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Cover for The Art of Adapting

The Art of Adapting

A Novel

Cassandra Dunn


List Price: 14.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In this “intriguing and moving” ( first novel, a recently separated woman rises to the challenge and experiences the exhilaration of independence with the unlikely help of her brother with Asperger’s.

Seven months after her husband leaves her, Lana is still reeling. Being single means she is in charge of every part of her life, and for the first time in nineteen years, she can do things the way she always wanted to do them. But that also leaves her with all the responsibility. With two teenage children—Byron and Abby, who are each dealing with their own struggles—in a house she can barely afford on her solo salary, her new life is a balancing act made even more complicated when her brother Matt moves in.

Matt has Asperger’s syndrome, which makes social situations difficult for him and flexibility and change nearly impossible. He only eats certain foods in a certain order and fixates on minor details. When Lana took him in, he was self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to numb his active mind enough to sleep at night. Adding Matt’s regimented routine to her already disrupted household seems like the last thing Lana needs, but her brother’s unique attention to detail makes him an invaluable addition to the family: he sees things differently.

A “lively, engaging, and heartfelt tale of learning how to cope with change” (Publishers Weekly), The Art of Adapting is a feel-good story that celebrates the small moments and small changes that add up to one great life.

Praise For The Art of Adapting: A Novel

"Cassandra Dunn's debut novel is a must for shrewd book club readers who like a little substance with their story."
— Diablo magazine

“Dunn’s debut novel treats readers to a family in transition. . . . A neatly wrapped, happily-ever-after tale of a broken family that survives and thrives.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Dunn's debut novel is a lively, engaging, and heartfelt tale of learning how to cope with change. Dunn is able to fully draw the reader into each individual character's skin. This is a thoughtful and touching novel, and will leave readers eager for the author's next work.”
— Publishers Weekly

The Art of Adapting is a heartfelt tale of people making their way through emotional pain to grow stronger.”
— National Examiner

“… [Dunn] compels with her sympathetic characters.”
— Library Journal

"Cassandra Dunn writes with compassion and grace about characters who are so compelling, you won't want this delightful novel to end."
— Ellen Sussman, author of A Wedding in Provence and French Lessons

“Told through the voices of each of the family, the story of how Lana gets her groove back is by turns humorous and touching, and infused with reality, which is a refreshing change for women’s fiction.”
— BrodartVibe

"It's difficult to believe that this carefully crafted, touching story is a first book. Dunn juggles four third-person narrators beautifully, and the story is intriguing and moving. . . . Once you meet the members of this family, you will not want to stop reading until you know how it all ends."
— on The Art of Adapting

“A moving portrait of a family in transition."
— San Jose Mercury News

Touchstone, 9781476761626, 368pp.

Publication Date: July 21, 2015

About the Author

Cassandra Dunn received her MFA in creative writing from Mills College. She was a semifinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She has two children and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.