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Together We Will Go

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The Breakfast Club meets The Silver Linings Playbook in this powerful, provocative, and heartfelt novel about twelve endearing strangers who come together to make the most of their final days, from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author J. Michael Straczynski. Mark Antonelli, a failed young writer looking down the barrel at thirty, is planning a cro The Breakfast Club meets The Silver Linings Playbook in this powerful, provocative, and heartfelt novel about twelve endearing strangers who come together to make the most of their final days, from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author J. Michael Straczynski. Mark Antonelli, a failed young writer looking down the barrel at thirty, is planning a cross-country road trip. He buys a beat-up old tour bus. He hires a young army vet to drive it. He puts out an ad for others to join him along the way. But this will be a road trip like no other: His passengers are all fellow disheartened souls who have decided that this will be their final journey—upon arrival in San Francisco, they will find a cliff with an amazing view of the ocean at sunset, hit the gas, and drive out of this world. The unlikely companions include a young woman with a chronic pain sensory disorder and another who was relentlessly bullied at school for her size; a bipolar, party-loving neo-hippie; a gentle coder with a literal hole in his heart and blue skin; and a poet dreaming of a better world beyond this one. We get to know them through access to their texts, emails, voicemails, and the daily journal entries they write as the price of admission for this trip. By turns tragic, funny, quirky, charming, and deeply moving, Together We Will Go explores the decisions that brings these characters together, and the relationships that grow between them, with some discovering love and affection for the first time. But as they cross state lines and complications to the initial plan arise, it becomes clear that this is a novel as much about the will to live as the choice to end it. The final, unforgettable moments as they hurtle toward the decisions awaiting them will be remembered for a lifetime.


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The Breakfast Club meets The Silver Linings Playbook in this powerful, provocative, and heartfelt novel about twelve endearing strangers who come together to make the most of their final days, from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author J. Michael Straczynski. Mark Antonelli, a failed young writer looking down the barrel at thirty, is planning a cro The Breakfast Club meets The Silver Linings Playbook in this powerful, provocative, and heartfelt novel about twelve endearing strangers who come together to make the most of their final days, from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author J. Michael Straczynski. Mark Antonelli, a failed young writer looking down the barrel at thirty, is planning a cross-country road trip. He buys a beat-up old tour bus. He hires a young army vet to drive it. He puts out an ad for others to join him along the way. But this will be a road trip like no other: His passengers are all fellow disheartened souls who have decided that this will be their final journey—upon arrival in San Francisco, they will find a cliff with an amazing view of the ocean at sunset, hit the gas, and drive out of this world. The unlikely companions include a young woman with a chronic pain sensory disorder and another who was relentlessly bullied at school for her size; a bipolar, party-loving neo-hippie; a gentle coder with a literal hole in his heart and blue skin; and a poet dreaming of a better world beyond this one. We get to know them through access to their texts, emails, voicemails, and the daily journal entries they write as the price of admission for this trip. By turns tragic, funny, quirky, charming, and deeply moving, Together We Will Go explores the decisions that brings these characters together, and the relationships that grow between them, with some discovering love and affection for the first time. But as they cross state lines and complications to the initial plan arise, it becomes clear that this is a novel as much about the will to live as the choice to end it. The final, unforgettable moments as they hurtle toward the decisions awaiting them will be remembered for a lifetime.

30 review for Together We Will Go

  1. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    Wow, what an outstanding book! It's important to know that 𝙏𝙤𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙒𝙚 𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙂𝙤 takes an unflinching look at both suicide and assisted suicide. It's not a book I would recommend to just anyone but I think those who can handle the subject matter will appreciate it. 𝘍𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦'𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘢 𝘣𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘢𝘯 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘢 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘨𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘶 Wow, what an outstanding book! It's important to know that 𝙏𝙤𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙒𝙚 𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙂𝙤 takes an unflinching look at both suicide and assisted suicide. It's not a book I would recommend to just anyone but I think those who can handle the subject matter will appreciate it. 𝘍𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦'𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘢 𝘣𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘢𝘯 𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘢 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘨𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘶𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘣𝘶𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴. So yeah, it turns out to be a very unusual road trip. Some if the characters form bonds but it's not like most friendships. These people accept each other's idea to end their lives and want to make it as comfortable as possible. I came to love some of the characters. I certainly didn't agree with a lot of their choices but it was very though provoking. I wondered 'Does the author dare...does he ACTUALLY DARE make me care for these people and then make me watch them drive off a bridge at the end?!' Then I thought 'WAIT, am I assisting their suicide by continuing to read this?! Can I just close the book before they reach their final destination and keep them alive forever?' But that wouldn't work, the end of the book was already written, whether I chose to read it or not. They didn't want to die alone so I decided to stick with them- no matter what. I'm sure this will be on my BEST OF THE YEAR list. ** thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the early copy. Released on July 6th

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review also published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Brilliant, Heart-Wrenching and So Very Unexpected. A group of strangers come together for a road trip with only one destination: The end of the road. For these strangers, either their lives didn’t turn out as they expected or things seem utterly hopeless and when an opportunity arises, to face the end together, they decide to take it. Mark is a writer who never got that big break. Having always felt like a failure, he is the o Review also published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Brilliant, Heart-Wrenching and So Very Unexpected. A group of strangers come together for a road trip with only one destination: The end of the road. For these strangers, either their lives didn’t turn out as they expected or things seem utterly hopeless and when an opportunity arises, to face the end together, they decide to take it. Mark is a writer who never got that big break. Having always felt like a failure, he is the one who comes up with the idea and posts about it online. Thereafter, several people sign up. A bus trip commences across the United States, with pickups along the way. Here we meet the passengers, whose struggles vary. Each one journals while on the road trip and via these journal entries and their interactions with each other we get to know them and their reasons why. This character-driven novel is impactful, bright, and extremely well written. The bonds formed between the characters felt so real as did their conversations that I was filled with such warmth throughout. My favorite characters here are Tyler, Karen, Dylan, and Zeke, whose love for his best friend brought me to tears. I’m not sure what I expected going into this or why this book spoke to me, but “Together We Will Go” was nothing like I expected it to be. Clever, smart, sweet, quirky, and yes, at times both funny and sad, this book is absolutely brilliant. There were many times where I laughed quite a bit and yes, cried too. Written by J. Micahel Straczynski, the writer, and co-creator of many tv shows including Sense8, one of my favorite shows from a few years ago, it’s actually not surprising after having read this, that there is more here than meets the eye. While this novel deals with the extremely difficult topic of depression and suicide, it is also about so more. It is about friendship, love and the impact people have on each other and also about how we can help each other if we simply try. I know that several people will shy away from a book like this, given its subject matter, however, I hope some of you will give it a chance as the characters and the storyline are worth it. If you or anyone you know are depressed and require help, please contact https://13reasonswhy.info/ Thank you to Gallery Books, Scout Press, NetGalley, and J. Michael Straczynski for the arc. Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Insta on 2.7.21.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    Hidden within the pages of Personals section is an ad placed by a failed writer, who has chosen to end his life. He is seeking “like -minded” people who want to take a cross country trip with him on a beat-up school bus, which will end with flying off of a cliff at sunset when they reach San Francisco. There is one stipulation-each must write their story-explaining their decision and relinquishing the rights to it-and each must sign an legally binding agreement. We get to know this interesting a Hidden within the pages of Personals section is an ad placed by a failed writer, who has chosen to end his life. He is seeking “like -minded” people who want to take a cross country trip with him on a beat-up school bus, which will end with flying off of a cliff at sunset when they reach San Francisco. There is one stipulation-each must write their story-explaining their decision and relinquishing the rights to it-and each must sign an legally binding agreement. We get to know this interesting assortment of passengers (and one cat) through their text messages, voicemails, emails, and daily journal entries. These entries help make this a quick read, although, you will have a hard time reading some of them on a black and white Kindle. They show up much better if you can read this though your Kindle APP on a tablet, or if you purchase the book. It took me over 25% to become invested in the outcome. You will hope some choose to disembark early, and there are others you will want to leave behind at the next stop. Once invested, I became anxious to find out how this road trip would play out! Would they follow through with their initial plan? Although it is a book about people wanting to commit Suicide, it isn’t all doom and gloom and there is actually a POSITIVE message within its pages-reminding me of the saying..”Life is a Journey-not a destination....” Take the time to enjoy the ride-you never know what might be around the next corner! Available July 6, 2021 from Gallery/Scout Press Thank you for the gifted copy provided though Edelweiss. It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars I’ve been on a bit of a kick these days choosing books with a psychological theme, so no surprise that this title grabbed me when I saw it on Net Galley. Good pick! I raced through it in 4 days, which is fast for me. Wow. I have to say this is the most unique book I have read in quite a while. If I can find something that ticks the three requisite boxes, then I’ve succeeded in selecting a good one. First, all the feels. Check! Second, I learn something. Oh yes—check! T 4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars I’ve been on a bit of a kick these days choosing books with a psychological theme, so no surprise that this title grabbed me when I saw it on Net Galley. Good pick! I raced through it in 4 days, which is fast for me. Wow. I have to say this is the most unique book I have read in quite a while. If I can find something that ticks the three requisite boxes, then I’ve succeeded in selecting a good one. First, all the feels. Check! Second, I learn something. Oh yes—check! Third, a character driven story with someone to pull for. For sure—check! And dare I ask for uniqueness and find it, then I have chosen exceedingly well. And that’s what we have here. Together We Will Go is about 12 people who are done on this earth and wish to experience a week or two on a bus with other like-minded people with the goals of having a lot of fun before ultimately driving over a cliff together off the coast of California. The “price” of the trip is that each rider must journal his/her reasons for wanting to die and his/her thoughts and feelings as the trip progresses. The novel is told via various media as a way of journaling the event. We have good old fashioned first-person narrative with the various passengers taking turns at that. There are also texts, e-mails, phone calls/voicemail, and audio recordings. This worked well. This book isn’t for everyone. There is a LOT of talk of suicide. I was fascinated by this. The reasons people came to this point were numerous and diverse and for the most part very well thought out. These folks were not doing this on a whim. My only criticism is that there were so many characters, there was not the opportunity to dig as deep as I would have liked into the mindset of each and every one of them. On the other hand, I really liked the diversity of how they all came to the same conclusion that they would be better off dead. I learned a lot from these characters’ stories. Looking at the big picture, this little bit of criticism is so minor that I am cutting my rating by only 0.5 point. It took a chapter or two to become engrossed, but engrossed I remained. The book is heart-wrenching, touching, joyful, suspenseful, dark, beautiful, and humorous. Laugh-out-loud humorous in a weird sort of way. Beware—there is language here as well; I will admit however that said language was used in ways that were pretty darned funny. I had my own ideas as to where this one was going, but I was so wrong. In no way could I have predicted how this journey would play out. Kudos to Mr. Strcynzski for that. I will miss these characters, especially Vaughn, Karen, Tyler, Zeke and Soldier. I hope this book will get more readers. It is very well done, easy to read, and overall just outstanding. Many thanks to Net Galley, Gallery/Scout Press, and J. Michael Straczynski for an ARC. Opinions stated are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books

    Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. Together We Will Go caught me off guard. It’s a bit sunnier than I expected it to be. Not as heavy. I mean, a story about 12 strangers on a bus, road-tripping across the country together for the sole purpose of driving straight off the edge of a cliff?!?! That’s dark, right? In the capable hands of J. Michael Straczynski, though, it’s not. Or rather, it’s not as dark as it could be. Written in an epistolary style that includes audio tr Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews. Together We Will Go caught me off guard. It’s a bit sunnier than I expected it to be. Not as heavy. I mean, a story about 12 strangers on a bus, road-tripping across the country together for the sole purpose of driving straight off the edge of a cliff?!?! That’s dark, right? In the capable hands of J. Michael Straczynski, though, it’s not. Or rather, it’s not as dark as it could be. Written in an epistolary style that includes audio transcripts, text messages, and emails, Together We Will Go is, first and foremost, a contemplative examination of suicide. It fearlessly explores the topic, without judgment or bias, delineating the many personal reasons for taking one’s own life. And it does so with a boatload of brash humor, friendship, and love. The novel is laugh-out-loud funny – especially the first half. And through this curtain of humor we feel a brightness. We sense a lightness, a hopefulness. We see supportive, loving friendships grow. And this is what protects us from despair as the story takes a far more sobering turn in the second act. Things get REAL – real fast. And as much as it is startling and emotionally conflictive to observe, it’s also realistic. I do wish, however, that Straczynski’s writing had plunged more deeply into the souls of the characters. The novel’s epistolary format is somewhat hindersome in this regard, what with the narrative being nearly all dialogue. And while this structure may allow for some memorable one-liners, it doesn’t give much room for complex personality development and voice distinction. But absolutely read Together We Will Go. It’s thought-provoking, immensely entertaining, and well worth your time. This was an insightful buddy read with my dear friend, Catherine Woodward. You should check out her lovely review here on Goodreads, too. Together We Will Go publishes July 6th, 2021. My sincerest appreciation to J. Michael Straczynski, Gallery/Scout Press, and Edelweiss+ for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own. Bantering Books Instagram Twitter Facebook

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this heartfelt book in return for an honest review. This is about a cross-country bus journey like no other. Marc is a young aspiring writer who is discouraged after receiving rejection slips from publishers. He has a plan. He purchases a rickety old bus and hires a combative ex-soldier, Dylan, to drive it. He runs an ad asking for passengers who want to commit suicide in a spectacular manner. The intent is to drive the bus to San Francisco and Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this heartfelt book in return for an honest review. This is about a cross-country bus journey like no other. Marc is a young aspiring writer who is discouraged after receiving rejection slips from publishers. He has a plan. He purchases a rickety old bus and hires a combative ex-soldier, Dylan, to drive it. He runs an ad asking for passengers who want to commit suicide in a spectacular manner. The intent is to drive the bus to San Francisco and plunge the bus off a cliff into the ocean below. Marc interviews each prospective passenger to determine if they are serious about ending their lives. They must dictate a description of their lives and their reasons for ending it all once onboard the bus. They also must sign an agreement relinquishing any rights to their stories. The book has an interesting format. The story includes narratives from various passengers of this diverse group who have been encouraged to share their thoughts along the way. There are also text messages, e-mails, audio recordings and phone calls. The text messages are too small to be read on a Kindle e-book, so I switched to the Kindle app on my iPad, where I could enlarge them. This is a thought-provoking, character-driven book with the powerful and tragic theme of depression and suicide. The distraught members on the bus were mostly likeable, and I felt myself heavily invested in what would happen to them. There were several I wished to be thrown off the bus or left behind. Would some change their minds and leave before reaching their destination? There were some peaceful moments at a botanical garden and a beautiful wooded area. There was also vandalism and destruction in a place that fueled their anger. There was sadness in realizing that so many different strangers all concluded that their lives were hopeless for various reasons. This was a touching story involving conflicts, love, friendships, support of others in their grief and sorrow, heroism, with a glimmer of hope for some, deaths during the journey, and betrayal. There were touches of humour in the interactions of the individual characters. I was in suspense and engrossed in the outcome. Would the police stop the bus and arrest them in their dash for the coast? Would any of my favourite characters die? Would the bus hurtle off a cliff at sunrise as planned? Would Marc finally get his story published? This was an intense, gripping story. Recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4-5 stars ...’Together we will go, heigh-ho the derry-o, together we will go’ .... or will they??? ‘By the time you read this, I’ll be dead’, thus says one of those on the suicide bus, the price of admission is to upload your story. It’s one last party you don’t come back from, a collective last will in more ways than one. It’s the idea of Mark Antonelli, a twenty nine year old failed writer, who posts an ad, buys the bus, a driver and obtains a disparate bunch of passengers for one last trip of 4-5 stars ...’Together we will go, heigh-ho the derry-o, together we will go’ .... or will they??? ‘By the time you read this, I’ll be dead’, thus says one of those on the suicide bus, the price of admission is to upload your story. It’s one last party you don’t come back from, a collective last will in more ways than one. It’s the idea of Mark Antonelli, a twenty nine year old failed writer, who posts an ad, buys the bus, a driver and obtains a disparate bunch of passengers for one last trip of a lifetime. It’s told in a variety of ways including texts, emails and narrative which is remarkably cohesive. It’s a no holds barred look at suicide and assisted suicide which is done realistically and sensitively. First of all, let’s look at the characters who are on the bus for a variety of reasons ranging from chronic and constant pain, other health issues or because some elements of society have decided they have no use for them except to bully and body shame - they’re all distressing reasons but that punches you in the abdomen. I like nearly all the characters but especially Karen Ortiz whose descriptions of her pain are fantastic; Tyler, what a phenomenal person he is; I love Shanelle just for herself; Zeke and his hugely overwhelming love for Soldier which makes you cry and Dylan who is a bit of a hero. As for Lisa, I initially think, let me of the bus please she’s doing my head in but she sort of grows on you! I like the combination of the darkly humorous with the frustration and anger mixed in with some philosophical thoughts and attitudes on suicide and assisted suicide. There’s a growing friendship, a bond, a sense of solidarity, togetherness and even love in one case and it’s quite intense as you may expect and a bit surreal in places. . It’s absolutely heartbreaking at times such as the statistics on millennial suicides so it’s also designed to shock you but it’s also very thoughtful, thought provoking, surprisingly entertaining for such a dark almost taboo topic and it’s absolutely gut wrenching in others. Overall, I think this is a brave book but also an important one for a variety of reasons such as being able to talk about the topic openly and it raises issues and hopefully discussions on the rights to free will. It’s a well written novel that is hard to put down. With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Titan for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Gallery/Scout, and J. Michael Straczynski for an ARC of this book!! Now available as of 7.6!** You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question? These immortal words close out the iconic John Hughes' film The Breakfast Club. Together We Will Go touts itself as Breakfast **Many thanks to NetGalley, Gallery/Scout, and J. Michael Straczynski for an ARC of this book!! Now available as of 7.6!** You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question? These immortal words close out the iconic John Hughes' film The Breakfast Club. Together We Will Go touts itself as Breakfast Club meets Silver Linings Playbook, and in some ways this is an apt and fitting description. Our characters are led by 'stuck' writer Mark, who puts an ad out to solicit fellow riders who will board a bus and take one final ride: to a planned, collective suicide. A macabre premise? Sure. But as we meet the characters cross country and the route takes shape, we discover their struggles run the gamut: unyielding physical pain, a bipolar condition that cannot be contained, a condition that literally turns the skin blue, hiding a heartbreaking past transgression, dealing with the aftereffects of relentless bullying, the heartbreak of terminal illness, and the pain of racism. This large and bizarre crew slowly grows as the trip continues, and their wild adventures together are documented through texts and audio recordings throughout the book, part of a bargain struck with Mark to gain admission to the bus. Unsurprisingly, these characters begin to bond, and their shared goal is just the beginning of their connection and much like in The Breakfast Club, unlikely attachments begin to truly solidify. As the trip nears its conclusion and shocking information is revealed, will any of these characters remain to tell the tale...or will the recordings be the only documentation of this unique and consequential journey? Straczynski comes to the literary world from the movie and comic book writing field, and this is incredibly evident throughout the course of the book. His use of the audio recording device is basically a replacement for a script, since the characters words are listed by narrator for large chunks of the book. There are also text messages exchanges that pop up periodically (much like you might see in the corner of the screen during a movie these days) and while this gave the book the sort of diary feeling the author was going for overall, I do think it hampered the progression of the novel a bit and made it hard to keep track of who was speaking. In terms of characterization itself, after the first initial burst of character introduction and development, the characters sort of lost their individuality. I think having such a large group made this difficult, as I personally struggle with too many narrators if they aren't well defined. I appreciated that they were different in that there's no 'face' of suicide or suicidal thinking, but for a couple of characters in particular, they felt slightly unrealistic in narration and motivation so that was a bit of a pain point for me as a reader. And then there's the subject matter of suicide in general, the driving force behind this narrative. As well versed as I feel I am after reading very different types of books that have explored this topic, both fiction and non-fiction, I was very unprepared for how this book would make me feel as a reader. The introduction of SO much humor so early on provided a stark contrast to the book's first emotional 'peak', which took me by surprise. After this point, however, I found myself focusing on the destination rather than the journey, and much of the 'this is our last shot escapades' the group takes on sort of fades into the distance as Straczynski hammers home some truths about the reality of suicidal ideation which might sound like a 'que sera, sera' to the reader at times, but gave me LOTS to to think about. This would be an ideal read for a book group in many respects, as Straczynski brings in everything from historical to philosophical exploration of the topics at hand and essentially leaves the reader to question is there a RIGHT answer and a wrong answer on how to live life, or how long it should be? An interesting and fascinating take for sure, and hours later, I am still working through my tangle of thoughts on this one! Despite some of its technical problems, the one thing I can say about this book is it is incredibly unique and a fresh take on some of the facets of suicide and suicidal ideation that often get dismissed, and Straczynski was incredibly brave to tackle them in this fashion. Together We Will Go might have a very different sort of conclusion than the Breakfast Club, but some of the themes are ultimately the same: We all have a shared experience on this planet. We cannot ever judge a book by its cover. Most importantly, we can never understand another human's experience or motivation for living or dying: all we can do is encourage each other to embrace any joy we can find, share all of the love that we can, and the hold firm to the positivity to be found in each new breath and each new day, if only we can bring ourselves to truly accept the gift. 3.5 ⭐, rounded up to 4 *This was a wonderful buddy read with Melissa that gave us lots to talk about! Be sure to keep an eye out for her fabulous and insightful review! :)*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I haven’t been so sad for a long time after finishing a book! It deeply affected me! Those impressive, genuine, dazzling character compositions could break anyone’s heart even the cold, merciless ones’ ! OMG! I loved a few of them a lot! I personally wished to have powers to cure them or do something magical to take away their pain! Karen, Lisa, Dylan (he’s the driver, not the part of suicide pact) , Tyler, Sunny Shanelle, Zeke, Theo were my favorite ones! Struggling author Marc Antonelli, 29 , I haven’t been so sad for a long time after finishing a book! It deeply affected me! Those impressive, genuine, dazzling character compositions could break anyone’s heart even the cold, merciless ones’ ! OMG! I loved a few of them a lot! I personally wished to have powers to cure them or do something magical to take away their pain! Karen, Lisa, Dylan (he’s the driver, not the part of suicide pact) , Tyler, Sunny Shanelle, Zeke, Theo were my favorite ones! Struggling author Marc Antonelli, 29 , suffering from chronic depression which gets out of control as the pile of rejection letters of the publishers are turning into massive junk. He decides to organize a special cross country road trip via beat up bus and finds another 11 passengers to join him.But tickets of this trip is one way and their destination is unknown! 12 souls in tremendous pain gather to take their own lives by finding a cliff with great view of the ocean at sunset near San Francisco, hitting the gas, jumping off the cliff with their bus. This will be their final destination. Let me introduce you starting from my favorite ones: Karen has pain amplification syndrome related to arachnoiditis which means short circuit between her brain/ spinal cord and the rest of her body that creates a feedback loop of constant agony. She already gives up fighting as Tyler suffers from Eisenmenger syndrome which means there’s a big hole in his heart and blood flows at the wrong way, his skin doesn’t get oxygen so his face is color of blue! Lisa is batshit crazy: one day she can get hyper, wanting to party all night, having random sex with bunch of guys, getting high, extra drunk as the other day she stops communicating, hiding under blanket, cursing like a sailor: yes her bipolar disorder getting out of control and her dysfunctional relationship with her family, especially with her evil stepmother forces her throwing the towel. Dylan is the young veteran driver keeps his troubled past as secret, signed to drive them to their final destination but as he gets more connected with Karen, this trip will change everything about his life. And 66 years old Vaughn is mysterious guy carrying a big bag filled in cash, telling them reason behind his want to take his own life was very long story but it might be related at somehow with his wife’s sudden loss. Those are the main members of the group I just introduced you. Later a couple who are getting away from threatening family of the girl decides to die against obstacles( so much Romeo& Juliet story and from the beginning group members, especially Lisa thinks they’re just tourists, they have no intention to die! ) , Zeke: an addict travels with his cat, Shanelle has been bullied and fat shaming for years is about to give up, Theo is also bullied because of gender orientation choices, Peter: clinic nihilist become part of the group. Some of them are adamant to finish their last journey as some of them has second thoughts, change of hearts. Conclusion was not what I expected and it’s questionable, shaking you to the core and forcing you fine-tune your moral compass. After reading the last sentence: I didn’t know what to feel! Only thing I knew the deep sadness ached my heart! This was emotional, provocative, heart wrenching journey! The author brought out very bold concept: do we have free will to decide how we end our lives as like how we live them? This book is not for everyone because its main focus is suicide. I have to admit none of the characters are cowards and the situations force them to take their own lives were so real, extremely painful, suffocating. Even though you know ending the pain might be the best choice for some of them’s undeniable suffer you cannot help to root for them and wish they may change their minds. I cannot give this book less than five stars. It would be big betrayal to those amazing characters who will stay in my mind for a long time. The author’s emotional writing skills combined with great sense of humor. The message is clear: when it’s dark enough you can see the stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/ Scout Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    This is a novel about people who want to commit suicide. Some have chronic or fatal illnesses, some are depressed. You would think a novel about a group of people who cross the country on a tour bus to commit suicide would be depressing, but there is humor. The main narrator, Mark, is a failed novelist with tons of student debt and a degree in writing that doesn’t enable him to get a job that pays a living wage. While he has a lot of grim things to say about student loans and the impossibility o This is a novel about people who want to commit suicide. Some have chronic or fatal illnesses, some are depressed. You would think a novel about a group of people who cross the country on a tour bus to commit suicide would be depressing, but there is humor. The main narrator, Mark, is a failed novelist with tons of student debt and a degree in writing that doesn’t enable him to get a job that pays a living wage. While he has a lot of grim things to say about student loans and the impossibility of many people to pay rent on a decent place, let alone ever own their own home, he's also funny. As they cross the country, some of the humor comes from mocking places—the comedy comes from geography. For example, merely coming from New Jersey is enough of a reason to off yourself. The god-awful state of our healthcare system is also a sad part of the story. Though this novel deals with tough topics, the writing is beautiful and the author managed to make me like the different characters. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JULY 6, 2021.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    In addition to being the author of this novel, Together We Will Go, J. Michael Straczynski is also a screenwriter for both television and film, a producer and director, in addition to being a comic book writer. I’d list some of the films and television series he’s been involved with, but it would take pages. A story of a gathering of a disparate assortment of people who only seem to have one thing in common, but over time recognize that the things they have in common are more than just their com In addition to being the author of this novel, Together We Will Go, J. Michael Straczynski is also a screenwriter for both television and film, a producer and director, in addition to being a comic book writer. I’d list some of the films and television series he’s been involved with, but it would take pages. A story of a gathering of a disparate assortment of people who only seem to have one thing in common, but over time recognize that the things they have in common are more than just their common goal, and friendships develop over time on their journey. Their journey begins when Mark Antonelli decides to write a story based on a group of people who have a common goal, discouraged in his ability to sell a publisher on any of his former attempts at writing. He finds a young vet to drive the old, dilapidated bus that he bought, and places an ad online, briefly, for other interested parties to join him on the journey, the right of passage being they will keep a journal of their journey, sharing their thoughts along the way, which he will have the rights to use. It isn’t your ordinary road trip. His passengers enter the story at varying stopping points along the way from Florida along the drive to their destination - San Francisco. All with the goal of travelling to their ‘final destination,’ the end of the road being the end. Period. At least of this life, depending on your beliefs. Each has their own reasons, from unceasingly endless pain with no end in sight, a life limited due to illness, a life of endlessly being bullied, to unbearable sadness. As more stops are made, and more passengers join the journey, friendships grow between them. They share their stories with one another, and in sharing, they feel an acceptance of their feelings for the first time. But even in a group that is relatively small, everyone is not going to agree - or like - everyone else. Frictions arise. Complications and calamity follow, but this story is sprinkled with humorous moments, and compassionate ones, as well. Regardless of all the things meant to break their bond, the connection they’ve formed along the way is a lasting one, unbreakable, the bond of family created out of understanding rather than blood. Published: 06 Jul 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Gallery Books / Gallery/Scout Press

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    The upcoming novel from Babylon 5 creator and Sense8 co-creator J. Michael Straczynski, Together We Will Go , is a powerful, moving, and sometimes humorous look at suicide and assisted suicide. Mark is a depressed writer who can’t seem to sell any of his work. He’s at the end of his rope, so he buys an old tour bus and plans to drive cross-country, ending in San Francisco. He also places an online ad searching for travel companions. But this isn’t just any road trip. Mark is looking for The upcoming novel from Babylon 5 creator and Sense8 co-creator J. Michael Straczynski, Together We Will Go , is a powerful, moving, and sometimes humorous look at suicide and assisted suicide. Mark is a depressed writer who can’t seem to sell any of his work. He’s at the end of his rope, so he buys an old tour bus and plans to drive cross-country, ending in San Francisco. He also places an online ad searching for travel companions. But this isn’t just any road trip. Mark is looking for people like him, who have no more strength or desire to keep on living. At the end of their journey, they’ll drive the bus off a cliff. He gets a tremendous response so he has to figure out who seems legitimately interested in ending their lives and aren’t just suicide tourists, along for the ride, or looking to share the story to the media. After hiring someone to drive the bus (until its final stop), they begin picking up their passengers across the country. The people who join the trip are all suffering in their own ways—from chronic pain, mental illness, fatal diseases, loneliness, guilt, addiction. And as the group grows and makes “bucket list” stops along the way, frictions occur among the group, some have second thoughts, motivations are questioned, and some are even kicked off the bus. Together We Will Go is a quirky, sad, thought-provoking look at the ideation of suicidal feelings and what drives people to that end. It’s told in a combination of narrative, text messages, transcriptions of audio files, and emails, and a majority of the characters narrate. I definitely cared more about some characters than others, but overall this story evokes some real emotion. When you have that many characters and a unique narrative style, it’s sometimes hard to follow, and I definitely found some stories more compelling and powerful than others. But this book definitely packs a punch and I won’t forget it anytime soon. NetGalley and Gallery Books provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!! Together We Will Go publishes 7/6. If you find yourself thinking of suicide and need to speak to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Written in a varied epistolary format, this new road trip book takes a deep dive into the subject of suicide. I know for many this could be a massive red flag. At times I was tempted to drop the book myself. What kept me reading was the hope that even though this group had made a commitment to be on the bus, they might decide to leave before the last stop. As the passengers journal and interact via the recorded app, we get to know them and care about them. Most of all you will realize that somet Written in a varied epistolary format, this new road trip book takes a deep dive into the subject of suicide. I know for many this could be a massive red flag. At times I was tempted to drop the book myself. What kept me reading was the hope that even though this group had made a commitment to be on the bus, they might decide to leave before the last stop. As the passengers journal and interact via the recorded app, we get to know them and care about them. Most of all you will realize that sometimes all it takes is one person at the right time and place to flip the paradigm and give someone hope. Psalm 16:24 says, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." When we view those around us as image-bearers of our Creator, we will be a source of hope and light. Lord, give us the wisdom and grace to be a light to those around us who are struggling. Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Together We Will Go is a compelling and deeply thought-provoking contemporary epistolary novel about a group of folk who no longer wish to exist and want to shuffle off this mortal coil altogether. 29-year-old apathetic and unsuccessful writer Mark Antonelli’s ream of rejection letters from prospective publishers keeps growing exponentially, and despite having had such feelings since his high school days they begin to fuel even more intense feelings of suicidal ideation. He decides to seek out o Together We Will Go is a compelling and deeply thought-provoking contemporary epistolary novel about a group of folk who no longer wish to exist and want to shuffle off this mortal coil altogether. 29-year-old apathetic and unsuccessful writer Mark Antonelli’s ream of rejection letters from prospective publishers keeps growing exponentially, and despite having had such feelings since his high school days they begin to fuel even more intense feelings of suicidal ideation. He decides to seek out other individuals who are also ready for departure, so he places a hidden invitation in the Personals section of HomepageAds.com reaching out to those who would like to join what he calls "the weirdest cross-country party ever". Their destination will be sunny San Francisco, CA. Upon arrival they will ditch the driver, find an appropriate seaside cliff with a stunning view of the pacific ocean and then just as the sun kisses the horizon, they will hit the gas and drive out of this world. As the price of admission, each member will be asked to write their story, upload it to the WiFi hotspot on the bus and periodically update it. Once they log in and create a username, they can link the system to their email and text accounts to provide an accurate real-time record of their thoughts and messages leading up to that fateful day. Rarely do people tell the truth about how they are feeling due to being afraid of what people might think of them, but since they will no longer be here when the journal entries are found and they will literally be speaking from the grave, Mark encourages everyone to finally inform everyone in their lives how they really feel, no holding back. But once the idiosyncratic group come together they find that their feelings about passing on are no longer as straightforward they once were. This is a compulsive, engrossing and beautiful, life-affirming read about the power of friendship and learning to love oneself, and despite having chosen to read it because of its original plot, StraczynskI weaves a completely different story from the one I envisioned, and in a positive way. They end up, hilariously, being chased across States by the authorities and it becomes a rather entertaining bleak comedy. It's deeply sardonic with philosophical rumination aplenty and through the use of text messages, emails, online journal entries and audio transcripts the characters’ thoughts and actions are revealed, and we get to know the twelve suicide tourists. As the bonds grow between each other they also grow between the reader and the cast of characters until you become thoroughly invested in seeing them thrive. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. It seems weird to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a book about people planning their suicide, but the book is so charming, heartfelt and well-written that I have no choice. Mark, age 30 and a failed writer, buys an old bus, hires a young army vet as the driver and hides an ad in the personals inviting people to come with him on a country-wide road trip to San Francisco, where they will find a beautiful cliff, drive off the edge and end 4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. It seems weird to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a book about people planning their suicide, but the book is so charming, heartfelt and well-written that I have no choice. Mark, age 30 and a failed writer, buys an old bus, hires a young army vet as the driver and hides an ad in the personals inviting people to come with him on a country-wide road trip to San Francisco, where they will find a beautiful cliff, drive off the edge and end their life, and their pain, together. Mark picks up several people on his journey, all joining for their own particular reasons. Mark provides the ride, snacks and drinks - the only requirement is that each person upload their stories through texts, voicemails and emails to a cloud-based database. Through these uploads, and the interactions between group members, we begin to know each person and why they have made the ultimate decision to end their lives. The author writes about the topic of suicide in a very straight-forward manner and through each person's story, the reader begins to understand that none of the characters made this choice lightly. While some people may ultimately feel that certain characters' issues are not "big" enough to decide to end things, especially since some of the characters are rather young, the author does a good job of forcing the reader to see things from the character's perspective. Everyone has their own level of tolerance, and what is no big deal to one person, could be life shattering to another. Even though the topic is very heavy, the author does a great job of sprinkling in light and funny moments. There are also plenty of heartfelt interactions between the characters and while I didn't cry while reading the book, there were times when I had to stop and live in the moment of what I had just read. Don't let the weighty topic dissuade you from reading this book. It's a wonderful read that will stay with you long after you put it down. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books. All opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press Pub. Date: July 6, 2021 While reading the book I was not aware that J. Micahel Straczynski, is the co-creator of many TV shows including “Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.” Even without this knowledge, I could tell that he is a talented and funny writer. “Together We Will Go” is a tragic comedy. I say this because the novel looks at the reasons why people commit suicide yet, the author will make you laugh time and time again. He manages to do this Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press Pub. Date: July 6, 2021 While reading the book I was not aware that J. Micahel Straczynski, is the co-creator of many TV shows including “Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.” Even without this knowledge, I could tell that he is a talented and funny writer. “Together We Will Go” is a tragic comedy. I say this because the novel looks at the reasons why people commit suicide yet, the author will make you laugh time and time again. He manages to do this without taking away from the seriousness of the subject matter. For example, the main narrator is a failed novelist with tons of student debt and a degree in writing that pretty much is useless for paying the bills. He thinks, merely coming from Jersey is reason enough to off yourself. If you know any New Jersey jokes, how do you not laugh and that? And, this book reviewer lives in New Jersey. The premise of the story is just plain weird. A group of strangers come together, through the classifieds, for a bus trip where the destination is death. They intend to go somewhere pretty and then drive the bus over a cliff. The idea is to not die alone. Straczynski gets the reader to ignore how unbelievable the plotline is by making his characters relatable, human. You can probably find a little bit of yourself in each of them. The only condition to join the death bus is that each rider must journal his/her reasons for wanting to die. Each journal reads like a case study on the character. Some journals are so deep and thought provoking they could have been novels by themselves. Among others, the reader will meet, a person living in chronic pain who just can’t take it anymore, a party-loving bipolar woman who cannot be stabilized with medication, a terminally ill man with a hole in his heart that turns his skin blue, and a gentle soul who is mentally ill and wants to die with his dying cat. They are all hoping that their next life will be a better one. The author does not clump his characters together. Some believe they're going to heaven or hell, others that they'll be reincarnated in new bodies. Others still believe they'll simply decompose, and that the earth will repurpose their remains like any other material. The novel is narrated in a gutsy way that forces the reader to pay attention. Think “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. Egan had a PowerPoint presentation, but Straczynski has journals, texts, emails, voicemails, and audio recordings. As expected, all characters become endearing to the reader. Nevertheless, don’t expect a Hollywood ending. This is an intelligent, bizarre, and sad story that will make you think that the characters are your friends. You may even go back and reread some of the journals. Sometimes, the tale is a bit too much for my taste. Such as when they break into a mall, cause why not. They are going to die anyway. While inside they do whatever they want, so all hell breaks loose. Even though this is hard to buy (like where are the police?) I did chuckle when an obese girl whacks a stick-wide mannequin, which no real woman looks like while telling the mannequin that she needs to eat a ham sandwich. “Together We Will Go” is not making light of suicide. What the author does do is explore those intense emotions that can become deadly. He just does this in a Monty Python kind of way. He uses humor to show us what it looks like to be depressed, or have suicidal ideation, and how anyone can be vulnerable to suicide. The book closes with The National Suicide Prevention Hotline. I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review. Find all my book reviews at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list… https://books6259.wordpress.com/ https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review… https://www.facebook.com/martie.neesr… https://www.instagram.com/martie6947/ https://www.amazon.com/ https://twitter.com/NeesRecord\

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    You might think that a book about suicide, sickness, depression and other maladies might be a very distressing read, but you might be wrong. Together We Will Go is more a story about love and friendship in my opinion. The premise is a very unique one - a group of people band together with the common goal of suicide. They travel across the country picking up more people and facing “adventures.” We get to know each character and their reasons for wanting to end their life. The author succeeds in ma You might think that a book about suicide, sickness, depression and other maladies might be a very distressing read, but you might be wrong. Together We Will Go is more a story about love and friendship in my opinion. The premise is a very unique one - a group of people band together with the common goal of suicide. They travel across the country picking up more people and facing “adventures.” We get to know each character and their reasons for wanting to end their life. The author succeeds in making each one three-dimensional, some more than others. We come to care for them and don’t want to see them die yet at the same time, understand that for some it is their only escape from debilitating pain. My one major complaint is that there are too many characters and it was challenging to keep all their backstories straight. Straczynski is an accomplished writer and screenwriter, creating the science-fiction series Babylon 5 and it’s spin-off Crusade as well as other TV shows, books, comics and more. Together We Will Go is a change of pace for him and he is successful in any genre. I enjoyed this book and recommend it with the caveat that you should be fully aware of the premise and avoid it if suicide ideation is a trigger for you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    James

    (Also published at my blog, https://jamesgenrebooks.blogspot.com/.... Reposted in its entirety here, since it is an ARC review) I have no idea is goodreads adds the standard boilerplate to the review or not, but since Blogger doesn't: I won an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book for an honest review of it prior to publication. I hate to use what may seem like a flippant title for this post, given it takes away from the serious nature of the topic, but frankly, one of my defense mechanisms is (Also published at my blog, https://jamesgenrebooks.blogspot.com/.... Reposted in its entirety here, since it is an ARC review) I have no idea is goodreads adds the standard boilerplate to the review or not, but since Blogger doesn't: I won an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book for an honest review of it prior to publication. I hate to use what may seem like a flippant title for this post, given it takes away from the serious nature of the topic, but frankly, one of my defense mechanisms is to make jokes when I'm uncomfortable. And let's face it, Together We Will Go by J. Michael Straczynski will make more than a few readers uncomfortable. Which is sad, since it's a very compelling read and a deep dive into suicidal ideation. something that often gets ignored or shoved away in real life. We open with a statement from Mark, who explains the set up for this grand adventure. Mark, a failed writer, has decided to to rent a party bus, grab a few folks in similar mindsets on the way, then drive the bus off a cliff into the Pacific in San Francisco. The driver is contracted to drive them to the City by the Bay, but is supposed to get off before the final flight. The bus is wired with wifi and a cloud server to record journals and audio entries from the riders, although we also get text messages in there as well. And so Mark and Dylan (the driver) begin the drive, picking up Karen first. Karen suffers from chronic pain, caused by her nerves mirroring pain to each other. She ends up naming her arachnoiditis "Spider". and many of her early journal entries talk about how Spider and depression kept her from living a normal life. We then pick up Tyler, suffering from Eisenmenger Syndrome; Lisa, who's bipolar manifests in destructive ways; Vaughn, who's wife died a few months prior; Theresa and Jim, who look to want to punish her racist dad; Sunny Shanelle, the obese girl; Zeke, the drug addict; Theo, the nonbinary dreaming of a perfect world; and Peter, the philosopher. There's quite a bit of interpersonal drama between the passengers, as most of them find friends and enemies among the other riders, and quite a bit of outside drama, as the purpose of the trip gets revealed to people outside the bus, leading to a bunch of drama as to whether or not Nebraska or Utah police will stop the bus. Colorado, having legalized assisted suicide, can more or less let them pass with minimal cooperation with the more hardline border states. Quite a few of these characters resonated with me on a personal level. Zeke, who's living for his cat, General, and says that neither will live long without the other, puts me in mind of a friend of mine who has made similar statements in my presence. Shanelle, who's weight has lead to her being socially exiled. I too, like Theo, occasionally dream of a shining city of the hill where people can be themselves.I, however, am currently not living in a headspace where the ideation is almost omnipresent, where a disconnect notice sends me running for the knife drawer, or where a bad night at work has me wondering if a leash would make a good noose. And I thank whatever God may be that I've managed to get to where I am now. But these folks, they're in a moment I've known too well, or watched enough of my friends go through, where the idea of a happy ending is one where existence itself ends. I did have a minor quibble towards the end, as the record of the bus trip gets uploaded to the internet, one gets the impression the person who hits send is judging the very same people they were part of for not trying hard enough. That may not be how it was intended, but it kind of felt that way. One of Straczynski's greatest gifts, based on my exposure to his other projects, has always been getting inside his character's heads. This remains very true in this book, as even the characters you want to hate you wind up understanding better and indeed feeling empathy with. I found myself wishing each of them a happy ending, even if that end was not one I'd choose for myself any more. Very well written and engaging read. I hope its release in July is a resounding success.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barred Owl Books

    A character-driven book that sinks the characters deep into your heart. Attached to them and their stories, I laughed and cried my way through this book. Be warned this book is about suicide which is not an easy topic. Straczynski is an amazing author and this book does not disappoint.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    I've shelved this and backburnered it. The subject matter is too sad to be reading now when the real news is so disturbing. Maybe later. It's well written and compelling, but not for me right now. I've shelved this and backburnered it. The subject matter is too sad to be reading now when the real news is so disturbing. Maybe later. It's well written and compelling, but not for me right now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This book is unique, at least I've never read anything similar. I found it fascinating, charming, sad, and enlightening. The characters are quirky and interesting. No matter how you feel about the right to choose to take your own life, it will at least open your eyes to what some of the motivations might be. Mark, a struggling author at almost 30 years old, is suffering from chronic depression. He keeps submitting works and gets rejected all the time. He decides to organize a trip: he rents a bu This book is unique, at least I've never read anything similar. I found it fascinating, charming, sad, and enlightening. The characters are quirky and interesting. No matter how you feel about the right to choose to take your own life, it will at least open your eyes to what some of the motivations might be. Mark, a struggling author at almost 30 years old, is suffering from chronic depression. He keeps submitting works and gets rejected all the time. He decides to organize a trip: he rents a bus, hires a driver, takes out an ad for other people to join him on a journey like no other. This is a one-way trip - when they arrive in San Francisco they will find a cliff with a view of the ocean at sunset, and drive off the cliff. The passengers are required to write journal entries, voice entries, texts and emails as the price of their trip. The author provided insight into a tough subject with sensitivity and a good sense of humor. The characters are memorable. The story is told by all the people on the bus. Thanks to Gallery Books through Netgalley for an advance copy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Stone

    This book may not appeal to everyone and I know I was initially forcing myself to read it because it deals with suicide and reasons why people might be driven to that extreme. However, the more I got into the book, the more I could identify with and empathize with those who boarded the bus. An unusual format with people "signing in" to a onboard recorder, so to speak, to explain why they were there and their backgrounds, but it was never confusing. I always knew who was "speaking." Not everyone This book may not appeal to everyone and I know I was initially forcing myself to read it because it deals with suicide and reasons why people might be driven to that extreme. However, the more I got into the book, the more I could identify with and empathize with those who boarded the bus. An unusual format with people "signing in" to a onboard recorder, so to speak, to explain why they were there and their backgrounds, but it was never confusing. I always knew who was "speaking." Not everyone who boards the van/bus continues on their journey and I really understood why some of those who continued to their end did so. Made me much more aware of how many different ways people are turned off life. Only critique I would have is on ebooks some of the, I believe, phone messages, do not print large enough be read, and I tried. Author/publisher should put those messages on a separate page by themselves and enlarge them. Don't know if they were important but it was frustrating not to be able to read them at all on my Kindle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen Foster

    Sadly not for me. At all. I liked the sound of the unique premise, but I found it clunky and strangely shallow, which was a surprise. I usually love an epistolary novel but this just felt contrived. The MC was kind of insufferable, and the few characters I was drawn to, were not enough to save this one for me. I’d hoped for more. Disappointed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna Foster

    Important and totally worth it to hang in there and read this story to the very last page.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katherina Martin

    First, thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will suck you in. It will make you think..A lot ..about life and how other people live and deal with their lives. It is about suicide and the book has the potential to anger a reader and set off emotional triggers. I don’t know that I would recommend it for someone who has been close to anyone that has entertained or committed suicide. It is a very good book and well-written. It explains why some people fall in First, thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will suck you in. It will make you think..A lot ..about life and how other people live and deal with their lives. It is about suicide and the book has the potential to anger a reader and set off emotional triggers. I don’t know that I would recommend it for someone who has been close to anyone that has entertained or committed suicide. It is a very good book and well-written. It explains why some people fall into that well and can’t come out. Reading it, I felt like the characters clearly understood what and why they felt suicide would be their only road. I even respect their decisions. The bus trip has some awesome, caring moments. It also turns some of the characters around— they decide to live another day, until they just can’t. There is lots of love and some laughter and some very beautiful moments in this book. It is not light reading but I read it through without stopping. Because of the topic, I cannot say it is funny but there are laughable moments. PS.. I think Mark is a villain—and I still am not sure what his end point was. I’d love to hear what other readers take is on him.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashlin Edmisten

    Struggling in more ways than one, twenty-something writer Mark comes up with a twisted but brilliant idea, using an online classified ad to gather like-minded folks in a cross-country party bus trip/suicide pact. By getting on the bus, everyone agrees to submit electronic journal entries of their journey to the end. Throughout the journey the passengers bare their hearts, souls, fears, and joys. A description I read called the book The Breakfast Club meets Silver Linings Playbook and that's not Struggling in more ways than one, twenty-something writer Mark comes up with a twisted but brilliant idea, using an online classified ad to gather like-minded folks in a cross-country party bus trip/suicide pact. By getting on the bus, everyone agrees to submit electronic journal entries of their journey to the end. Throughout the journey the passengers bare their hearts, souls, fears, and joys. A description I read called the book The Breakfast Club meets Silver Linings Playbook and that's not far from the truth. The resulting tale is a character study full of questions and answers. While (in my opinion) the book doesn't condone suicide or assisted suicide, it doesn't step back from the realities of the act. Full of tragedy, joy, and everyday monotony, Together We Will Go brings power back to the depressed, the misfits, the ones in chronic pain, the folks battling mental illness, the exhausted. The rich lives and thoughts of the characters will keep you interested throughout this well-written book. Note: I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    2 stars. What a disappointment! The premise is so unique, I thought, ‘This has to be great!’ The story is about a group of strangers who answer an ad to take a road trip in a bus with likeminded strangers, who’ve all decided (for various reasons) to collectively end their lives. Each character has their own reason for wanting to end their life, and they document their stories onto a shared server, like one big stream of consciousness, ongoing suicide note. Some of the “entries” are tedious and se 2 stars. What a disappointment! The premise is so unique, I thought, ‘This has to be great!’ The story is about a group of strangers who answer an ad to take a road trip in a bus with likeminded strangers, who’ve all decided (for various reasons) to collectively end their lives. Each character has their own reason for wanting to end their life, and they document their stories onto a shared server, like one big stream of consciousness, ongoing suicide note. Some of the “entries” are tedious and seem like one huge, whining complaint. Others are kind of touching and the only redeeming part of this book. At one point, the book takes a turn into some Bruce Willis/Action Movie territory and completely leaves the reader on the side of the road with all logic and reasoning. I appreciate how the author provides resolution, but the story became so far fetched, it was really hard to swallow. Other than bringing awareness to the motivations of those seeking suicide, I would not recommend this book. *Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Cappiello

    Mark runs an ad seeking people that want to end their life. He hires a driver, buys a beat up bus, and plans a cross country adventure to pick up passengers and have their last hoorah before they drive off a cliff in San Francisco to end it all. A really dark premise with lots of comedic moments and hijinks sprinkled throughout. As they travel we learn each passengers back story through journal entries they’re required to keep. These stories are tragic. Obviously these are very broken and hurt p Mark runs an ad seeking people that want to end their life. He hires a driver, buys a beat up bus, and plans a cross country adventure to pick up passengers and have their last hoorah before they drive off a cliff in San Francisco to end it all. A really dark premise with lots of comedic moments and hijinks sprinkled throughout. As they travel we learn each passengers back story through journal entries they’re required to keep. These stories are tragic. Obviously these are very broken and hurt people if they believe suicide is their only option. And that’s where this book goes wrong for me. I couldn’t laugh at what was supposed to be funny when I knew what was hurting these people. It’s not entirely doom & gloom, there’s definitely hope and changes that occur but ultimately I don’t think I was the right reader for this one. This will be a fantastic book for the right reader: interesting premise, great writing, witty.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Unique. Emotional. Unexpected. Sad. Happy. You already know that this book is about suicide so you can't be upset if you read this book and then want to complain! The characters are as complex as their reasons are to end their lives. I was totally invested and immersed in each character and I actually wish that their book had been longer so we could see the ramifications of those who chose a different path. The writing is unique since we have a variety of styles-instant messages, journals, reco Unique. Emotional. Unexpected. Sad. Happy. You already know that this book is about suicide so you can't be upset if you read this book and then want to complain! The characters are as complex as their reasons are to end their lives. I was totally invested and immersed in each character and I actually wish that their book had been longer so we could see the ramifications of those who chose a different path. The writing is unique since we have a variety of styles-instant messages, journals, recordings (they have been transcribed), and one on one interactions. I am glad that I chose to read this. I was skeptical at first but soon found myself fascinated with this book. *ARC supplied by the publisher, the author, and ATTL/Edelweiss.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    I’ve loved J. Michael Straczynski’s writing ever since I was a 12-year-old sci-fi nerd obsessed with Babylon 5. (If you’ve never seen it, check it out – the 90s styling and visual effects might look a bit dated now, but the storytelling 100% holds up.) When I found out he had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. And I was even more excited to see it on Netgalley! I’m going to come out in the very beginning and announce Content Warning: Suicide for this novel. If this is a topic that t I’ve loved J. Michael Straczynski’s writing ever since I was a 12-year-old sci-fi nerd obsessed with Babylon 5. (If you’ve never seen it, check it out – the 90s styling and visual effects might look a bit dated now, but the storytelling 100% holds up.) When I found out he had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. And I was even more excited to see it on Netgalley! I’m going to come out in the very beginning and announce Content Warning: Suicide for this novel. If this is a topic that triggers you, you should probably skip this book. The premise is a strange but compelling one: depressed writer Mark puts out an ad on the internet, looking for individuals across the United States who are set on ending their lives to come together for one last epic party/road trip, culminating in a pleasant but final act of mass suicide. As the group comes together, we learn what has brought them all to this decision. The narrative is told in an interesting format – a mix of journal entries, emails, audio transcriptions, text messages and internet postings that come together to tell the story. The book is very thoughtful about its central conceit, exploring the idea of suicide from a lot of different angles. It doesn’t glorify the act, but it also doesn’t shy away from the real and varied reasons why people choose to make that decision. Also, despite its deep and dark subject matter, it really is beautifully written. It's full of little moments of humor, reflections on the beauty of life, and moments of pure human connection. The characters are vivid and the relationships that develop between them are profound. Again, if you’re triggered by discussion of suicide, this isn’t the book for you. But if you can stomach an exploration of this sensitive subject, give this book a try. TW: suicide, fatphobia, rape, drug use I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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