Wellness, motherhood, and technology converge in a near future California, as three women’s seemingly innocuous decisions have further-reaching consequences than any of them could imagine in this timely, clever, and white-knuckled thriller.
In 2060, the WellPod is the latest launch from the largest tech company the world has ever seen—a fleet of floating personal paradises scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean, focused entirely on health, solitude, and relaxation. Created by an enigmatic founder who will stop at nothing to ensure her company’s success, it is the long-awaited pinnacle of wellness technology. For newly pregnant Maggie, the six-week program is the perfect chance to get away…especially since the baby isn’t her partner’s.
Noa Behar isn’t a perfect fiancée. She’s too distracted, too focused on her work in helping program the WellPod to give Maggie the attention she deserves. But when she discovers something rotten beneath WellPod’s shiny exterior—a history of faulty tech and dangerous cover-ups—she knows one thing: she’ll do whatever it takes to keep Maggie safe.
The problem? The malfunctioning WellPods are already at sea. And there’s a storm coming...
Leslie Stephens is the creator of the popular newsletter Morning Person. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Eater, and other outlets including Cupcakes & Cashmere, where she worked as an editor. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is currently earning her master’s in counseling, with specializations in addiction and ecotherapy, from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her pit-mix, Toast. You can find her at LeslieStephens.com and subscribe at MorningPersonNewsletter.com.
Why We Love It
“As these three women—Maggie, Noa, and Emmett—cross paths throughout Leslie Stephen’s carefully-spun plot, we are constantly struck by their complexity, their desires, their hopes, their ambitions, and their secrets. From the very first page, Leslie uses her background in lifestyle media and tech addiction counseling to craft a near-future world that feels like both a premonition and a warning, but with such exquisite detail it keeps you constantly surprised. As you disappear further into it, you begin to wonder just how far each woman will go to achieve the life she ultimately seeks for herself, and what that world might look like—all while asking yourself the very same thing.”
"Leslie Stephens’s near-future debut is a thrilling ride that explores what happens when we trust the tech industry with our wellbeing. Toggling between the experiences of the tech’s creators and users, You’re Safe Here is both an intimate character study during ecological crisis and a complex and deliciously readable jigsaw puzzle, fast-paced and full of surprises." —Katie M. Flynn, author of ISLAND RULE and THE COMPANIONS
"Breathtaking, unique, and urgently prescient. This queer literary sci-fi thriller asks vital questions about what it means to be human in the face of unprecedented technological advancement. Stephens' attention to detail is second to none, rendering a thoroughly believable near-future world floating on a sea of red flags." —Georgia Clark, author of ISLAND TIME
"This wildly imaginative speculative thriller kept me guessing from the first page to the last. Full of spooky technology and even spookier mommy issues, it's a sapphic rollercoaster that takes you to places you'll never expect." —Gabrielle Korn, author of YOURS FOR THE TAKING
"Leslie Stephens' debut is a gripping and unsettling novel that deftly combines elements of thriller, satire, and relationship drama. The near future of You're Safe Here is a fully realized place, one that feels close enough to touch—and far enough to fear. A pitch-perfect exploration of the creeping terror of a fully optimized life." —Jessie Gaynor, author of THE GLOW
"Part psychological thriller and part wry social commentary, You’re Safe Here is a fresh and timely debut that deftly explores the potential—and betrayals—of a world bursting with unbound technological innovation. The complicated, yearning women in the novel navigate a treacherous landscape, all while coming to terms with their own ambitions and desires, ultimately forcing readers to ask themselves: What does safety mean to me? How far would I go to achieve it? With deliciously paced storytelling sprinkled with secrets galore, Leslie Stephens’s debut promises to guide you through uncertain waters with grace and authority." —Thao Thai, author of BANYAN MOON, a #ReadwithJenna pick