This Close to Okay (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Leesa Cross-Smith

Grand Central Publishing, 9781538715376, 320pp.

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From the award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls "a consummate storyteller" comes a cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers.

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home when she spots a man precariously standing on the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally, reluctantly, shares his first name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally-charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe and comfortable space for Emmett, although she doesn't confess that she works as a therapist. However, Emmett is not the only one who needs help -- and he has secrets of his own.

Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge, This Close to Okay is an uplifting, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they need it the most.

About the Author

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and the author of Every Kiss A War and Whiskey & Ribbons. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and children.

Praise For This Close to Okay: A Novel

"Leesa Cross-Smith is such a beguiling writer and her skills are on full display in So We Can Glow. These are stories about breathless love, lustful abandon, all that glitters, hot summers, cool pavement, sticky skin, beautifully beating hearts. There is such authenticity to these stories and nostalgia that is tempered with just enough of a clear-eyed understanding of the world as it is, not just how we hoped it might be. It's also refreshing to see a writer crafting stories that are so unapologetically for women, about women, a love letter to who we are, the best and worst of us, held high and true, so we can glow as brightly as we dare."—Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Leesa Cross-Smith writes the way many people wish they could: ferociously, tenderly, and with a tremendous amount of heart. The stories contained in So We Can Glow showcase the very best of Cross-Smith's voice. They stick with readers long after the book is closed. This collection is tantalizing and Cross-Smith is a delight."—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things (on So We Can Glow)

"I so admire these stirring, sexy, haunting stories about the darkest corners of women's inner lives. A treat for the soul and the senses, and funny too. Leesa Cross-Smith is a wonderful storyteller."—Alexia Arthurs, award-winning author of How to Love a Jamaican (on So We Can Glow)

"The magic of So We Can Glow is that no matter who you are, no matter your circumstances, no matter your gender identity, when reading this book you become the girls and women in these pages. You hope their hopes, dream their dreams, fantasize and love alongside them. Leesa Cross-Smith is some sort of sorceress."—Rion Amilcar Scott, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize-winning author of Insurrections and The World Doesn't Require You (on So We Can Glow)

"Different as they are, all the stories focus on the strange hearts of women and girls -- brave and broken, longing and loving -- and weave together to create this structurally playful and lyrically rich second collection."—The Millions, "Most Anticipated: The Great First Half 2020 Book Preview" (on So We Can Glow)

"Examines -- and delights in -- female obsession and desire . . . nodding to the complicated, indelible bonds between women."—Buzzfeed, "The Most Anticipated Books of 2020" (on So We Can Glow)

"These stories, brief but dense with emotion, will make you feel like you're falling in love -- again and again and again. They drop the reader into moments that feel soaked with longing, like strawberries in champagne. Through Cross-Smith's characters, we experience the messiness, the ache, but mostly the glory of female desire."—Amy Bonnaffons, author of The Regrets and The Wrong Heaven (on So We Can Glow)

"Cross-Smith's thrilling debut novel, Whiskey and Ribbons, is as immediate and compelling as music. Her three lovers tell their stories, each turning over what we think we know, creating a moving triptych on love, desire, and grief, and the unexpected families life makes for us."—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)

"Leesa Cross-Smith is a consummate storyteller who uses her
formidable talents to tell the oft-overlooked stories of people living in that
great swath of place between the left and right coasts... Where she is most
stunning is in the endings...creating crisp, evocative moments that will linger
long after you've read this book's very last word."—Roxane Gay (praise for Every Kiss A War)