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About The Book

“Does love conquer all? Does it now? Did it ever? These are questions Cecilia Rabess asks in her nimble, discerning debut…The ending of Everything’s Fine is one of the best I’ve read in years.” —The New York Times

A painfully funny, painfully real love story for our time that doesn’t just ask will they, but…should they?

Jess is a senior in college, ambitious but aimless, when she meets Josh. He’s a privileged preppy in chinos, ready to inherit the world. She’s not expecting to inherit anything.

A year later, they’re both working at the same investment bank. And when Jess finds herself the sole Black woman on the floor, overlooked and underestimated, Josh shows up for her in surprising—if imperfect—ways. Before long, an unlikely friendship forms, tinged with undeniable chemistry. It gradually, and then suddenly, turns into an electrifying romance that shocks them both.

Despite their differences, the force of their attraction propels the relationship forward. But as the cultural and political landscape shifts underneath them, Jess is forced to consider if their disagreements run deeper than she can bear, what she’s willing to compromise for love, and whether, in fact, everything’s fine.

A stunning debut about “a love affair that turns inferno” (People), that is “extraordinarily brave…funny as hell,” (Zakiya Dalilah Harris) Cecilia Rabess’s Everything’s Fine is an incisive and moving portrait of a young woman who is just beginning to discover who she is and who she has the right to be. It is also a “subtle, ironic, wise, state-of-the-nation novel” (Nick Hornby) that asks big questions about the way we live now and “whether our choices stop and end with us” (The New York Times).

Reading Group Guide

by Cecilia Rabess

Discussion Questions

1.What was your initial impression of Jess? Of Josh? How did your impression of the characters change over the course of the book?

2.How does the relationship between the two main characters evolve over time?

3.Jess and Josh have very different relationships with money; how do their relationships with money affect each of their choices at work, in relationships (with family, friends, romantically), and in other areas of their lives?

4.Jess struggles with defining what it means to be successful. How does her definition of success change over the course of the book? How would the different people in her life—Josh, her father, her friends—define success?

5.The novel is set partially in the world of investment banking and finance. How does this setting contribute to the themes and conflicts in the book?

6.Are the characters’ political identities portrayed in a realistic way?

7.Jess is a Black character who moves through the world in predominantly white spaces. She grew up in Nebraska, has mainly white friends, and then, after graduating, works at companies that aren’t very diverse. As Jess evolves and matures over the course of the book, how do you think her relationship with her Blackness changes?

8.Jess was never fully open with her father about the details of her life in New York. If her father had lived to see Jess at the end of the book—and if Jess had filled him in on her life—what do you think he’d have made of various aspects of her life? Do you think his assessment would have aligned with Jess’s expectation of said assessment?

9.Everything’s Fine is not a traditional “will they, won’t they” narrative, but more a “should they, shouldn’t they,” story. Do you think the author takes a clear position on whether Jess and Josh should or shouldn’t be together? Do you think they should or shouldn’t be together?

10.Do you think Jess and Josh’s relationship will survive? Where do you see them—as individuals or as a couple—in the years after the book ends?

11.After finishing the book, how would you categorize it? Did the book—and the love story within it—align with your expectations? In which ways—if any—did the book subvert your expectations?

About The Author


Cecilia Rabess previously worked as a data scientist at Google and as an associate at Goldman Sachs. Her nonfiction has been featured in McSweeneysFiveThirtyEightFast Company, and FlowingData, among other places. Everything’s Fine is her debut novel.

About The Reader

Why We Love It

“At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Everything’s Fine is one of the best novels I’ve read in years. I fell so much in love with Jess (and, to our surprise, with Josh) that I knew I had to acquire this book.

Cecilia Rabess’s debut has it all: a one-of a kind character in the form of the brilliant and very funny Jess, who is fine-tuning her moral compass in the midst of one of the most divisive times in our history; a breathtaking romance between polar opposites who we’d never thought we’d root for, but who we truly shed tears (of laughter and of sadness over); and rich social commentary on our polarized times and current culture war. At a time when many of us are in our separate silos, when we can’t imagine having a civil conversation with someone on the opposite side of the political aisle, we were shocked to find the romance at the heart of this novel not only believable, but also heart-shattering. But ultimately, Everything’s Fine is a smart, hilarious, emotionally resonant look at how much we can (and should) sacrifice for love.”

—Carina G., Senior Editor, on Everything’s Fine

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (June 6, 2023)
  • Runtime: 10 hours and 55 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797155876

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Raves and Reviews

"Benton creates two distinct characters in Jess and Josh, and captures their personalities with finesse. When the dialogue starts to sizzle, Benton deftly narrates in a tone of intimacy. As Jess and Josh come together, part, and then regroup, Benton keeps up nicely."

– AudioFile Magazine

“Everything's Fine poses incisive questions about love, identity, and the countless ways these things can both bruise and bolster one another. Cecilia Rabess has crafted an extraordinarily brave debut that's painfully real--but plain funny as hell, too.”—ZAKIYA DALILA HARRIS, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Black Girl

"Could this be the bittersweet, sexy, painful, fully embodied romance for our tumultuous American decade? Cecilia Rabess brings a microscope, a scalpel, a mordant sense of humor, a virtuosic feel for scene, and a tender heart to the will-they-won't-they of Jess and Josh. Everything's Fine is a romance, but it's also an astute analysis of elite workplaces, politics, and social mores, and a serious exploration of the way that two people can move so differently through the very same space. I devoured this novel, a bold, singular debut from an extraordinary writer."—LYDIA KIESLING, author of The Golden State

"This blurb could be a string of heart-eyes emojis. Everything’s Fine manages to be funny, felt, and riveting, all at once—a story for anyone who’s ever fallen in love that’s less than straightforward. Cecilia Rabess is equal parts comedian and sorcerer, reminding us that none of us are (only) as we appear."RACHEL KHONG, author of Goodbye,Vitamin

"A subtle, ironic, wise, state-of-the-nation novel, sharp enough to draw blood, hidden inside a moving, intimate, sincere and very real love story--or vice versa. Either way, it's a wonderful book by a fantastic new talent."--NICK HORNBY, New York Times bestselling author of High Fidelity

“I could not put this brilliant book down. Rabess’s writing is so sharp and funny, and her observations so attuned to our times, that the pages absolutely flew. Everything’s Fine is the love story our world needs right now, and Rabess deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for giving it to us.”—RACHEL BEANLAND, author of Florence Adler Swims Forever and The House Is On Fire

“I love this timely and clever debut! Cecilia Rabess is a skilled storyteller who offers up perfect observations and delightful details about working in finance, being in your 20s, and navigating romance. This book is both entertaining and wise, a page-turner that explores race, class, sex, and ambition and how love and compromise work (or don’t) in our current political climate.”—JENNIFER CLOSE, bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses

“I could not put this book down. Everything's Fine is smart, sexy and surprising, with an ending that truly made me gasp. I loved it!”—NORA MCINERNY, author of Bad Vibes Only and host of Terrible,Thanks for Asking

“A stunning debut” — MEG MASON, bestselling author of Sorrow and Bliss

“A brilliantly observed novel about what it means to lose yourself as a young woman. So funny but also incredibly true”— NINA STIBBE, author of Love, Nina

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