SEARCHING FOR DISASTER
October 11, 2016
Jennifer Probst’s Searching For Disaster is a fun and flirty novella that packs a powerful punch. The book opens on a scene set six years before the rest of the story; our couple, Liam and Isabella, met at a college party, felt an instant connection, but were ultimately driven apart. Since that fateful meeting, Liam and Isabella’s lives have taken them on different paths, but they were always left wondering about the one that got away. Flash forward six years and Isabella and Liam meet again… *cue the sparks flying.*
Given the length of this book, I was impressed with its depth and plot development; often, novellas can feel somewhat superficial because of length constraints. This was absolutely not the case in Searching For Disaster. Isabella and Liam are well-rounded characters, with interesting pasts and personalities that really elevate the story. Isabella is a recovering drug addict while Liam is a straight-and-narrow police officer. I thought that Probst’s handling of that dynamic was very nuanced: the primary obstacle to their love–Isabella’s former addiction– does not feel forced or trite, but rather a real problem that they must confront. Liam must decide if he can trust Isabella, and Isabella must determine whether she can trust herself. Of course it isn’t easy, but I was impressed with how Probst created a plot point that was both serious and meaningful, without being melodramatic. It can be easy to use things like drugs or alcohol to create a “bad boy” or “bad girl” character, a trope that can too-easily fall flat. Instead, Probst constructed a character who had made mistakes, picked herself back up, and gone on a journey to become a better person– who wouldn’t be cheering for a girl like that when she finally gets her Happily Ever After?
There are a lot of fun elements in this book. Isabella works at a matchmaking agency, so her life is populated by hilarious, powerful women who support one another and work together to run their business (yay powerful lady friends!). Liam and Isabella both end up adopting puppies and they commiserate over the horror that is puppy training. They share a love of Star Wars and, quite adorably, end up naming their puppies Han Solo and Leia (awwww). Probst provides many interesting, fun details that really ramp this book up.
While this is a short, easy read it still manages to tug on your heartstrings and make you become invested in the characters– no easy feat for a novella, so kudos to Probst! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary novellas, small-town romances, and flawed and interesting characters. I also think that if you liked this book, you may enjoy Nancy Naigle’s Every Yesterday, which I reviewed last month.