The Next: Book summary and reviews of The Next by Stephanie Gangi

The Next

by Stephanie Gangi

The Next by Stephanie Gangi
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2016
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She's consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days cyberstalking Ned McGowan, her much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She's every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she's out of time.

Joanna falls from her life, from the love of daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can't escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right – makes Ned pay – so she can truly move on.

From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Debut author Gangi uses alternating chapters (and lots of pop music references) to tell the stories of Joanna, her daughters, and Ned. Joanna's chapters - brash, descriptive, lyrical, and often sexually charged renderings of what she's thinking, feeling, and doing, dead or alive - are the highlights. But Gangi's ability to create compelling stories and humanize her supporting characters will make readers empathize with them, too. This is a title worth silencing your smartphone for." - Library Journal

"Good fun, good writing, and strong characters keep this high-wire plot aloft." - Kirkus

"Fast-paced and engrossing." - Booklist

"I love The Next. Well, let me be more specific: I LOVE The Next... this is an elegantly written, thoughtfully sharp and surprisingly touching whirlwind of a book." - Cathleen Schine

"The Next isn't just a ghost story, it's a love story, a family story, an illness story, and a revenge story as well. Stephanie Gangi's novel is fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word." - Tom Perrota

"The Next is a riveting debut by a fiercely talented writer." - Erica Jong

"A profound and provocative page-turner about love and loss, revenge and redemption, this debut novel will stick with you for a long time. Stephanie Gangi is an instant, new favorite." - Emily Giffin

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Reader Reviews

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Beverly S. (Chesterton, IN)

Make "The Next" your next read.
Can a novel be sad and fun at the same time? The answer is yes! Love and death and revenge and even ghosts, conquer all in "The Next."

This story presents a Mother who is gravely ill. Be prepared to meet her two daughters, one ex-husband, one sexy boyfriend who is fifteen years younger, and a very lovable 90 pound poodle named Tom. You will enjoy this novel.

Warning...be prepared to laugh and cry because it will grab you and take you on a special reading adventure!

I promise you will love this book.

Colleen T. (Lakewood, CO)

The Next by Stephanie Gangi
The Next is a really good book. It's very well written and the characters have depth and feeling. The story tells of love, loss, grief, revenge and redemption in such a way that I couldn't put it down. I really like the characters and their struggle with the things that life gives a person and how they come away wiser and happier than in the beginning. I recommend this book to everyone just because it's that good!

Elizabeth L. (Salem, OR)

Excellent
I rarely read the ghost/horror genre. But I really liked this book.

The writing is excellent. The scenes are very vivid and while the characters don't break new ground (with the exception of Joanna) they are well drawn.

Joanna was a revelation. I found her obsession with Ned before (and after) her death inexplicable and self absorbed as it hurt her daughters so much. But the end chapter really explained why, without seeming like a cop-out. And I teared up in the last few paragraphs, a rarity.

Finally, while I have always had cats, if my dog could be like Tom I might reconsider.

Katherine D. (Rochester, NY)

The Next
Ms Gangie has introduced a modern twist to the ordinary "ghost" story. However, to call this a Ghost story does not begin to do it justice. The language is lyrical, and includes a generous dose of humor "Her self floats about in a luminous ether". "Her transmigration leaves her phantom limbed- a full body amputee".


As we meet Joanna, she is at home in a "hospice" situation. Her daughters want to control her actions, for her own good, and are suggesting a round the clock caregiver. Joanna clearly has other ideas, and is on a mission to exact revenge on Ned, a lover who has simply walked out the door, again, a repeat performance of actions he took earlier in their relationship. Although
she managed to recover from the first abandonment, she is unable to bounce back from this gratuitous repeat of history. She is house bound and nearly bed-bound in her final fight with cancer. Her cell phone is her only hope as she plans to carry out her mission of plotting a suitably painful revenge, and it becomes a handy conduit which she uses obsessively to track Ned's new life, new wife, and baby-to-be minute by excruciating minute. She is totally obsessed with her fantasies of delivering the appropriate revenge to this thoughtless inconsiderate heartsmasher Ned.


Her anger is so extreme that it survives her death, and moves with her right into the Next world. As a ghost, she communicates by cellphone and the internet. Sensed, though unseen by her daughters, her dog, and others, a truly "Mad" Joanna proceeds to use her powers to possess Ned's body. She controls his speech and actions in truly frightening ways.


The only problem I had was the way the story simply ran out of steam after Joanna departs. If the ending was a bit disappointing, the sheer beauty of the telling made this a book I would recommend.

Maureen S. (Huntington Station, NY)

The Next
Wow- I think we all wonder what the afterlife will be like. What will be our last feeling? Will it be one of love, fear, anticipation or revenge?

Joanna, our main character is in her mid forties and is dying of breast cancer. Joanna has her next life planned. This fantastic story is a ghost story and a love story taking place in New York City and on social media. It is the story of relationships. Mother-daughter, siblings, mother-lover and yes the family pet and how they all handle death.

The story is profound, yet comic. It is fast moving and would make for enjoyable discussion.

Monica P. (Cleves, OH)

Still Reeling
Ahhh, talented literature at its best. The descriptions are so good that at times I couldn't read more than an hour or so. It was so intense I almost couldn't take it. This is no light beach read. This will have you feeling all the feels. Love, revenge, illness, motherhood, sisterhood, being a woman, being a daughter, fear, insecurity in relationships, ageism. Even being a dog. I had to take this one in sips, not gulps, but WOW!

...12 more reader reviews

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Stephanie Gangi lives, works and writes in New York City.

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