Zero Stars, Do Not Recommend

Sourcebooks Landmark. Aug. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781464218026. pap. $16.99. F
DEBUT Wassmer rockets onto the scene with a life-or-death action-packed debut. As Dan and Mara vacation at a resort in the Bahamas, the sun warms them until that sun explodes. Launched into darkness and confusion, resort guests are left to fend for themselves, quickly forming alliances and hoarding resources. It’s no laughing matter, but Wassmer will make readers laugh out loud anyway, especially when an influencer and pyramid-schemer takes her position as the resort’s overlord, complete with an intense security detail. Protagonist Dan has a quick wit, and the other characters are so well-developed that the realism in their interactions is smile-inducing. The novel is a romp and a page-turner, but it also has a great deal of pathos. Wassmer explores different kinds of masculinity and the nature of romantic relationships, while Dan struggles to find his purpose and inner strength and contends with what “success” means in a person’s life.
VERDICT Wassmer’s debut novel succeeds in being the opposite of its title. He might become a new favorite for fans of John Scalzi and David Wong (a.k.a. Jason Pargin).
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