About the author:
Nicole Tone is a freelance editor, MFA student, traveler, pet collector, binge-watcher, and a self- proclaimed coffee snob. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs, but spends as much of her time in Seattle as possible. You can like her page on Facebook, @ her on Twitter, swoon over dream houses together on Pinterest, and add Without Benefits on Goodreads.
The Review: I read the first chapter of WITHOUT BENEFITS a while back when Nicole Tone asked for a reader on Twitter. After I finished, I knew I needed this book. When I got my ARC, I was not disappointed.
I have never played a musical instrument, I have never been a relationship for a decade, and I have never lived in the Pacific-Northwest but Emma's story still felt like my own. She was incredibly easy to empathize with and relate to. Her oscillating feelings of happiness, discontent,, confidence, uncertainty, self-reliance, and dependency felt like the defining characteristics of my own mid-twenties existence. Her journey to rediscover her art, find closure with a college crush and contentment with a seemingly perfect boyfriend, and make a home in a city on the opposite side of the country spoke to me on a universal level. I didn't want to put the book down unless it was to call up Emma herself and schedule a coffee date to commiserate about our confusing lives. Although there are distinctive events that push the story forward, Emma's arc is self-motivated. She realizes she is not living the life she imagined and she might not be as okay with that as she originally thought. Tone's exploration of interpersonal relationships was superb and couched in her soft prose that drew me farther in with each sentence.
I cannot wait to read this book again when my paperback arrives!