The NextThe Next by Stephanie Gangi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: Joanna DeAngelis dies wrong. Consumed by breast cancer, betrayals, disappointments, and a blind lust to avenge a badly broken heart, she turns away from her devoted daughters and dog on her deathbed, and finds herself alone in a darkness of her own making. With no light to guide her to death’s promised land of peace, Joanna’s ghost plots a course for revenge on her much-younger ex, Ned McGowan, the man who abandoned her to take up — and trade up — with another woman.

Joanna’s desperate needs — when she was alive, and now, while she’s trying to die properly — inspire a deep descent into the seat of the soul, an unflinching look at choices and consequences, at the last gasps of lust and love, and the wisdom to know how to go.

My review:

The Next by Stephanie Gangi is a unique take on illness, death, and vengeance after death. Joanna DeAngelis is not going gently into that good night. As she lay dying of cancer, she is obsessed with her former lover and his life after their relationship. Even after death, she continues to obsess over Ned.

I enjoyed the story and came to like the characters (especially her dog) very much, but it was Gangi’s writing itself that kept me reading. Stephanie Gangi’s prose was compelling and surprising throughout. I especially appreciated the way she portrayed Joanna’s anger in the last days of her life. Joanna is not pretty and softly fading away into death. She is real.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
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