Posted by Tobias Carroll

On assorted trains running below the ground of Brooklyn, I read Edan Lepucki’s fine novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me. Over the course of its seventy-odd pages, it charts the course of the relationship of Jocelyn and Zachary, two Californians who meet not-quite-cute in a coffee shop. Jocelyn is the story’s narrator, and from an early moment in which she expounds on the difference between a coffee shop and a coffee house, the observationally-keen and sharply opinionated sides of her character are clear.

Those are far from her only aspects, however, and Lepucki does a fine job of showing her protagonist’s evolution. She has a way with dialogue and conversational rhythms, both of which are satisfying while allowing us insight into her characters that they themselves might not have. It’s often funny, sometimes sad, and wrenchingly awkward when it needs to be — all qualities of a fine debut.

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