There are some very serious subjects here: suicide ideation (a hotline number is included), loss, infertility, mental illness, grief, divorce and racism. But Cross-Smith has created a safe, warm space for these characters to discuss their deepest emotions. And boy, are there emotions. There’s as much crying inside as there is rain outside ... The story is a little too implausible, the characters too sentimental, the ending too rushed for me to agree that Cross-Smith is a 'consummate storyteller.' But This Close to Okay is steeped in kindness, familial love and forgiveness, and especially during these times, we can never have too much of that.
... a cozy novel, one that embodies the concept of 'hygge' that Tallie strives to create in her own home. It’s full of soft couches and comfort food, easy conversations and growing friendships. But it’s also a challenging novel, especially once Emmett’s history is revealed. This tragic story is linked to bigger issues, such as racism and class privilege; those elements, along with the ethical concerns raised by both Emmett and Tallie’s actions, make the novel rich for discussion ... a timely, thoughtful bit of hope in tough times.
Cross-Smith places mental health at the heart of this story, bringing attention to the importance of asking for help when navigating the complicated twists and turns of life. This Close to Okay is a fast-moving, drama-filled roller coaster that will keep you guessing about how things will turn out for these two lost souls.