The Best Books of 2022—According to Real Simple Editors

Including some memoirs, some thrillers, some debuts, and the long-awaited return of some acclaimed authors.

best books of nov 2022

Ted Cavanaugh

If you're looking for a good book to curl up with, to create a lively conversation for your book club, or just a relaxing beach read for your next getaway, these great new books for 2022 will keep you page-turning well past bedtime. Check back every month for a new set of recommendations from the Real Simple editors to add to your to-read list.

01 of 49

Anywhere You Run

any where you run book cover


Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris is the rare heart-pounding thriller that’s also deeply moving. In the summer of 1964, 20-something sisters Violet and Marigold leave their hometown in Jim Crow Mississippi to escape very different troubles: One is suspected of murder; the other is unmarried and pregnant. Neither realizes there’s a man who’s after them both, and their wrenching journey toward a new life will leave you breathless.

02 of 49

We All Want Impossible Things

we all want impossible things book cover


Ashley and Edith, both in their 40s, have been inseparable best friends since childhood, and now Edith is dying of ovarian cancer. In author Catherine Newman’s expert hands, We All Want Impossible Things is an extraordinary ode to friendship—warm, sometimes outrageously funny, and as real as it gets. It celebrates the gift of long-term bonds without shying away from the pain of losing someone you can’t imagine life without.

03 of 49

Demon Copperhead

demon copperhead book cover


The title character in Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, Demon Copperhead, is a fire-cracker of a young man born to a single mother deep in the mountains of southern Appalachia. You’ll be enthralled by his voice, simultaneously hilarious and wise, as he illuminates life in rural America. Inspired by Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, this is the ideal late-fall read to sink your teeth into.

04 of 49

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

fatty, fatty, boom, boom book cover


Rabia Chaudry, author of the bestselling Adnan’s Story and cohost of the podcast
explore show her Pakistani roots and American upbringing collided and contributed to her body image and sense of self in Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family. This triumphant tale celebrates loving yourself and eat-ing good food (it even includes recipes!).

05 of 49

Signal Fires

signal fires book cover


Dani Shapiro’s gorgeous new novel, Signal Fires, begins in 1985 in a quiet suburb, where three teenagers get into a drunk-driving accident. The two Wilf siblings survive, but the event forever haunts their family. Years later, the Shenkmans move in across the street and have a child, who forms a bond with the Wilf father. The families’ lives intertwine in poignant ways, showing how relationships—between siblings, parents and children, spouses, even neighbors—change over time. Have your tissues ready.

06 of 49

Best of Friends

best of friends book cover


The new novel by Home Fire author Kamila Shamsie opens at a school in Pakistan, where Zahra and Maryam are adolescent girls who have a warm and easy friendship despite the gap in their families’ means. The story gets unputdownable when they grow up to become successful women in London and are forced to reckon with an event from their past. With lots to say about loyalty and how relationships change over time, Best of Friends is great fodder for book club conversations.

07 of 49

Stay True

stay true book cover


When New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a child of Taiwanese immigrants, was going to college in the Bay Area in the ’90s, he viewed Ken, a Japanese American, as someone whose tastes (Dave Matthews Band, Abercrombie & Fitch) ran a bit too mainstream. But the two found comfort in each other, until Ken was killed in a carjacking. Gut-wrenching and beautifully written, Stay True is an unforgettable story about grief, identity, and the indelible mark a friendship can leave on our lives.

08 of 49

The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream

the frederick sisters are living the dream book cover


In The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream by Jeannie Zusy, a funny and insightful story about caregiving, Maggie is an illustrator who’s separated from her husband and raising two teenage sons. After Ginny, her older sister with intellectual disabilities, has an accident, Maggie must move Ginny from Maryland to her small town in New York and juggle her sister’s needs as well, which range from the serious (diabetes) to the less so (her online shopping addiction).

09 of 49

Jacqueline in Paris

jacqueline in paris book cover


In Jacqueline in Paris, Ann Mah brilliantly imagines what life was like in 1949 for a college student named Jacqueline Bouvier as she embarked on her junior year abroad. The alluring descriptions of postwar Paris (the food, the scenery) will make you want to hop on a plane, and the compelling storyline, set amid the rise of the Communist movement in France, is made even more thrilling by the fact that we know where this particular woman is headed.

10 of 49

Less Is Lost

less is lost book cover


Andrew Sean Greer’s novel Less won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. In this follow-up, Arthur Less is traveling across the U.S., pursuing writing work to recover from a financial crisis. The clever story that unfolds is a hilarious and touching take on modern life in America, making Less Is Lost a cathartic book for anyone who’s ever questioned their path—in other words, all of us.

11 of 49

If I Survive You

if i survive you book cover
Courtesy of Publisher

In these connected short stories, author Jonathan Escoffery follows a Jamaican family from the 1970s, when they settle in Miami after fleeing political upheaval in their home country, to the modern day. Both outrageously funny and a piercing look at life in America, If I Survive You is the kind of book you’ll think about long after you finish it.

12 of 49

The Family Remains

the family remains book cover
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Even if you haven’t read Lisa Jewell’s mega hit The Family Upstairs, you’ll love her stand-alone sequel, The Family Remains. A thrilling cast of characters’ lives collide in ways you won’t see coming. Set in London, Chicago, and France, this intricate page-turner about secrets, family loyalty, and revenge is the perfect end-of-summer novel.

13 of 49

Other Birds

other birds book cover
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Zoey Hennessey arrives on Mallow Island, off the coast of South Carolina, to claim her deceased mom’s apartment. Her new home is in the Dellawisp, an old building named for magical birds, where the quirky tenants include estranged sisters, a girl on the run...and ghosts. Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen is whimsical, wise, and delightfully mysterious.

14 of 49

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

how not to drown in a glass of water book cover
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How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz is about a woman who’s been tossed around by life but refuses to surrender. Cara Romero is in her mid-50s when she loses her job and has to find work for the first time in decades. Told through Cara’s sessions with a job counselor, this relatable story shows what true resilience looks like.

15 of 49

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

the many daughters of afong moy book cover
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In The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford, Dorothy Moy is a Seattle poet with depression.When her 5-year-old shows familiar symptoms, Dorothy tries an experimental therapy: connecting, via memory, with past generations of women in her family. Her experiences raise a fascinating question: Do we inherit trauma from our ancestors?

16 of 49

The Fortunes of Jaded Women

the fortunes of jaded women book cover
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The Duong sisters have been cursed to live without love, happiness—or sons. The bad luck seems to extend to one sister’s adult daughters, so she consults her psychic for help. What happens next might finally bring this over-the-top family together.The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh is hilarious and heartwarming.

17 of 49

On the Rooftop

on the rooftop book cover
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Sisters Ruth, Esther, and Chloe make up the Salvations, a 1950s girl group who are local stars in gentrifying San Francisco. When they get close to the big break their mother has pushed for, there’s a problem: Mom’s dream is no longer theirs. On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is a powerful drama set during a pivotal moment in U.S. history.

18 of 49

People Person

people person book cover
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In People Person, Candice Carty-Williams’s second adult novel after the best-selling Queenie, Dimple Pennington is a lonely, 30-year-old struggling influencer. A crisis forces her to reconnect with her four half-siblings and their absentee dad, leading to a witty and tender portrayal of how our childhoods affect how we relate to our family as adults.

19 of 49

The Marriage Portrait

the marriage portrait book cover
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Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait brings to life Lucrezia de’ Medici, a free-spirited young duchess in 1550s Florence. She’s thrust into a marriage when the groom’s intended bride, her older sister, dies suddenly. Her survival depends on whether she produces an heir. This is a riveting tale about one woman’s fight for autonomy.

20 of 49

Any Other Family

any other family book cover
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In Eleanor Brown's Any Other Family, four biological siblings are adopted by three sets of parents—two couples and one single mother—who are committed to keeping the kids in each other's lives. But this well-intentioned agreement proves difficult in practice, especially when the children's biological mother announces she's pregnant again. A tearjerker that nails the issues of fertility, adoption, and raising kids, this is a conversation starter about parenthood you don't want to miss.

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Cult Classic

cult classic book cover
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Imagine: You're at a reunion dinner with former coworkers when you excuse yourself to buy a pack of cigarettes. As you walk back to the restaurant, you run into a former boyfriend, and then another, and then another. That's what happens to Lola in Sloane Crosley's Cult Classic. Clearly something is up, and it's not mere coincidence. This wildly entertaining, hilarious, genre-defying, sci-fi-esque novel about dating and relationships is guaranteed to be unlike anything you've read before.

22 of 49

Nora Goes Off Script

nora goes off script book cover
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Nora Hamilton writes movies for a romance channel, and her newest script—based on her own failed marriage—is picked up by Hollywood and being filmed in the farmhouse she shares with her two kids. When the movie's leading man offers her $1,000 a day to stay for a week after shooting wraps so he can decompress, the real drama starts. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan is funny and smart, with a Nancy Meyers–movie quality you'll love and a main character you'll want to befriend. This is the perfect easy-breezy, feel-good read.

23 of 49

Fellowship Point

fellowship point book cover
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Set in idyllic coastal Maine, Alice Elliott Dark's Fellowship Point is the sweeping story of Agnes Lee and Polly Wister, longtime best friends who've made very different choices in life: One is a children's book author; the other is a wealthy wife and stay-at-home mom. When Agnes becomes deter-mined to have a piece of land in their community permanently protected, Polly could stand in her way. What follows is an engrossing, relatable tale about female friendship and the growing pains of long relationships.

24 of 49

More Than You'll Ever Know

more than you'll ever know book cover
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In 1985, Lore Rivera is an international banker whose double life—split between Mexico City and Laredo, Texas— comes to a halt when one of her two husbands murders the other. In 2017, Cassie Bowman is a true-crime writer who becomes dangerously obsessed with Lore's story, and the questions multiply as she digs deeper. More Than You'll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez is a something-for-everyone read (mystery! crazy family drama! romance!) with two incredible, secret-keeping protagonists.

25 of 49

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

you made a fool of death with your beauty book cover
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Feyi Adekola is trying to move on. After five years of mourning the love of her life, she embarks on a summer romance with a new friend, who whisks her away to the tropical island where he was raised. After they arrive, his father, a world- renowned chef, reignites a passion she thought was lost forever. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi is a steamy and sexy read (as in, shut the book if your kids walk into the room) that also has tremendous heart.

26 of 49

Mean Baby

mean baby book cover
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As a child, actor Selma Blair was known as a troublemaker, a reputation she carried into adulthood. In Mean Baby, her raw, beautifully written autobiography, Blair recounts her difficult road—involving an addiction to alcohol and a complicated relationship with her mother—and shares how her multiple sclerosis diagnosis four years ago was, in many ways, what ultimately saved her.

27 of 49

Tracy Flick Can't Win

tracy flick can't win book cover
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In Tracy Flick Can't Win, Tom Perrotta revisits the main character in Election, his bestseller about an overachieving high school student, played to perky, type A perfection by Reese Witherspoon in 1999. This sequel, set in 2017, takes a sympathetic view of now middle-aged Tracy, an assistant principal and single mom, as she reconciles her past ambitions with her current dissatisfaction in life. Perrotta brings his trademark dark humor and insights into suburbia to the story, along with some sweet observations about friendship.

28 of 49

The Foundling

the foundling book cover
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The Foundling by Ann Leary takes place in 1927, as 18-year-old Mary starts work at the Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age. When she recognizes one of the patients, a childhood friend raised in the same orphanage she was, Mary begins to wonder what's actually going on at the facility, and whether women are being held against their will. This eye-opening novel, based in part on Leary's family history, looks at the outrageous ways our society has sought to control women.

29 of 49

The Mutual Friend

the mutual friend book cover
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Written by How I Met Your Mother cocreator Carter Bays, The Mutual Friend hopscotches across various characters' points of view: adrift, 28-year-old Alice; her wild roommate; her brother, a former tech CEO who became a monk; the nurse who served jury duty with him; even a robot and a canary. But it all comes back to Alice, who seriously needs to study for the MCAT to fulfill a promise to her late mother. Funny, sad, and deeply wise, this one-of-a-kind book will renew your faith in humanity—and make you really want to put down your phone.

30 of 49

Two Nights in Lisbon

two nights in lisbon book cover
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In Two Nights in Lisbon by bestselling author Chris Pavone, bookstore owner Ariel Price has accompanied her new, younger husband on a business trip to Portugal for a quick romantic getaway. But after she wakes up in their hotel room one morning and he's nowhere to be found, she realizes how little she knows about the man she married. This smart and suspenseful thriller is the perfect escape to kick off your summer reading.

31 of 49

Easy Beauty

easy beauty book cover
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Pulitzer Prize finalist Chloé Cooper Jones was born with a rare condition called sacral agenesis, leaving her in chronic pain. In Easy Beauty, her globetrotting memoir that takes readers from bars in Brooklyn, New York, to a Beyoncé concert in Italy, she candidly describes what it's like to inhabit a body that does not fit our culture's standards of beauty. Her story will make you think hard about how you regard the physical appearance of both yourself and others.

32 of 49

Hello, Molly!

hello, molly! book cover
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Molly Shannon's book opens with the event that would shape the Saturday Night Live alum's life: a car accident—with her father driving and 4-year-old Molly in the back—that killed her mother, younger sister, and cousin. What follows in Hello, Molly! is an incredible story of resilience (along with, of course, some laughs) showing how her upbringing influenced her remarkable career. Warm and openhearted, this one feels like a conversation. Consider getting the audiobook, read by the author herself.

33 of 49

The Evening Hero

the evening hero book cover
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The Evening Hero, the new novel by Marie Myung-Ok Lee, is about a Korean-born obstetrician facing his final years in the rural Minnesota town where he settled 50 years before. He's achieved the so-called American dream, but when his hospital is forced to close and he receives a letter that endangers all he's built, he has to reexamine his choices. This is a tender and shrewdly comic look at immigrant life, family, and how our past informs the future.

34 of 49

Take My Hand

take my hand book cover
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It's 1973, and Civil Townsend has landed a nursing job at a family-planning clinic in Alabama. She travels to a rural cabin to meet her first patients, 11- and 13-year-old sisters she's supposed to inject with birth control, and learns that something sinister is afoot when it comes to how the local healthcare system treats poor, Black girls. Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a riveting, based-on-true-events story about a heartbreaking chapter in our country's history.

35 of 49

The Candy House

the candy house
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The Candy House, what author Jennifer Egan calls a "sibling" to her Pulitzer Prize–winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, is unlike anything you've read. A rumination on our tech-obsessed culture, it centers on a fictional new technology that allows users to access their every memory and share them in exchange for the memories of others. With multiple perspectives and styles (there's a chapter composed solely of tweets), this mind-bending novel is a wild ride.

36 of 49

Sea of Tranquility

sea of tranquility
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Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel is a deeply imaginative novel spanning 500 years. It begins in 1912 with a British teenager's exile to Canada, hop- scotches through the 2020 pandemic, and moves on to the future, where a famous author, who lives on a moon colony, is visiting
Earth for a book tour. A mashup of sci-fi and historical fiction, this thought-provoking story powerfully examines where we've been and where we're going.

37 of 49

Lessons in Chemistry

lessons-in-chemistry by bonnie garmus

Elizabeth Zott is a devoted chemist who wants to be taken seriously. But in 1960s California, her ambitions are routinely roadblocked by the men around her. Through a series of surprising (and entertaining) events, she becomes the star of America's most popular cooking show, where she sparks a revolution among her housewife viewers, motivating them to reassess their lives. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a bold, smart, and often hilarious look at the value of so-called women's work.

38 of 49

Finding Me

finding me
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In Finding Me, Viola Davis writes with raw honesty about her Rhode Island childhood, which was marked by poverty and a difficult family situation, and her journey to become one of the most acclaimed actors in Hollywood today. This book is a testament to resilience, hard work, and the pow- er of owning your truth.

39 of 49

French Braid

french braid
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Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler's new novel, French Braid, proves once again that nobody can write about small family moments quite like she can. Her 24th novel focuses on the Garrett family from the 1950s to today, showing how each character's actions—the mother's pursuit of a painting career, a daughter's surprise pregnancy, a son's long absences—leave lasting marks on the others' lives.

40 of 49

The Cartographers

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
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Nell Young's father, an acclaimed cartographer, sidelined her promising career in the field when they had a falling out over a worthless old highway map. When he turns up dead in his office and Nell discovers the very same map hidden among his things, she discovers that it may actually be quite coveted and valuable—dangerously so. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd is a wildly entertaining, imaginative ride, with a cinematic plot that keeps the pages turning.

41 of 49


Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
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Karen Joy Fowler's Booth is about the family of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin. This family drama (emphasis on the drama) is set in the Maryland wilderness, where Booth's parents and many siblings lived. An epic novel, it's both the story of an eccentric household and a historical saga, zooming in on the tumultuous life of each family member as the country catapults into civil war.

42 of 49

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss

In Love by Amy Bloom
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Bestselling author Amy Bloom's In Love is the heartbreaking, intimate story of how she and her late husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, made the wrenching decision to end his life with the help of Dignitas, an assisted- dying nonprofit in Switzerland. From her point of view as caregiver and partner, Bloom writes candidly about the husband she adored, their transformative marriage, and the choices they made during an impossible time.

43 of 49

Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation

Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse
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Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation is an engrossing memoir about how author Erika Krouse broke open
the case of a college student who was attacked and raped
by football players at a party. Reluctant to investigate the incident because of her own history of abuse, Krouse soon became deeply involved in the case, which eventually made national headlines. Her personal account reads like addictive true crime, and the emotional ending makes this an unforgettable read.

44 of 49

When We Were Birds

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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The poetic prose in Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's debut novel captivates from the start, when Yejide is grappling with her dying mother's difficult legacy. In the cemetery, she meets Darwin, a gravedigger who's abandoned his Rastafarian upbringing for the sake of earning a living, and the two find hope and comfort in the least expected of places. When We Were Birds is a unique love story whose magical setting in Trinidad takes center stage.

45 of 49

Mercy Street

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh
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A Boston women's clinic is at the center of Mercy Street, the perceptive new novel by Jennifer Haigh. The story zooms in on the lives of every- day people in today's America—a counselor at the clinic, the pot dealer who helps remedy her anxiety, a loner whose only true community is online, an anti- abortion activist—and, in Haigh's expert hands, explores how we arrive at the beliefs we hold.

46 of 49

Notes on an Execution

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
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Danya Kukafka's Notes on an Execution is an intense thriller that reads like a mash-up of Law & Order and a college psych class. The fictional story of Ansel Packer, a serial killer on death row, is given a brilliant twist—it focuses on the women he affected, ultimately asking why we're drawn to crime stories about violent men. Cleverly constructed and smart, this is the kind of book you finish with a big exhale.

47 of 49


Violeta by Isabel Allende
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Violeta, the latest novel by Isabel Allende, is the sweeping tale of Violeta Del Valle, a 100-year-old woman whose life is bookended by two pandemics: the Spanish flu and Covid-19. Her saga, written so vividly that it feels like an autobiography, is a testament to resilience and courage.

48 of 49

Don't Cry for Me

Don’t Cry for Me by Daniel Black
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Don't Cry for Me by Daniel Black is a novel- in-letters told from the point of view of a Black father at the end of his life, writing to his gay son about how his own upbringing shaped his actions, for better or worse. This moving read, guaranteed to make you think about the older adults in your life, is an insightful peek into how the elderly might regard their place in a changing world.

49 of 49

The Arc

The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen
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Ursula Byrne is a successful, sharp New Yorker who learns about an exclusive matchmaking service that promises to find clients their perfect partner. Intrigued by the guarantee, she succumbs to the company's intricate "assessments." Funny and modern, The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen is like a rom-com's cooler big sister. It's as much a satire as it is a romance, roasting our (perhaps misguided) reliance on high-tech solutions for matters of the heart.

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