Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go – Kay Acker

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This is an impressive debut for Acker.

Lauren came home to her small town when her Dad’s health took a turn for the worse. Now he’s gone she’s looking at what her next steps should be, including deciding if she wants to stay in her demanding yet unsatisfying job. When demonstrating her company’s latest piece of discouraging software to an architectural firm, she meets Georgia.

Georgia works at the architecture firm designing homes. She has a lot to think about herself. She’s reeling from the unexpected death of her daughter’s father, Georgia’s best friend and work colleague, trying to navigate life as a bisexual autistic woman without his help and the last thing she needs is Lauren and her dreadful software in her life.

I found all three of the main characters (I’m counting Georgia’s daughter Hannah in this because her part in the book is so important) are written really well. You get to know who they are and why they are the way they are, and I thought Acker did a great job of portraying how their pasts impact their decision making and feelings about themselves. I don’t have much experience with autism, but from my limited knowledge I felt the portrayal of Georgia and Hannah was done well and I’m happy to see other reviewers with more experience feel this way. I also found most of the secondary characters to be interesting and well thought out too.

A book full of communication almost feels like a rarity nowadays, but this one has it, until it doesn’t. The gaps in communication do however fit with what we know about the characters, and I felt that this played really well. So whilst I was disappointed to find the 90% angst blow-up, it did at least make sense within the narrative.

As I often say when that 90% blow-up happens – I wanted more of them together. I wanted to see how they all worked together as a family, how Lauren integrated further into Georgia and Hannah’s lives and how Lauren began to feel about herself when she realised she could do anything she wanted with her life.

I’m definitely hoping the success of this one means that another book will be forthcoming for Acker and I’ll be looking out for it.

To be fair, I’m not sure this review does this book justice, but I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for an unusual romance with interesting characters.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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