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Almost, Maine

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Based on a popular play by the same name, John Cariani's Almost, Maine is a charming and romantic collection of stories that will have you thinking about love in an entirely new way.

Welcome to Almost, Maine, a town that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States—it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist, because its residents never got around to getting
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Feiwel & Friends
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Matt Chisling (MattyandtheBooks) The stories in the novel are, more or less, the same as the ones in the play. The author has added a new one for the book that happened to be one of m…moreThe stories in the novel are, more or less, the same as the ones in the play. The author has added a new one for the book that happened to be one of my favorites in the entire novel! (less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  309 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss2020
I don't read many plays and I was absolutely unfamiliar with John Cariani's Almost, Maine, which appears to be very popular, but I am very glad I picked this magical novel and spent an unforgettable day following lives of numerous residents of Almost, a slightly 'disorganised' town somewhere up the north where you can admire the northern lights and dream abour love.

The story begins with Ginette and Pete who are in this awkward stage of their first love when it is not clear if their best friend i
Brenna Clark
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Edelweiss for the ARC of this sweet little novel! I was actually in a production of Almost, Maine the play, so when I saw this up for grabs I knew I wanted to read it. It was just as poignant as its theatrical counterpart, with some really beautiful additions thrown in. I wasn't sure how well the story would lend itself to novel form, but I think John did a really great job of keeping the heart of the play intact while bringing it to new life here in 2020. The dialogue was l ...more
I'm All Booked Up  YA
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
*We received this book in exchange for an honest review*

In northern Maine you’ll find a place that’s not quite a town because to be a town you have to get organized. It’s just almost. A place so far north it’s almost Canada.

Based on the award-winning play of the same name, Cariani transformed his best known work into a book. In fact, Almost Maine is Christy’s favorite play and she jumped at the chance to review it as a novel.

One night in the middle winter, the residents of Almost, Maine fall in
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Of COURSE I was going to love this book, I produced the play on which it's based. That overt bias notwithstanding … this book is as charming and sweet and wonderful and true as the playscript, and from which it grows in wonderful new directions.

For those who have seen John Cariani's play, the young adult novel brings wonderful new depth to the characters who inhabit the small, isolated village of Almost, an unregistered township in far northern Maine. Somewhere outside of Presque Isle, where aut
Mike Marthinsen
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to read the book based on my favorite play. It did not disappoint, almost every chapter was able to instill the emotions I remember from the play. The book was able to capture some characters in a way the play could not, and any novel that makes me cry is a memorable one.

There are definitely some scenarios and characters that are hard to do justice in writing. Also, the writing style seems to change throughout the book and I was unable to tell if it was on purpose based on the s
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books
My son was in this play a few years back. He played Lendall. I loved the play and was so excited to see the play adapted into a book. I was afraid it would be written like a script, but to my delight, it was written as a regular novel. The story is quirky, funny, magical, and sweet, just like I remember from the play. I highly recommend reading this heartwarming book and also, if given the chance, see the play.
Samantha Dupree
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it

Having been in the play "Almost, Maine" back in 2017 playing Glory alongside my husband playing East, I have a bit of familiarity to this ethereal and weird subject material. (I also played the uncredited role of "Marci's shoe" which one night fell from the catwalk and rolled perfectly mid-stage, a feat I never accomplished again in our six show run)

I was a bit skeptical when this was first announced because I truly loved the experience of that play. We had a small cast with much double-casti
Lynn Plourde
DNF--gave it a 100 pages. I was excited to read about the County (northern Maine), one of my favorite places with some of my favorite people and home to my ancestors. Maybe this worked as a play, but the book was weird and frustratingly repetitive with lines repeating over and over again, and action repeating over and over again, and sentences starting with "And" repeating over and over again. It was supposed to be about a magical, northern lights night, but I didn't feel any magic, only annoyed ...more
My brother starred in his high school's version of this play. It was the most beautiful and funny play I've seen.! Looking forward to this book.! ...more
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways and Fierce Reads (the young adult arm of the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) for providing me with an ARC of this novel. Here's my honest review...

'Almost, Maine' is a cute read, very Valentine's like.

It's also more 'New York, I love You' than 'Love Actually'. That, and short stories are not really my thing, as much as a good structured old fashioned novel, with all the deepness and character building.

John Cariani has developed a nice writing style to transl
Danielle Sinsigalli
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This had just a hint of magical realism, which was perfect. Every chapter was a slice of somebody's story unfolding on the same night that everyone in this almost-town could see the Northern lights. I loved the wild scenery of Northern Maine and the poetic way that this was written. ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quarantine, june-2020
Greatly enjoyed this ! Super fast read for me because it was hard to put down ! Loved that each chapter was a different story yet all related to the main characters. Hope to soon read the “play script “ and then hopefully even see it live on stage someday!
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cariani transforms his popular play into a fully realized YA novel of interconnected vignettes. The third-person narration opens on Ginette and Pete going to look at the stars in their hometown of Almost. Although they are beginning to fall in love, a verbal spat leads to Ginette’s leaving. Every subsequent chapter is a two-person vignette, a short story informed by her walk home past various locations. The couples experience the joys and struggles of love, with a magical realism bent, and not a ...more
Chris S.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Fierce Reads for my ARC

The ending was absolutely phenomenal, but the quality of the stories felt like it varied a good deal. Moreover, even though the substance of the stories was very nice, it felt like there was a lot of telling and less showing. Some of this may have been due to the repetitive use of phrases like "and," "so" and "because" to start sentences and sentence fragments, which I'm sure were artistic decisions made in order to create a certain mood, but just didn't sit well
Zoey Perrigo
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
** I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Something wonderful happens in Almost. Maine that leads to couples either realizing love or falling out of it. The wonderful thing that may or may not have happened in Almost. I admit that I read this book because of being in a production of the play version of the story. It was one of the happiest memories of college theatre that I have. This brought all that back and then some. I enjoyed reading what John Cariani's views of the
Derek Moore
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This will be the quickest and easiest review I've ever made, NO REVIEW TO MAKE AS I NEVER RECEIVED THE BOOK.


Almost Maine is a collection of love stories. One night in the middle of winter, something happens to the residents of Almost. They find themselves falling in and out of love. Life for the residents will never be the same. I understand the book is based on a play. John Cariani takes the reader on a journey that begins with Ginette profes
Brandi Nielsen
Jun 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
162 sentences that start with “And” in the first chapter. Having lived in Maine my whole life I really wanted to like this but it reads like one giant run on sentence. Back to the library it goes.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
A lot of repetition on same page within each story. Annoying. Born and raised in Maine so wanted to like it, but couldn’t connect with most of the characters or where it was going
Matt  Chisling (MattyandtheBooks)
3.5 Stars - If the Northern Lights shine in a forest and no one is there to see them, did they really happen? If someone is there to see them, what happens to those people?

John Cariani's debut novel - an adaptation of his wildly successful play - explores a Friday night in the "non-town" of Almost, Maine, when ten pairs of individuals experience an out-of-body experience under the Northern Lights that blanket their small town. The stories are loosely held together by one of these many character
Caitlin Theroux
Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and may not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or distributor.

This should have stayed as a play. I love that Cariani is writing from experience living in the county, and yeah, some places up there are friggin' small and barely anything happens. The problem here isn't the story, per se. The problem is with how it's written.

Told through a narrator and dialogue, I imagine the stage play is a ton of fun, a night t
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
2.75/ 5

I don't know what it was about this book that disappointed me. I suppose I expected more unique stories and more diversity—even though there is one mlm couple and a nonbinary?genderfluid? character. This definitely isn't the author's fault, and this isn't the main reason I was a little underwhelmed by them.

Almost, Maine is a decent, quick read to get you in the mood for Valentine's day, but that's about it. I wanted the love stories to be more intense, the break-up stories more poignant
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Almost, Maine starts off with a girl named Ginette going to see her best friend, Pete, whom she likes. When their date doesn't go as planned, she walks home and we get a side story set in each place that she passes on the way.
At first, I really liked the writing style. It flows well and I love the author's descriptions. I felt I could see the people and places. By the 3/4 way point, it started feeling a bit repetitive. I get it. It was 19 degrees.
Some of the situations seem almost possible and o
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Almost, Maine was an interesting dynamic of separate stories, characters, and types of love intertwined into one town, one story.

Each chapter brought a new couple of characters' story, and a new type of love. There was new love, found love, fading love, startling love, stranger love, platonic love, and many more types as these ten stories came together in this small town of Almost, Maine.

Though not the most fast paced or exciting read, I was pleased to find out that even though new characters we
Elaine Walsh
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A friend gifted me this book. He grew up in Aroostook County Maine He knew the author when they were children. I loved hearing his stories about growing up and was always enamored with this place seeing it through his eyes. And then I read this book, and the uniqueness and the quirkiness that was his home growing up came pouring out in the words on the page.

This was a fun, lighthearted and entertaining read that I very much needed at this point in my life. It allowed me to escape into joy. If y
Cassie (Red Reading Hood)
Probably one of my favorite straight plays converted into a novel. My favorite scene from the play (which happens to be the very first one after the prologue) is still a favorite and I loved the little added details to it. Hope's scene was beautiful and the scene with Jimmy and Villian (who I played in high school) was executed perfectly. It had its faults and not so decent grammar but that comes from writing from a script. You gotta had the certain details that come from the stage notes and dif ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
As soon as I saw this book arrive at my home with the beautiful cover and intriguing title,it was time to read! The description of nature drew me into the story.Flipping through the pages quickly, I was introduced to the inhabitants. A descriptive insight into small town living,where residents reflect on how to make life meaningful.The entire book takes place on a Friday night with the northern lights creating the opportunity for more than a normal night to exist. No longer paralyzed,the citizen ...more
As someone who has read and performed the play, it was really interesting to read the book and get more of an insight to each of the characters. I liked that I could hear their thoughts, and all of the characters’ actions made more sense once I knew more about them. The book provided a backstory to each couple that couldn’t have been explained to the audience through the play. The author also added some new characters/a story that wasn’t in the original play. Overall, it was a heartwarming read ...more
Kelly Sternberg
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a fun read. It's a simple, feel- good story about love, life, and a little bit of heartbreak. Almost, Maine follows the interwoven tales of a group of people from a tiny town in northern Maine. It takes place on a chilly and magical night "when all of the extraordinary things did or did not happen." The characters are accessable and likeable. The ending brings a smile, as all of the events come together in a quiet and warm conclusion, much like coming home to a country cabin's firep ...more
Jessica Zack
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have loved this play for a long time, and when I recently directed it, the cast gave me this novel as a gift. I really enjoyed getting more insight to the thoughts and backstory of the characters. And the book has an extra scene that's not in the play, which I thought was a really fun edition. I also appreciated that some tweaks were made to ensure the stories were more appropriate for the current times we live in. This was definitely a sweet little book. One thing though, since the author als ...more
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2020
This was the perfect read for me right now, and I can't pinpoint why, exactly. Was it because I was born on the air force base near this town but never came back and always wondered about the area? Was it because the world is so vast and complicated, but this town is small and complex in a different way? Was it because I knew this was originally a play, which caused me to ponder how you would pull these sets off on a stage? Was it the themes that repeated throughout these interconnected stories? ...more
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