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Last Couple Standing

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  172 reviews
A couple determined not to end up like their divorced friends try a radical experimentand get in way over their headsin this hilarious, heartfelt novel from the author of Were All Damaged.

The Core Four have been friends since college: four men, four women, four couples. They got married around the same time, had kids around the same time, and now, fifteen years later, they
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Ballantine
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  262 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has weathered the breakup of close friends knows the trauma it inflicts. So, I loved the premise of this book. Four couples, known as The Core Four, have been friends since college. In the space of one year, three of the four couples get divorced. And with all that carnage, the fourth couple find themselves questioning their own marriage.

I immediately appreciated Normans writing style. Its basic but it just rings true. They were solid. They were dependable. Stable. Safe. They were
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Random House Book Club

Many thanks to Ballantine Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

And now, an interview with the author!

What inspired you to start writing?

Ive been writing since I was a kidlike third and fourth grade. I used to write little stories in pencil, complete with my own terrible illustrations, and read them aloud to my parents. Nothing in particular inspired me to do it other than the fact that its what I wanted to do. Writing has always been wired into my personality. Still is.

Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I probably shouldn't have read Matthew Norman's upcoming love/comedy novel Last Couple Standing a month before my wedding, but it was such a funny, interestingly different romance novel. I was not expecting to really enjoy this book as much as I did. The story centers around Jessica and Mitch Butler and their marriage. Out of all their friends, Jessica and Mitch are the only ones who haven't gotten a divorcebut their marriage is getting a bit stale. The couple is nervous that they'll be the ...more
Larry H
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Can you save your marriage by tearing it apart? Matthew Norman's new novel, Last Couple Standing , attempts to answer that question.

They were the Core Fourfour couples that met and paired up in college and remained inseparable friends. But 15 years later, one by one, the couples are breaking up, leaving Mitch and Jessica the only couple still together.

While the two dont feel unhappy with each other or their relationship, although raising two kids and working can be exhausting, they worry that
Still not sure if this is a three-star or four-star book. The premise threw me off and was hard to get beyond. I'll be back with a full review.

Full review:
Three and a half stars, rounded down.

The writing in this book is fantastic, and for that reason alone it deserves three stars. It's the story that threw me for a loop because honestly, it's a subject that I really don't care for. I know there are a lot of people who have "relaxed" marriages or relaxed rules about marriage but that's just not
Gail C.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So, from the first sentence you know to expect this story to be a train wreck. Yet, from the first sentence, its so engaging, you steal yourself for the heartaches you expect to come and you read anyway. The characters who make up the story are so engaging, and so well formed, you are immediately engaged in the story and begin hoping the train wreck wont really be so bad.
As you read, the train wreck in the making is softened from time to time with some off-beat humor as well as some passages
Jamie beauty_andthebook_
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

Full of humor, heart and last ditch efforts to save a marriage - Last Couple Standing is unlike any book I've read before. Norman has a writing style that makes you want to compulsively turn the pages and laugh and cry alongside the characters.

When 3 of 4 couples in a group of friends divorces, the 4th decides that maybe an open marriage is the way to ensure they are not the next to fall. There's a set of rules, but of course, nothing is really ever that simple - or is it?

Thank you
I kept picking this up during some serious slumps which resulted in me taking MONTHS to finally finish it. But when I got a good groove, I devoured it.

This was pretty damn good. Some jokes didnt stick with me, as in some metaphors aimed to make me laugh but seemed more random than anything. And my god, the love for the Orioles is strong with this one 😂. But there were a hell of a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Especially the ending, omg Emily FTW. It definitely was sexy, definitely funny, and I
Genevieve Trono
Sep 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
I had high hopes for the Last Couple Standing but it ended up just being an okay read for me. It is definitely a rom-com but the premise just fell flat for me. There was some laugh out loud moments but I felt that it just was a little too "out there" for me when main characters felt so flat.

I did enjoy the commentary on marriage and kids but some it is was just too cringe-worthy and a little juvenile. The characters were very one dimensional which made it hard to really connect with the
Jill (chill_jilland_read)
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel a new Netflix movie or series in the making

Last Couple Standing is a hilarious, touching, and slightly edgy novel about learning to love what you have well.

Four married couples have known each other since college. Theyve lived practically all of the major life milestones together. Suddenly, three of the couples have headed for divorce. Mitch and Jessica are the last couple standing as a semi-happy married couple with children. When they start investigating their own marriage, each of
Renee (itsbooktalk)
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
Jessica and Mitch are part of the core four - 4 couples who've been friends since college, moved to the suburbs together and are now navigating kids, marriage and middle age together- some better than others. When Jessica and Mitch find themselves the only couple in their friend group not getting divorced, they decide to shake things up in their marriage by relaxing rules regarding sex. Needless to say, things don't go as planned. In the hands of a lesser writer, this entire story
mindful.librarian ☀️
(free review copy) so so so relatable - well, the marriage part, not the sleeping with other people part ;-) Reminded me of The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of Last Couple Standing.

Mitch and Jessica have been together since college, the last couple out of their Core Four of friends to remain married.

As a way to prevent their marriage from going stagnant, they embark on a not so original, radical experiment to 'sow' their oats without consequences.

Yeah, like that ever works in books and real life.

I did enjoy the writing, there was some jokes and humor, and I found myself drawn into Mitch and Jessica's life.

Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
While the concept is a bit intriguing, I guess I don't buy into the core concept of the book ('all our friends are getting a divorce, so now we're going to try an open marriage to save ours?'). Additionally, this read a little too much 'white hetero-normative problems' to be much more than a surface level book. I would've loved just a bit of diversity. As other reviewers have mentioned, the characters are all somewhat one-dimensional and I don't particularly understand their motivations for ...more
Roma Sharma
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. The climax was almost like a movie plot where all characters come together to create a collision.. It was something that I would classify as a beach read. The subject had potential for a deeper dive in to the psychology of marriage but its a missed opportunity. Overall easy to read and keeps you engaged. ...more
Leslie - Shobizreads
This book is fast-paced and well written in that you're easily pulled into the story of the "Core Four", - four couples who all met and married around the same time. Fast forward fifteen years and all but one couple have divorced. Will this last married couple stand the test of time, or will they end up like their friends?

This couple goes to what feels like extreme lengths to me (hello infidility) so I didn't love that aspect of this novel.

This all culminates in a crazy chaotic confrontation on
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
This storyline was a bit odd, but mostly predictable. Not something I enjoyed.
Bradeigh Godfrey
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh yes I DID binge this in 1 day! Let me tell you about this juicy read...😳

This was my first binge read of 2020. I may have neglected some household tasks the day I read it, and I may have ignored my kids just a smidge, and hey, I might have even closed my office door at lunch so I could sneak in a couple pages without someone coming in and asking me stuff about Patient Care and Medical Education but NO REGRETS (I am joking. I do not ignore my patients or trainees to read. Very often). This
Jessica Jeffers
Dec 10, 2019 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: fiction, edelweiss
This was just....very much not for me. I loved Matthew Norman's first two books, but I couldn't get more than a third of the way through this one because it left a sour taste in my mouth.
Anissa Austin
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I struggled with a rating for this book. Although it kept my interest, some parts were not lacking substance to me.
I give this book 3.75 stars.

The Last Couple standing is about Jessica and Mitch who decide to loosen their marriage in order to remain alive and save their marriage. They are the only couple of their closest friends who are not divorced.

Part One: The Divorces was very confusing to me. This is the part
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book to wrap up with during this chilly fall/winter weather! Be warned: its like watching a slow inevitable train wreck. You want the train to stop, but you know it wont, at least not in time, and you simply cant look away.
The author, Matthew Norman, writes with a wry sense of humor, which I absolutely love. Even though at times he must write of pain and humiliation, he manages to do it respectfully, and then give his battered character an opportunity to smile at the little things.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5⭐ Thank you NetGalley and publisher for an ARC. This was a fun read. Pretty hilarious, and definitely a bit of a farce toward the end. I didnt necessarily love the topic. The wife in the lone surviving married couple among a group of friends suggest an open marriage might help keep them married. But the book as well as the main characters were entertaining. Of course, as Im sure the author (a male) intended, I was team Mitch (husband) more than Jessica (wife.) ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I really struggled to finish this. The plot felt contrived and shallow. The characters were for the most part, one dimensional and adolescent. The themes of infidelity, divorce, open marriage were all portrayed in an unconvincing manner so that the premise fell flat. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Taylor Noel
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fun, frothy novel about a couple that tries to save their marriage by sleeping with other people. Reminded me a lot of the movie Crazy Stupid Love!
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last Couple Standing is the upcoming novel by author Matthew Norman about a couple, Jessica (a therapist) and Mitch (a high-school English teacher), who out of their best friends, The Core Four, they are the last couple still married. The four couples met about the same time in college, got married at about the same time, had kids, and so on. But at the start of the novel, the third couple in their group has just finalized their divorce, leaving Jessica and Mitch as the last couple still ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Mitch and Jessica have a solid group of friends that they have known since college. They all got married around the same time, and all but Mitch and Jessica, have gotten divorced around the same time.

In order to make their marriage last they decide together to go about making some unconventional rules for a relaxed marriage. This is in an effort to make sure their marriage lasts.

As a married women of 13 years I was definitely intrigued by this concept. My spouse and I are fully committed to one
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Mitch and Jessica have been married for 15 years, have two kids, and they're happy. Unlike all their friends who are divorced and diving into the shark-infested waters of dating apps, they enjoy monthly date nights and still find each other attractive. They're in it for the long haul. They're safe...right? When Jessica gently suggests they each explore sleeping with other people, Mitch goes along with it until she actually comes home having done it. So is he supposed to rush out and find someone ...more
Brett Benner
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
It seems a little absurd to call Matthew Normans new book a romantic comedy considering its about four couples, all of whom divorce save one, and how that remaining duo reacts. And really is! Anyone in a long term relationship with children will find much to identify with in Mitch and Jessicas plight, and the questions they begin to ask. Should they stay together? Is their marriage really that rock solid? Its this gnawing idea of the grass being greener that has them unlock the marriage ...more
Addie BookCrazyBlogger
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-s
I got to the last chapter of this book and said to myself, Great now I need to find everything this author has ever written and read it. I loved this book! It was refreshing, it was real and it was a very entertaining read. Mitch and Jessica have been part of a quartet of couples since they were in college. Essentially all dating each other since freshman or sophomore year, the divorces start propping up, with Jessica and Mitch being the last ones to still be married. Jessica, an adolescent ...more
Olga Gamer
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The Core Four have been friends since college: four men, four women, four couples, four marriages, three sets of children, and now three divorces. "Last Couple Standing" is about one couple's exploration into an open marriage to see if they can avoid the same fate that befell their friends. Here, Mitch and Jessica relax a few rules to see if that will help them guarantee a chance at success.

Part of the reason why I gave the book three stars is because of all the subplots in the novel. I thought
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Matthew Norman is an advertising copywriter. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Baltimore. His first novel, Domestic Violets, was nominated in the Best Humor Category at the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards.

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