Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.
When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.
Jacqueline Friedland is the author of award-winning novels Trouble the Water and That's Not a Thing. A graduate of The University of Pennsylvania and NYU Law School, she practiced as an attorney before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband and four children. For contact info, tour dates, and book clubs please visit www.jacquelinefriedland.com and Instagram @jackiefriedland
Her new novel, He Gets That From Me, will be out on September 14, 2021.
Wesley and Meredith are engaged when his parents are killed in an accident shortly before their wedding date.
Wesley blames Meredith and leaves for a trip across Europe, not before ending their engagement.
Flash forward and Meredith is dating Aaron. They eventually get engaged, and Meredith can finally breathe again. Their engagement party is in a restaurant owned by none other than Wesley, and Meredith is seeing him all over now. When she sees him, he’s clearly not over her. Of course this causes her confusion over which direction to take. Will Meredith ever have a happy ending?
This was a thoughtful and engaging story. I found much to relate to here, and I wondered what I would do in Meredith’s shoes. She’s a great main character, and I thoroughly enjoyed her story.
I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.
Can a relationship survive when old love walks back in? That's Not a Thing, Jacqueline Friedland's new novel, has its own ideas.
Meredith is happy. She’s engaged to Aaron, a handsome pediatric neonatologist, and while her job as a corporate lawyer doesn’t quite satisfy her, it does give her financial security and the occasional chance to work on a human rights case. Sure, she'd rather do something more fulfilling, but maybe someday.
One night when she and Aaron are at dinner with friends at a hot new NYC restaurant, Meredith discovers the chef is Wesley, her ex-fiancé. Their relationship collapsed spectacularly four years before and left her reeling. It took a while for her to trust and love again, but Aaron seems so right for her.
Seeing Wesley again, however, reawakens her feelings for him, and Meredith is unsure what to do. And when she learns about the challenge Wesley faces, she makes a split-second decision that has significant ramifications for her, Aaron, and Wesley.
I thought this was a pretty fantastic book, and given what happens, it’s surprisingly not too maudlin. There’s a lot to think about here and how you would react in the situations that occur in the book. (I’m being more vague than the description of the book on Amazon and elsewhere because I didn’t know about some key plot points.) At the start, the book shifts narration between Meredith's relationship with Wesley and the present time.
The course of love never runs smoothly and that certainly was the case here. But That's Not a Thing was poignant and powerful, and romantic in its own way. And you've got to love a book that can deliver lots of emotions without leaving you a sobbing mess!
I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you enjoy reading stories about the one that got away then this book is for you. The range of emotions I went through with this book - that when I started I could not stop reading until my eyes were strained, and everything else neglected.
Meredith and Wesley met during college at Columbia and their love story was completely enthralling, until a tragic accident caused their horrible breakup. Years later, Meredith, was now in another relationship with Aaron, a pediatric heart surgeon, and engaged. In their search for a wedding venue, they ran into a TriBeCa chic restaurant owned by none other than Meredith’s ex Wesley. Information about Wesley brings them together in an unfortunate love triangle.
Friedland’s writing was heartrending, emotional and beautiful. She was able to capture the emotions of old love and new, digging into deep seated emotions that we bury to move on, but never forgetting. It was about forgiveness and being true to yourself. Friedland’s brilliance was her writing of witty and smart dialogue, relatable characters, and fabulous pacing while perfectly unfolding the story in two timelines.
i hope the people in his new home will give him the kind of support he needs. i wonder who will give me the support that i need.
disclaimer: i usually start my reviews off with a quote i loved from the book, even if i didn't enjoy the book itself. but "that's not a thing" left me with such trauma that i went for the one that aggravated me the most and that i feel sums up the whole book.
i would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for an arc, and i would also like to thank the universe for being cruel enough to me to make me humble enough that i would be appalled by meredith altman's behavior.
boy, am i annoyed. you see, i saw the cover of this book, and i wanted it. i read the blurb, i still wanted it. i was really excited for it. and then came meredith freaking altman.
if you have not figured it out by now, meredith altman is the main character in this book by friedland. and she is one of the most self-centered people i have ever read about, even though friedland tries desperately to portray her as someone whose only goal in life is to help others, who thrives on it and needs it. to me, it still reads like a junky that gets high on the recognition of doing something for someone else.
i disliked the main character so much that it completely compromised the whole read for me. she was that much of a train wreck and i couldn't feel any sympathy for her, mainly because she hadn't experience anything truly terrible in her life and, yet, was the ultimate victim. true, meredith had been on the verge of terrible things. her parents almost got divorced. her mother almost died of cancer. but none of those things actually happen. instead, when terrible things start to happen to almost everyone around her , meredith still manages to make it about her and how much it is affecting her. it doesn't work for me.
i also struggled with the pace a little bit. reading this book felt, at times, like when you're in the bouncy house and you fall and then you're trying to stand up but you can't because everyone else keeps jumping. the two timelines were fine and were not what was off about the pace at all. instead, it was more about how time moved in each of those timelines, where we would either go into excruciating detail about every single second of what was happening or skip weeks ahead entirely. very jumpy.
as if this was not enough, friedland then has the audacity to end the novel without any closure.
i hate to see aaron trapped in this book. i really liked wes, as well, but aaron i felt true sympathy for. he was innocent in the whole meredith and wes situation, he was a genuinely good guy and he was beautifully written. he was probably the only character i really cared about, which explains why i'm so sad to see him in this book and as a constant victim of altman's narcisism.
“I wonder if you ever grow up enough that the tensions and complexities abate, that you can get through one freaking meal without having to consider the lifelong implications of your every action.”
Jacqueline Friedland’s newest novel, That’s Not a Thing, is an emotionally packed narrative that examines love, heartbreak, and the rekindling of one’s life passion. Friedland’s protagonist, Meredith Altman, is a successful attorney at a cooperate law firm and is in the midst of planning her wedding with her attractive fiancé, Aaron. On the surface, Meredith seems to have it all, until one day when she has a chance encounter with her ex-fiancé, Wesley. The situation becomes increasingly complicated when Meredith finds out that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). For Meredith, Wesley’s presence and the new knowledge regarding his current situation awakens unhealed wounds from their breakup. With memories flooding back to Meredith, she becomes unsure of her feelings and begins to question her life choices.
Told through Meredith’s point-of-view, Friedland’s expertly crafted writing style creates an increasingly relatable character that is thoughtful, compassionate, and holds a strong belief in helping others. The writing manages to create an intimate reading experience as it depicts Meredith’s inner thoughts while she struggles with conflicting and complicated emotions. As Meredith’s first-person perspective is consistent throughout, the novel also features various flashback scenes depicting important background knowledge to aid in understanding the type of person Meredith was prior to when she is first introduced to the reader.
The novel thrives in its telling of the romantic relationships. The strongest are the scenes with Wesley and Meredith. Their love was almost palpable through the page. On the other hand, while Aaron is depicted as perfect and their relationship is strong, his scenes with Meredith did not exhibit the same type of pull or addictive quality that Wesley’s did. Altogether, the relationships are realistic in that they portray the joy, hardships, and other issues that can arise from idealizing a romance.
However, romance is not the only pull in the story, the novel is focused on Meredith’s journey through a realization of self and in the refocusing of how her interests can fit within her career. The element of romance simply is the initial push that forces Meredith to begin making these realizations.
Full of other characters and side plots, there are many interesting elements that impact Meredith and make the story multifaceted. While these factors all play a role in the novel, by the novel’s end there seems to be some loose ties and unfinished storylines. Since these elements are not included by the ending, their absence seems only to solidify the point that the narrative’s main focus is Meredith. Also, while Wesley having ALS is another feature of the plot, it is important to note that the novel is not solely about the illness. Friedland approaches the topic with care and compassion, while seamlessly interweaving it as part of the narrative.
Overall, That’s Not a Thing is not only a story about romance, but a story about rediscovering oneself after experiencing the many impactful moments of life. It is a story about sadness and loss, but also about new beginnings. Gripping and enjoyable, Friedland has created a work that is hopeful and with writing that is a breeze to flow through.
A couple of years ago, I read a historical fiction young adult novel by Jacqueline Friedland. While I was impressed by it, I was even more excited to read her first foray into women's fiction. And you know what? She nailed it!
The story was instantly engaging. I liked the flashback scenes toward the beginning, which explained the reasons behind what Meredith was feeling and why her situation was so complex. (They also made me nostalgic for college.) I can't relate in terms of wanting to get back with any of my ex-boyfriends, but I can see why Meredith would still hold a torch for Wesley. I also got frustrated with her at times, after learning more about why things ended the way they did. Meredith is flawed and impulsive, and I love her for that. I also admire her need to help people whenever possible.
For the most part, I felt like I was privy to what was going on in a friend's life, regardless of the fact that I'm a lot older than Meredith. And, of course, I enjoyed the Jewish references in the novel. I appreciated that she was so accommodating to her Orthodox brother's Shabbat schedule when planning when her wedding would be.
I felt like time jumped ahead a lot and some aspects of the story could have been addressed more. However, I understand the need to move the story along instead of letting it linger in one place. There was a lot to unpack, but Jacqueline did it well and while things wrapped up neatly in the end, I really wanted that for Meredith.
Jacqueline has a flair for women's fiction and I am eager to see what she comes up with next. In the meantime, definitely check this one out!
That’s Not A Thing was a wonderful read about love—first love, lasting love, familial love. Love is complicated and Friedland covered some very sad, emotional topics without making it feel like too heavy of a read. I was hooked on this one from the first page and I never felt it waning. In fact, I stayed up late just because I didn’t want to put it down.
I highly recommend this one when you’re in the mood for some great women’s fiction that will have you feeling all the emotions.
I received an advanced copy in exchange for my review.
4.5⭐Meredith Altman who was engaged to Wesley. Wesley's parents die in a car accident and that ruins everything for them. He breaks off the engagement and she is left devastated!! lNow, she's engaged to Aaron who has helped her move on and find happiness again! Before the wedding, Wesley unexpectedly appears in her life again. She finds out that he's been diagnosed with ALS and everything changes! She sees that there is still feelings between them. I love how you are given flashbacks, it makes you realize what Meredith went through and how hard it was for her after Wesley left her. These characters were well developed, and the story moved quickly. I appreciated Meredith's story and was excited to see where it was going. This book shows you that you should appreciate each day as a gift!! I was surprised by how it played out in the end. This was an emotional, drama filled, fun book and I really enjoyed it!! Definitely worth a read!!.
Wow! Beautiful, Touching Tribute to the Power of True Love, Warms the Soul, Pulls at every possible heartstring!!
"Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp....."
That's the intro to what I can most certainly says is by far my favorite book of 2020! The story of Meredith, Wesley and Aaron will have you cheering for everyone. It's a story of truebdeep love and realizing that sometimes as much as you hope and pray things don't always work out the way you think they should but more as they were always meant to be. The character development in this story is too notch and had me feeling for everyone involved. Please do yourself a huge favor, grab a box of tissues and give this book the only time it deserves! Thank you #NetGalley #SparkBooks for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
I’ve never been yanked around by my heartstrings so much by a book before.
I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis before I picked up this book to read it, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I went into the novel blind, because I thought I had a pretty good idea about where this book was going, and I was so wrong.
I won’t go into detail here for that reason.
The first half of this book is told in a dual timeline. Sometimes when this happens, I find I’m more invested in one timeline than I am in the other, but that was not the case with this book. I was completely invested in both timelines from the very first page. I felt attached to the characters I was meant to feel attached to immediately.
I felt as torn as our main character, Mer. And that is not at all an easy place to be, not at all.
The first 30ish percent of this book seems like your typical novel. I thought I knew where it was going and I was comfortable with that. And then I was completely blindsided…and immediately after the first punch in the gut, I felt like I got hit again. And again. Up until the very end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how and if everything was going to be resolved. NEEDING everything to be resolved. And entirely unsure HOW I even wanted it to be resolved.
I casually read the first part of this book over a couple of days, picking it up whenever I had time. Little did I know that once I hit a certain part, I’d abandon my plan of getting to bed early and stay up all night reading fiendishly until I finished.
aside from the story itself, I loved the three main characters in this book.
Mer is not a main character I usually like so much. She’s almost overly self-sacrificing, greater-good kind of character that can be eyeroll worthy sometimes, but she isn’t perfect and she’s not annoying. She’s just a good person in a really heartbreaking situation.
Then there is Aaron, who seems like your typical almost-too-perfect rebound boyfriend and Wes, the magnetic first love.
There are a lot of typical romance tropes here, but I promise this book isn’t typical. It’s so much more and it’s a story that needed to be told.
I adored this book, these characters, and yes even the heart pumping, tear-jerking rollercoaster it took me on.
Keep in mind there are trigger warnings in this book for severe illness and loss of a parent. I’m not the best at spotting triggers, but I felt like I should mention the ones I did notice since this was an ARC.
An ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I'm not quite sure where to start with this one. Meredith is just a bit of a train wreck, honestly. It seems like her family was kind of a mess, and she just didn't really get ahead herself.
I felt like the pace was really off here. Not just because of the flashbacks vs. current times, but also within each of those it seemed like there would be big gaps where maybe some details would have been helpful.
The relationships just did not develop much, in my opinion. It made it hard to believe. And most of the characters lacked any real growth, which was disappointing.
I ended the book with a lot of questions. What happened with Lana/ Reese? What about Moe and his case? What's up with Nicola? How does Wes's storyline really end? I felt frustrated with the lack of endings here.
Friedland's THAT'S NOT A THING is an unputdownable tale of old love meets new. Heartrending and evocative, this beautifully woven story captures the deep-seated emotions we carry---those of guilt, forgiveness, and what it means to be there for those we love. Friedland's sharp writing and emotional depth will leave you turning the pages, ending with a satisfying, albeit bittersweet conclusion.
This was a one-day read for me, as I was totally engrossed from the beginning. What a concept - an engaged woman encounters her old fiancé, only to discover that he is dying from ALS and has no one to take care of him. Old resentments arise, new feelings are explored, and it is the perfect recipe for drama that is both heartwarming and compelling. I look forward to reading more of her books!
** I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. **
This book was just one big, hot mess. I felt like this book had every plot line that could be used. I won't reveal them because what would involve spoilers, but this book just didn't work for me. Meredith just seems like a train wreck. I didn't feel an attachment to any of the characters, and the book just seems to end far too abruptly.
Thank you NetGalley and SparkPress for an ARC. 4⭐️ for an original love triangle type of story that also had a little Me Before You vibe. A quick read. A few misses in that some sub-plot points had too much detail while several of them were not resolved... not mentioned again including one of the main ones. But still enjoyed this one and would recommend.
Mannnn. I wanted to love this one so badly. It has all of the elements that make up my perfect read.
Unfortunately it just fell flat for me. So many subplots were never mentioned again and not wrapped up in any way. WHY did they spend so much time talking about the immigrant she was representing? Page after page of super detailed information and then POOF- he's just never mentioned again.
Meredith is one of the most self-obsessed, unlikeable MCs ever. She's so wrapped up in herself it makes it impossible to like her. And that makes it hard to connect with the book.
I never really got a feeling for Wesley or Aaron, unfortunately. And man, that ending. What a mess.
ARC was sent to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I absolutely loved this gem of a book. My typical genre is mystery/thriller so this was not something I’d normally read but I am so glad I did. I adored these characters- all them! My heart ached for Wesley. I have 2 family members who have passed from ALS so this hit home. Aaron was someone I wanted to fall in love with and wrap my arms around- he felt like home. Meredith was lovey even though she was messy! The NYC setting was captivating and made me miss home! Put this on your TBR for April! Thanks to Netgalley for my advanced ebook copy!
Emotional, heartfelt & thought provoking are the words that come to mind when describing Jackie Friedland's foray into contemporary fiction - a genre where I hope she will spend more time in the future, if That's Not a Thing is any indication. Torn between her past and her present, Meredith Altman finds herself in a unique love triangle when her ex fiance appears in her new life with her current fiance.
That's Not a Thing will take turns that will surprise the reader and kept this story fresh for me - there's a bit of "foodie fiction" included for anyone like me who loves reading about restaurants and food as well - making this an absolute win for me. Be forewarned, this one is pretty emotional at times - in a good way!
Thank you to SheWrites Press for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
Wow, what a fun read! It was a fast paced story set in NYC. For me it was reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella meets John green. I loved Meredith, the main character. She was cool and relatable, and felt like someone I would be friends with. I especially loved the flashback scenes of Meredith and Wesley in college. It not only made me nostalgic for my own college experience but was so cute, it gave me all the right feels. I was totally invested in this story and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. I found myself yelling at the book at one point, “no don’t tell him” but they always do. This book was sweet, cute, sad, and funny. It hit all the right notes for me. I’m excited to see what’s next for this author!
I really disliked the main character in this book. I know that the author was trying to make her out as this really good person who makes mistakes but I didn’t feel for her once. I’m not a big fan of romance novels where infidelity is a main subject so this just rubbed my the wrong way. This main character was just so dumb and kept putting herself in situations to make bad decisions. I really liked her significant other and he deserved so much better. The writing in the book was pretty good and readable, I just can’t get behind the actions of this unlikable main character.
I am giving this book one star so that I can write a review. Don’t waste your time reading it. I reached out to my online book club to see if anyone had read it. Someone told me they enjoyed it. What I learned is that just because someone enjoys something, doesn’t mean that you will. Again I question how a book like this is selected by a publisher.
*eARC received from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
What can I say about this one, other than READ IT. My friends who love Colleen Hoover, Staci Hart, and Emily Giffin will love this one. I went into it almost completely blind, not even remembering the synopsis after a "first day on Netgalley" requesting frenzy, so I didn't really know what I was getting into. I will say that I think it's almost better that way, which is tempting me to leave an intentionally vague, "trust me" kind of review. I won't go that far. It's going to yank you around, and you probably won't see it coming. I didn't.
Meredith is celebrating her engagement to Aaron at a new hotspot restaurant. Meredith is instantly charmed by the restaurant and thinks she might want to hold their wedding there, so she asks to speak to the owner. Little does she know, the owner is her ex, Wesley. And they have His. Tor. Y. Dun dun dun. Commence flashbacks to their relationship, hard decisions, twist and turns, and a box of tissues.
I'm not sure how to feel about the writing style, as we switch from a traditional novel the first third or so into a dual timeline in flashbacks, then back into the present. Normally I'm not so sure I even notice that when it's done well and feels seamless, but I felt jerked around here. It might be because I was being *emotionally* jerked around. That could be it.
Meredith isn't the most likable character in the world for me, but I definitely warmed to her as the story unfolded. She's a fairly normal person in an impossible situation at the end of the day, and I know I wouldn't be the most flattering version of myself in her shoes, either. I didn't love her, but I didn't hate her. Aaron, too, took a while to get me to care about him, even a little bit. I was initially super into Wesley, but you know what, I'm not going to say anything else about these characters so you can go in blind, too.
This might not be quite a 4 star read for me, but I'm rounding up because in the end, I stayed up too late and simply couldn't put it down. And yes, this is clearly a love triangle, but it's handled with such sensitivity and care that I was rooting for closure, which I don't usually do. This one publishes next week!
What a story! Talk about a roller coaster ride of emotions that at times made me feel that the characters were dealing with the roller coaster car about to careen off the rails. This book was filled with feels and had me thinking about what I would have done if in the position of Meredith but also of Aaron, Wesley and some of the supporting characters. This book will definitely stay with me for awhile.
The story beings in 2017 but flips back to a period between 2008 and 2012 to fill in the backstory of why what is happening in the present has the impact it does. I have to say it did make me go back in time to think about the men in my past and wonder about what it would be like if they were to show up again...okay...that would NOT happen now but if I had been Meredith’s age and it had happened...I wonder what my reaction would have been and how I would have handled it. Hmm…
What I liked: * It was real...I could see this happening so easily * Meredith: intelligent woman with some baggage from her past that clings in the present even though she is pretty much sitting in clover with her new fiance. She is a giver and fixer but has trouble fixing her own life sometimes even though she has a big caring heart * Aaron: a jock with brains that is a man among men. He appeals to both men and women and seems to have it all * The parents: They were worthy of their children and I really liked them all * The educational aspect related to ALS, cancer and pro bono legal work * The idea that light that shines from us is created by being happy and not by who we might or might not be with * The insights that one can pick up if they really embrace the story… * The writing and plot and story * That I could relate to it in so many ways: woman, nurse, through past experiences, and more * All of it except…
What I did not like: * ASL – it is a nasty disease * Cancer – another nasty disease * Wondering how the future unfolds for everyone – I have a good idea but still will spend some time wondering.
Did I like this book? Yes Would I read more books by this author? Yes
Thank you to NetGalley and SparkPress for the ARC – This is my honest review.
That's Not a Thing grabbed my attention and didn't let go. I went into it expecting one thing and Ms. Friedland delivered something entirely different....and I liked it...a lot.
At its heart, this book is about dealing with life's disappointments and moving forward. It also shows in heartbreaking clarity how life's choices can impact your future in both good and bad ways. You should live life fully every day with no regrets....easier said than done, I know.
The main character, Meredith is engaged to a man that any woman and her mother would love...a well built, kind, handsome neonatologist. Aaron is pretty much perfect. Yet, when she runs into her former fiancée, Wesley, she finds she still has unresolved feelings for him as well. It creates a different love triangle with some twists you don't typically see and I liked that unique approach a great deal. It gave you an opportunity to delve a bit deeper into the emotions tied to relationships and what happens when they don't get a "true ending."
"You have one heart. You can't give it to two different guys at once. That is not a thing."
There were a few things I would have liked for the author to have handled differently. I also would have liked a little more added in certain places where I felt things needed more development. However, overall, I thought it was a really well written book that I couldn't put down. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and SparkPress for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Meredith has a fast-track job as a lawyer. She is recently engaged to a hunky surgeon named Aaron and they are being treated to a dinner in honor of their engagement by friends in one of the trendiest new restaurants in Tribeca (NYC). When the chef/owner appears to answer questions about the possibility that they might hold their wedding reception there, he turns out to be Meredith’s ex-boyfriend (Wesley). A year before, they broke off their engagement in a manner that left a lot of loose ends and bad feelings.
Meredith is conflicted by the reappearance of Wesley in her life – she loves Aaron and the very much wants the beautiful life he offers her. However, seeing Wesley reminds her of how completely infatuated she was (and maybe still is) with him. She decides to resolve this conflict by removing him from her life but then she finds out that he is dying from ALS and has no one close to care for him. Driven by her desire to support Wesley without giving up Aaron, she makes a series of risky decisions have unintended consequences.
I found this to be a cut above the usual relationship/romance novel. The issues are all-too-real and the central characters are forced to operate outside their comfort zone by these issues. They make decisions based on emotions and end up regretting the path they have chosen. Everyone does not live happily ever after. Four and a half stars.