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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky

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Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine , weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, "Can true love exist if it's been planned from birth?" Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity. George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they're together. But George and Irene's attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates.
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them―together or, perhaps, apart. Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens in her novel How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky .

339 pages, Hardcover

First published July 1, 2014

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About the author

Lydia Netzer

6 books294 followers
Lydia Netzer lives in Virginia with her two children and husband.

Her first novel, Shine Shine Shine, was published by St. Martin's Press. It was an IndieNext Pick, a SIBA Okra Pick, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, Amazon's Spotlight Book in Best Books of July 2012, a People's Pick in People Magazine, and a NYT Notable Book.

Her new novel, How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, was published by St. Martin's Press in July 2014, and Entertainment Weekly called it a "lovely summer valentine."

You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook or visit her web site for more info.

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5 stars
331 (12%)
4 stars
843 (31%)
3 stars
914 (34%)
2 stars
396 (14%)
1 star
174 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 519 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,734 reviews14.1k followers
June 9, 2014
3.5 Do you believe in the concept of soul mates? That they can be engineered? Can two people be fated to meet? George and Irene are delightful characters, their are many amusing passages and throw in a few other outlandish characters and a strange backstory and you have the making of a entertaining read. Along with some astronomy, gods and goddesses and a video game, with some astrology and aware dreaming thrown in for good measzure. Netzer sure has a great imagination, creates some wonderfully quirky characters and a story that clips along at a steady pace.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,602 reviews2,576 followers
August 25, 2014
(3.5) The peculiar title is what first interested me, but the synopsis sounded even better. George and Irene, both 29, work at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, where George looks to the stars for proof of the existence of God, and Irene makes black holes. It seems they are fated to be together – or is it all their mothers’ manipulation? Call it a cross between The Big Bang Theory and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, blending science and romance into a quirky love story. The visions and lucid dreaming can get a bit weird, but I liked the mixture of deadpan and sarcastic characters. Somehow Netzer makes a book with themes of cancer and suicide very funny indeed. Odd but enjoyable.
Profile Image for Nancy McFarlane.
600 reviews114 followers
March 4, 2014
A quirky, geeky, wonderful feel good love story, unlike anything you have ever read. It has poetry, black holes, dreams, astronomy, super- colliders, psychics, destiny, unrequited love and the strangest pre-arranged marriage you will ever see. It goes from weird to serious; from funny to sad but in the end is an honest and emotional look at the nature of true love.
Profile Image for Ron Charles.
1,032 reviews48.4k followers
July 17, 2014
Two years ago, Lydia Netzer’s career blasted off with a first novel called “Shine Shine Shine” that stretched from housewives in Virginia to robots on the moon. The story spliced together marriage, motherhood and space travel to breed a hybrid of romantic comedy and scientific reverie.

With her second novel, “How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky,” Netzer remixes those ingredients and aims for the stars once again. St. Martin’s is printing 100,000 copies. And why not? An author’s reach should exceed her grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

Houston, we have a problem.

The story involves two astrophysicists, “twin souls,” born on the same day 29 years ago. One is brilliant but strict Irene Sparks, who refuses to have sex with her gamer boyfriend. The other is. . . .

To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
Profile Image for Barbara White.
Author 6 books1,112 followers
September 24, 2014
Some dude once told me he would read anything written by Stephen King—even a shopping list. That’s the way I feel about Lydia Netzer. In HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY, her writing is glorious, her characters uniquely memorable. In one laugh-out-loud scene, I actually felt as if I were reading a modern day Dickens.

When the novel began, I had mixed feeling about Irene. I wasn’t sure I liked her, but she intrigued me. By the end, I was crying on her behalf, chewing my nails for her safety, and cheering her on from the cheap seats. And George? How could anyone not fall in love with a sexy professor who hallucinates goddesses? (There's a reason for that--but no spoilers!)

Here’s a small example of Netzer’s ability to create character in just one sentence:

“Belion was huge, both in literal frame and personal aspect, the kind of person who sends out ripples into the room, seeming to bump into the walls even when they’re in the center.”

Belion is a gamer, and I have no interest in gaming. I have zero interest in science, too, but everything about this novel, including Belion’s subplot, sucked me in like a black hole. That’s the sign of a truly great writer—someone who can make you care about a world that doesn’t interest you.

Strip away fate, faith, science, tea leaf reading—and yes, sex in a supercollider—this is a thought-provoking novel about the miracle that we call love. I guarantee the last fifty pages will have you ruminating on predestination, soul mates, and the old fashioned girl meets boy scenario. HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY is sheer brilliance.

Profile Image for Priscille Sibley.
Author 5 books240 followers
April 24, 2014
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is Netzer's brilliant second novel. Like her first quirky book, Shine Shine Shine, Toledo will take the reader into a world that is just a little off from reality, with characters driven by real life passions and short comings. It is at times heartbreakingly sad and laugh out loud funny. Toledo will make the reader consider the absurd right along with the profound. This is the talent that Lydia Netzer displays in her world of science and art. It is her ability to juxtaposition the whole in a small time frame and intimate setting.

I don't believe in giving plot summaries. But How to Tell Toledo from the night sky is about two girls who grow up missing the love of their families. They scheme to bring true love to the children they will one day bear. Their children will be made for each other, and they will fall in love. But the course of true love is never easy. Not even in the quirky worlds that Lydia Netzer brings to life.

If you loved Shine Shine Shine, you will adore Toledo. If you didn't read Shine Shine Shine yet, run out and get it. Read it now. Read it immediately so that when you are hungry for more, you will have Toledo to read.

I was lucky enough to read an advanced reading copy of Toledo. It comes out in July 2014.
Author 11 books16 followers
July 30, 2014
At the intersection of love and science, gods and mathematics, fortune tellers and proton colliders lives this utterly charming and quirky book.

George and Irene are both scientists at the University of Toledo, and when they meet it's love at first sight. Or is it? What George and Irene don't know is that 28 years ago their mothers, childhood best friends, engineered their babies lives so that they would be twin souls- separated in childhood but destined to love each other whenever they meet again. But when George and Irene discover the truth of their shared past, the idea of a shared future seems less certain.

A highly scientific love story that is humorous and profound and everything in between and includes fantastically twisting sub plots involving black holes, video games, and lucid dreaming.
Profile Image for Alison Law.
105 reviews
July 5, 2014
I love Lydia’s books because they offer something for everyone. If you want to get your nerd on, you can practice your lucid dreaming with Bernice, get lost in one of Belion’s gamer fantasies or manufacture black holes with Irene. Literary fiction fans will appreciate the many allusions to classical literature and the gods who appear to George in Toledo. Read more in my blog post: Nerd Fiction for Everyone: http://bit.ly/1sUj2ss
Profile Image for Danielle Prielipp.
79 reviews18 followers
January 15, 2014
Brilliant! Nerd-romance at its finest...and I was reading the "preliminary passes" version because I just couldn't wait for the final edits.
Profile Image for Kate.
196 reviews24 followers
October 23, 2014
I've just been striking out on all the literary-fiction-with-astrophysics books. This book had everything I should have loved, and yet...it had these tantalizing fragments of greatness that never lasted for more than a few sentences.

It wasn't enough of anything. It tried to incorporate far too many ideas- magical realism, science, sex, romance, inter-generational conflict, lesbians, child abuse, astrology, physics, dreams, alcoholism, video games, quirky dialog, suicide, poetical turns of phrase- that it never coalesced. There was an whole entire side-plot involving two characters that I think should have been cut entirely (or turned into its own novel), as god knows what purpose it served here. I found myself aggravated by the characters unrealistic or stereotypical traits (scientist doesn't believe in love! quelle suprise!), not to mention the bizarre non-science. There were just so many frustrating scenes that failed to serve a larger purpose.

At least half of this book is dross, which is too bad, since I suspect it's crushing a core of something beautiful. The story line about the parents and the story line about their children, that's all that was needed. Netzer writes a lot about planes of symmetry, and that's where she should have focused. There was something wonderful in those two threads, and how she interwove their parallel stories with lovely ideas about physics, fate, and the stars. I just wish we had gotten to see it clearly.
249 reviews2 followers
May 22, 2015
While I liked the idea of this book, and the story was pretty good, there were too many elements that were like trudging through wet cement to read. Floating faeries and demi gods, lucid dreams, crystal balls and black holes. It just got to be too much. I should create a category for books I wished I had abandoned. This would be a good candidate.
Profile Image for Melinda.
1,020 reviews
June 10, 2014
Netzer's style is out of the box for me. Her version of 'magical realism' merging with eccentricity isn't quite to my tastes or standard. However, her premise is unique and her narratives always reach a level of normalcy towards the end which I find somewhat redeeming. Shine, Shine, Shine wasn't a show stopper for me, I'm sure many will disagree. I applaud her renegade style and her determination to see her vision through.

I am a science buff, this addition to the narrative was welcomed. Irene and George are charming. Irene the pragmatic and George idealistic. Their contrasts create tension, attraction and mass appeal.

Despite my aversion to Netzer's style, she has a gift forcing the reader to ask themselves a few poignant questions, a sign of a provoking narrative and a smart author. I found myself pondering destiny, astrology and unforeseen forces in general in matters of love. With their divided ways of seeing things, it gave the story a another level of interest by hearing their arguments regarding love and their union.

"Why do some people fall in love with each other, and others don't? What is love? It is so, so, so stupid right up until it's real. And then it's the most important thing in the world, whether you believe it or not."

The ending was superb, actually I felt it was going to go in a different direction, needless to say I am happy my prediction was incorrect and a pleasant surprise.

Netzer has no difficulty spinning an original romantic yarn, her unconventional characters, blending science and overall peculiar style forms a sweet sentimental story, leaving the peruser with loads to mull over. Entertaining read, Netzer fans will surely find this book more than enjoyable.
Profile Image for Jen.
628 reviews36 followers
February 16, 2014
Lydia Netzer has once again produced a beautiful, intricate story about unusual people that is unlike anything else I have ever read. I didn't think it was possible for me to like a book about love and science and relationships and hallucinations any more than I liked Shine Shine Shine, but I believe I do in fact like How to Tell Toldeo from the Night Sky even better. Just...read it.
262 reviews32 followers
August 3, 2014
I LOVED this book. It was weird, but in a good way. It kept my interest, touched my heart and gave my brain a workout.
Profile Image for Suzze Tiernan.
612 reviews53 followers
February 23, 2014
A romance for nerds, involving black holes and astrology, super-colliders and binary code. This booked seemed to go from quirky to deeply emotional in a heartbeat. Not for everyone, but a great read nonetheless.
Profile Image for Lost Planet Airman.
1,249 reviews71 followers
June 12, 2020
Rounding up to 3 stars, because, in the end, I liked the story, and the characters, and the quirky feel of a Toledo that never really existed tied to magic that probably doesn't fit have a historical basis.

The stuff I didn't like? It was nothing terrible, but neither did it help the book. There was sex, but felt weakened because it wasn't about passion. Th3e self-discovery cam late and by accident, and both the science and the magic were, to all appearances, mere McGuffins.

There's a vein of Magical Realism, that I am mining for my Monopoly game. Toledo is the closest to my hometown that I have ever seen a book for, so counting against my URC-50 as well.
Profile Image for Taryn.
1,206 reviews188 followers
May 26, 2014
Irene and George were literally born for each other. Their mothers, Bernice and Sally, best friends since childhood, concocted a cockamamie plan to have babies at the same time and raise them in parallel ways that would make them seem fated once they finally met as adults. Wham—their children would fall in love with each other, Bernice and Sally could live out their twilight years as in-laws, and their children would be deliriously happy and fulfilled by their bizarrely arranged marriage.

Of course, it doesn't work out that way at all. Sally and Bernice's relationship falls apart, and Bernice loses herself in a lake of gin. The plan is off, abandoned along with their friendship. However, they may have set in motion something that can't be stopped. George and Irene are both grown now, astrophysicists working at universities, and when their lives intersect, their undeniable connection is just as their mothers originally planned.

I'm trying to come up with a way to describe this book without making it sound like a super-cheesy romance novel. It isn't one, at all, but every time I talk about it, I feel like I'm summarizing a steamy, melodramatic bodice-ripper. There are definitely some heated encounters between Irene and George, but those scenes are more scientific than carnal. Irene has some serious commitment issues and cynicism about destiny, but her slow journey to trusting George isn't trite like a two-hour romantic comedy.

The book works because it's not formulaic. It's a weird, writhing conglomeration of random things: the science of black holes, reading the future in tea leaves and crystal balls, online fantasy role-playing games, a girl who speaks in whistles and squawks like a bird, a man whose scientific discoveries have come to him from hallucinations, a late-night expedition into a funeral home to steal ashes. All of that in one book, and it not only makes sense, it sings.

Lydia Netzer has a supremely creative yet twisted mind, and her latest book is the trippiest and sweetest romance you're likely to read.

(And if you haven't yet had the pleasure of acquainting yourself with her debut novel, Shine Shine Shine, you must must must.)

With regards to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advance copy. On sale July 1, 2014.

More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com
Profile Image for Tamsen.
951 reviews
August 9, 2014
Someone else wrote this in her review, and it was dead-on: "Within the first few chapters, I was drawn into this story - the language and style of writing, the characters, the plot. I thought, "This resonates; I am really going to love this.""

Of course, the follow-up to this is but....

Something miserably failed for me. I'm not sure if it was the wide variety of characters - which I did like individually. Collectively, they were a little too out there to be believed (except Belion - that dude rocked). It might have been the predictability of this. Maybe 60 pages in, when my interest began to wane, I predicted the complete rest of the book. It's especially unfortunate with such a unique concept, but there you go - unique, yet predictable. It could have been that question on the preview: "Can true love exist if it's been planned from birth?" Because first of all: ugh. True love. And two: who really cares anyways?!

If there is a spinoff of Belion (forget that other, super weird chick Silvergirl), I'm in.
Profile Image for Mike Phelan.
160 reviews5 followers
March 10, 2015
Gave it 2.5 chapters. At that point, we had at least the following:

- Protagonist invents portable particle accelerator size of small room to do grad school project.

- Protagonist creates a black hole, the proof of which is that she can see it. That means it has a Schwarzchild radius of ~ .1 mm, and thus the mass of the moon.

- Protagonist "records her data" via writing down that it was purple.

- Protagonist calls major research university, tells them "I did it!", describes data over phone, they examine data, gets job offer, accepts. In one afternoon.

- Protagonist's mother dies via fall down the stairs.

- Protagonist's boyfriend ignores the two above items to focus on playing video game; asks why she has to move to major research university and can't she just stay in his town where he plays video games; remains her boyfriend.

Aaaand that's about enough. Even ignoring "secondary protagonist sees goddess of sex appear and float through his intro class where students expect to be lectured to directly from textbook."
Profile Image for Emily.
27 reviews10 followers
April 28, 2014
I loved Lydia Netzer's debut novel, Shine, Shine, Shine and she didn't disappoint me one bit with her second book. The thing about Netzer is that her writing is funny AND smart, so you actually feel the neurons in your brain rapid firing with every word. She's completely outside the box, and it's fresh, fun, and exciting. How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a genuinely moving love story at its core, with the added bonus of humor that is sweet and almost soul touching. George and Irene's mothers are astrologists who give birth to “twin souls,” and plan to raise them separately so they can meet later and fall in love. The mothers have a little bit of a falling out and it is almost by divine intervention that George and Irene meet again. It's unlike anything I've ever read before, and for that... I am grateful. When I grow up, I want to be Lydia Netzer.
Profile Image for Kristen.
72 reviews1 follower
March 17, 2014
I woke up early(ish) this morning to continue reading How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (it comes out in July). I *tried* to read it slowly. I really did. But I failed miserably and continued reading it until I finished. It was a joy to read and I loved how smart and funny and scientific and heartbreaking and poignant and sweet and hopeful it is. I am sad to be done with it - perhaps I will need to work on dreaming and being aware. I will be reading it again in June to get ready for my July book club.

Profile Image for Victoria Zieger.
1,516 reviews9 followers
February 10, 2018
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a bit odd in a way that made it confusing in a lot of parts. The relationship was so different and I thought it was interesting. The concept of love and where it comes from and how we deal with it was very interesting but I just didn’t like the characters.

#booked2018 #unconventionallovestory
Profile Image for Lisa DellAquila.
42 reviews4 followers
August 24, 2014
I'll start with a bit of honesty-- I preferred Lydia Netzer's first novel, Shine Shine Shine, to her second, How To Tell Toldeo From the Night Sky. I am a huge fan of Shine Shine Shine, and Toledo just seemed a bit messier, wackier, and not quite as tight. But that's OK. I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, with its mediation on what makes a soulmate. Even the wackiness, though sometime pointless, is charming. There is just something about Netzer's sensibility that is just a bit bonkers, and I love it, and I'll keep reading her books for their unique take on this world and the universe beyond.

Although Toledo is not, in my opinion, as strong as Shine, I found the Washington Post review way off base. It seems the reviewer missed the point of the book, particularly when in the passage of dialogue he quoted. That pullout quote, which is the conversation between George and Irene when they decide to have sex, is quite purposely supposed to be awkward. Irene is a person who was pulled from a happy extended family and then raised in solitude by an unhappy alcoholic mother. She has not learned the intricacies of normal relationships. She even vows to never have sex or drink alcohol so as not to lose control and get hurt. For her to surrender to George, and give up that precious control, is a big deal. Irene is so sheltered, a newbie in the ways of love, that she can't possibly express her desire elegantly. The sudden feelings of love and sexual desire are foreign to her, and they are scary. Hence, the odd, awkward dialogue, which, to me, seems both fitting for these characters and contextually sound. The dialogue in the rest of the book is snappy and natural. Netzer's superlative writing skills should not be in any way diminished by this one out on context example.
Profile Image for Rhiannon Johnson.
806 reviews238 followers
July 21, 2014
I didn't get around to reading Netzer's debut, Shine Shine Shine, despite several rave reviews from some of my most trusted book bloggers. I was not going to miss out this time around. (I read her novella, Everybody's Baby, and really liked it.) How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is like nothing I've read before. Netzer is able to provide two characters with opposite thoughts when they look skyward and although the characters represent science versus God, she doesn't distance the reader with their personal beliefs. Her secondary characters are anything but flat. They have strange habits, addictions, and uncommon religions. I felt that one secondary storyline should have either been flushed out more or excluded altogether and I found myself lost a few times when there was a sudden change in setting without notice. However, the overall achievement of this book outweighs what I thought were merely unpolished edges. I've read other reviews of this work and I see a lot of "quirky, nerdy, and outside-the-box" which are all true but what I really enjoyed is the lack of fluff. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a cupcake, predictable read now and then but this book is an important edition to the entire genre of women's literature. A smart novel that encompasses the macrocosms of humanity, science, religion, fate, and free will and presents the concepts in a modern microcosm daily connections.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review ***
For my entire review: http://www.ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.c...
Profile Image for Julie.
1,325 reviews92 followers
June 10, 2015
This is such a quirky, cute love story that will appeal to the nerd in all of us. George and Irene are both super smart astronomers who have a chance encounter at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy and their attraction is instantaneous. But there is more than chance at play here, as their whole existence was really preordained by their mothers. Though it is obvious they are yin to the others yang, dubious Irene is hesitant and not ready to believe in love. Though she is able to create black holes in her lab, she cannot comprehend the idea of soulmates.

Besides the academic aspect of the narrative and Irene and George’s work at the university, there are some oddball concepts presented like astrology, fortune telling, lucid dreaming, and other unconventional superstitions. Though George is more pragmatic about being head-over-heels in love, he has his own idiosyncrasies (like hallucinating deities). As Irene struggles with the notion of being a pawn in their mothers’ schemes, George disregards any misgivings just to BE with her. It’s so stinking cute. But it’s never too schmaltzy or overly romantic. Sure, there’s some weird hippy-doo-dah, but that just makes this peculiar love story all the more unique.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.
Profile Image for Chaitra.
3,386 reviews
August 6, 2014
I hated the writing with a passion. It's a nonsensical plot as well - I couldn't believe I was hoping for Shine Shine Shine's Sunny and her wig to come and rescue me from the precious geniuses of this book. It's my fault for having expected a bit more than what was delivered. But as much as I am a fan of magical realism, this whimsy was a bit too - I don't know, childish? - to swallow. For not a single moment could I take the plight of these protagonists seriously. Maybe that's the point. But I still don't think this was a good book. I didn't throw it at the wall either, they didn't generate that much vitriol in me. That's the only reason this is getting a 2 star rating from me as opposed to 1.

I received this book for review, via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Tracy Reasner.
39 reviews3 followers
February 8, 2014
"Who can truly despair of love?" Astronomy meets astrology with a wee bit of erotica mixed in - I am truly loving this feel-good romantic story of George & Irene - "twin souls" who were scientifically made for each other by their mothers. Just the right read to put you in the mood for Valentine's Day and make you believe, yes, there is indeed a lid for every pot!
Profile Image for Lynne.
583 reviews54 followers
December 16, 2017
An adorable story that takes place where I reside. It was fun reading about the places. The story was cute too. Not literary genius but cute.
Profile Image for Dylan Zucati.
173 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2022
No matter how much I disagree with it conceptually, I can’t help but assume a negative bias when presented with a romance novel. The Romance genre has held some of my favorite books I’ve ever read, but I tend to dress those up as fantasy or literary fiction in my mind. It’s a shameful thing that “chick-lit” is deemed so uneducated when the only difference in the actual writing is how the marketing department decides to advertise the book. Misogyny aside, it’s pretty stupid to think of romance as lacking in something when most highly praised stories heavily feature romance in their plot. Even those without a romantic component, tend to hinge, even just slightly, on that lack of romance.

How To Tell Toledo From the Night Sky looks like a romance from first sight. The book cover’s colors outlining what I assume is a cityscape, while framing a couple kissing, gives the idea that it’s going to follow the usual “girl falls in love with guy who falls in love with girl” trope. While the book does heavily feature that plot-line, Lydia Netzer plays with it, her characters manipulating the flow of story in an almost meta-like way. They never turn towards the reader and recognize themselves as in a book, but using science and behavioral manipulation influence the trajectory of some of the characters. The book is always flipping through a few perspectives, the two leads: Irene and George, Irene’s mother Bernice, and maybe two chapters of a very silly side character who briefly dates Irene named Belion, after his RPG persona in a game that he made and actively develops. All the characters are lovable and in some ways deeply flawed. While most get a satisfying resolution to what is obviously haunting them from the beginning, not all of them do. There is at least one thread that burns up in a beautifully depressing way, providing no satisfaction yet staying so true to the story that its ending feels punctuated rather than trailed off. For a story so focused in the characters it contains, Netzer succeeds in providing space for each of them to live full lives while juggling overwhelming scenarios.

What makes How To Tell Toledo From the Night Sky so unique are its high concepts that ask so much from the reader without ever feeling gimmicky or unearned by novel’s end. George’s fairies and gods, Belion’s Silvergirl, Bernice and Sally’s manifestation, alcoholism, queer identity, ambition, and dreams; they all get to live full lives in a novel where just one of the ideas has the ability to swallow the others whole, like one of Irene’s black holes. I don’t think the book would have survived very well with just one of its stories either, I think I might have been bored by not getting the full meal that Lydia Netzer presents. There were times when I’d roll my eyes or assume the worst of flashy plot, but as with other great authors I’ve read, submitting to trust in the writing allows for the intended, enjoyable experience of reading. I’ve been hurt by books before, sure. Books that promise a lot and deliver a little, some that deliver a lot but for no real purpose. How To Tell Toledo From the Night Sky doesn’t promise more than it delivers, but instead delivers more than you’d expect. This is a book that left me feeling happy without laying a saccharine path I was forced down to reach that conclusion. I’d say it sets up everything it wants to do and satisfies all of it by the final page. Between the pessimism of some characters and the dreams of others, there is an engaging little story about love and living life under the fixed stars of Toledo.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
425 reviews182 followers
July 20, 2020
Really fast DNF because: nope, still not into quirky lit fic romances about fated lovers, star-crossed or otherwise. I should know better than to attempt any book that is primarily a romance. It's not a plot category that holds much interest for me.
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