In her promising debut, Cohen follows two New Yorkers as they deal with jobs, relationships, family, and all the other tribulations of being 20-something.
Eve Porter has a lot of baggage, and she isn’t ashamed of it. Her father abandoned her family when she was a child, and her mother was killed on Sept. 11. Now she’s a worrier, one who thinks that by observing everything and expecting the worst, she can predict catastrophes before they happen. She’s an aspiring music writer who loves words and emotions; when she meets laconic Ben, an engineering student, she immediately writes him off. He’s far too normal and not nearly tortured enough to suit her. But, years later and after the end of a particularly toxic relationship, Eve runs into Ben again. This time, things are different. Ben falls for her almost immediately, but Eve is more hesitant. Can she really be vulnerable enough to let someone in, or will her self-destructive nature take over? Eve’s funny, biting voice is what really makes the narrative sing—her musings on loss and anxiety are heartbreakingly honest without ever dipping into saccharine territory. Cohen creates characters who feel real enough to jump off the page, as if readers might run into them on the street. Eve and Ben are the standouts, but the side characters are also perfectly described: Eve’s surly sister, Ben’s goofy friends, Eve’s disappointingly human father. Although this is Eve and Ben’s love story, it’s also an ode to New York City, an exploration of loss, a rumination on 9/11’s effects on a generation, and a tale of two people navigating their 20s.
An edgy, updated take on Nora Ephron that’s full of humor and wit.