”—Good Housekeeping
“A poignant page-turner about perseverance and two broken people who, like all of at one time or another, just need someone to tell them everything’s going to be all right.”—Real Simple
“With great tenderness and care, Leesa Cross-Smith has written a beautiful, moving story about the ways the heart hurts in this world—and the depths we’ll go to help each other heal. This Close to Okay is a balm for anyone who’s ever felt their faith in themselves or others begin to fade.” —Natalia Sylvester, author of Everyone Knows You Go Home
“Explores fragility, grief, and the effects of mental illness in this wonderfully strange novel about new love between broken people . . .  As dark and tense as it is flirty and humorous, this moving novel offers consistent surprises.”—Publishers Weekly
“Cross-Smith once again shows adeptness at exploring the range of human emotions, particularly the fragility of relationships in the wake of tragedy…offer[s] twists that keep the novel interesting and realistic. A page-turning pleasure with a heroine to love.”—Booklist
“A fast-moving, drama-filled roller coaster that will keep you guessing about how things will turn out for these two lost souls.”—BookPage
“Inventive. Authentic. Honest.”—Craft Literary





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