Blank A novel

Zibby Owens

Book - 2024

In this hilarious debut novel, a frustrated writer faces a five-day deadline to finish the book she had to scrap after realizing it shared the same plot as a summer blockbuster from a superstar author.

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Domestic fiction
New York : Little A [2024]
Main Author
Zibby Owens (author)
First edition
Physical Description
251 pages ; 23 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Pippa Jones' debut novel was a runaway best-seller, but balancing writing and motherhood has kept her from completing a follow-up. She's just received the call she's been dreading: she needs to submit a manuscript within a week, or she loses her contract and has to pay back her advance--which she has already spent. She decides to run with an idea that came from a joke that her teenage son makes and submit a 60,000-word manuscript consisting solely of the word "blank," or published as a blank book, presented as a statement on literature and writing. Her agent is furious, but her publisher views it as a way to "spark conversation" about the book business. Soon, word about the project leaks, dragging Pippa's family and friends into the mix just as her personal life implodes, leaving everything in question. Owens' (Bookends, 2022) depiction of a neurotic writer on the brink is presented with comic zeal, but the plot elements focused on Pippa's personal life are likely to resonate most with readers. Fans of Maria Semple will be drawn to Owens' sharp observations.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Owens (Bookends), publisher of Zibby Books and host of the podcast Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books, delivers a fanciful first novel about a struggling author. Pippa Jones, anxious to follow up her successful debut novel, is overwhelmed by raising two teens with her emotionally distant husband and stumped on what to write next. In one of the book's many meta moments, Pippa thinks she's hit on something fabulous--a rom-com about a podcaster. But then another bestselling author beats her to the punch by releasing a book with the same plot. How did her idea get stolen? More importantly, how will she fulfill her contract with just days left before her publisher drops her and demands she return her advance, which she's already spent? In a twist that Owens intends as a satire of bestsellers driven by media hype rather than their content, Pippa comes up with a gimmick meant to upend the publishing industry. Though Owens's depiction of Pippa's angst feels genuine, especially given the convincingly portrayed demands of marriage and motherhood, the denouement concerning Pippa's next book (the substance of which would be a spoiler to reveal) depends on some facile notions of the book market. This fast-paced romp muddles its message. Agent: Joe Veltre, Gersh Agency. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

After taking drastic measures to deal with writer's block, a struggling author finds herself part of some unexpected plot twists. Once upon a time, Pippa Jones was a big name in the book world. Her debut novel was a smash and was made into a movie. But since then, she hasn't published anything--even though she's three years past the deadline for her next novel. But as a busy mom who feels more distant from her husband every day, she finds it hard to focus on writing--that is, until her agent calls and says she needs to turn a novel in ASAP or pay back her advance. Of course, she's already spent the advance on an office renovation. In desperation, Pippa turns to a suggestion from her son: What if she wrote a book that was intentionally empty? A novel called Blank, full of literal blank pages, could highlight the fakery of the publishing world and, if it became a bestseller, show how ridiculous it is that some books succeed regardless of their content while truly great books languish in obscurity. Pippa's out-there idea could revive her career…or completely tank it. Meanwhile, Pippa also faces family and friendship issues, but maybe she'll be lucky enough to have second acts in both her work and her personal life. Owens (an author as well as a podcaster, bookstore owner, and publisher) clearly understands the publishing industry and has many thoughts about what she sees as its limitations. Her book shines, though, when focusing on Pippa's personal drama and the way her support system surrounds her when she's in crisis. It's unclear if readers would actually shell out money for an empty book, but they'll always be interested in is scandal, betrayal, and heartwarming bonds. An enjoyable read full of book industry antics and plenty of dramatic surprises. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.