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Mandatory Release

Mandatory Release

4.3 12
by Jess Riley

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"With appeal for fans of Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perrotta, and Laurie Notaro, this snarky mashup of Girls and Oz is so painfully honest you might think you're reading a memoir-except the author isn't a smartass guy in a wheelchair who works in a prison."

Recently paralyzed in a car accident, thirty-year-old Graham Finch spends his days trying to rehabilitate a


"With appeal for fans of Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perrotta, and Laurie Notaro, this snarky mashup of Girls and Oz is so painfully honest you might think you're reading a memoir-except the author isn't a smartass guy in a wheelchair who works in a prison."

Recently paralyzed in a car accident, thirty-year-old Graham Finch spends his days trying to rehabilitate a caseload of unruly inmates and his nights on one bad date after another, attempting to rehabilitate his heart-

-until his high school crush Drew Daniels walks through the prison gates one hot summer morning. On the run from a painful past that's nearly crushed her faith in love, Drew is a new teacher at Lakeside Correctional. Graham, smitten all over again, tries to redirect his unrequited feelings. But when your heart keeps looking back, it's not easy to turn it forward.

Amidst escalating violence at work, Drew is forced to confront her secrets, find a way to forgive old sins, and learn how to listen to her heart and her head when it comes to men. Graham must also learn to make peace with his own past. Together they realize that if you're going to save yourself, sometimes the best way to do it is by saving someone else first. If only finding their way to one another was easier than working with convicted felons.

Loaded with twisted humor and pathos, MANDATORY RELEASE is a darkly comic look at friendship, forgiveness, and love. A story about broken people putting themselves back together. People who learn that no matter what you lock up-a person, a secret, or your heart-sooner or later, everything must be released.

Editorial Reviews

Author, Still Life with Husband - Lauren Fox
“… sparkling wit and humor on every page. I found myself demanding that friends and family members listen as I read passages out loud, wanting to share her clever jokes and turns of phrase. But it's what lies underneath the deceptively lighthearted story that has really stuck with me. Mandatory Release is, above all, a novel about loss and longing, a story about two damaged hearts trying to heal. I read it in one long, delicious gulp, but I'll be thinking about it for weeks."
NYT Bestselling Author, Time of My Life - Allison Winn Scotch
“Bursting with heart, humor, tenderness and characters you won't forget, Jess Riley's Mandatory Release isn't just a perfect summer read, it's mandatory.”
Author, Domestic Violets - Matthew Norman
“Mandatory Release is full of wit, insight, authenticity, and really good writing. But what makes this book so compelling is the affection Jess Riley has for her characters. It’s alive on every page, and it’s utterly infectious. “
Author, Celebrity Stalker - Suzy Soro
“Jess Riley is a masterful storyteller and in Mandatory Release she weaves flawed, improbable, and hilarious characters into a setting so unusual that you'll kick yourself for laughing at other people's misfortunes. Oh well.”

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Jess Riley's experiences teaching in a prison inspired MANDATORY RELEASE. Her debut novel was DRIVING SIDEWAYS, a Target bestseller now in its fourth printing, published by Random House in 2008. Jess lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with her husband and crazy Cairn Terrier in a 130-year-old farmhouse. When she's not writing novels, she works as a Grant Writer for school districts nationwide. Vegetarian, gardener, butterfly rancher, movie snob, niece and nephew-spoiler, all-around smart ass who cried at the end of Frankenweenie.

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Mandatory Release 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the dialogue made me actually laugh out loud. You know Drew and Graham will end up together, but it was engrossing enough to keep reading to find out how it happens.
clejtd More than 1 year ago
The You Bought It, You Read It Mission continues to knock book after book off my To Be Read list. My newest notch on my bookshelf belongs to Jess Riley. Her book, Mandatory Release, was actually a gift given to me. She was having a giveaway on her fan page and lucky me! I won! I never win anything. I am no stranger to Jess Riley. I discovered her through Indie Author Land. The IAD blog does great little interviews with Indie writers to help get them exposure. The same time frame that my interview for Letters To Young Chong premiered, so did her appearance for All The Lonely People. Mandatory Release has chapters that alternate between the point of view of the two main characters, Drew and Graham. These two know each other from way back and they have now been reunited … in prison! This is a little less dramatic than what you expect. They both have jobs at a prison. The newly hired Drew has just returned to her home town to recover from a breakup with the mysterious Ben. I say mysterious not because he’s an international spy, but because the vagueness of his existence. You know they were in love but something must have went terribly awry. I found myself quite often with this book clutched in my sweaty fist, shaking it violently and screaming "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO DREW AND BEN?????” Don’t worry, readers! You will find out. Discovering the secretive details of this love lost left me with a crazy feeling. Suddenly I realized that I had been so obsessed with Drew’s past and not focused enough on her future. There was less than fifty pages left when the truth came out. Less than fifty pages for things to start tying together or maybe for things to fall apart. Now I was shaking the book and yelling “GET IT TOGETHER, DREW!!!!” *Disclaimer: this is why people think readers are crazy. Always yelling a fictional characters. I loved this book and I do love Jess Riley. I recommend you grab a copy of one of her novels. Hopefully you’ll enjoy her humor with a bite as much as I do!
phillybean More than 1 year ago
The books started out slow but picked up in the middle and I did enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But I do not understand why the "F" word is so liberally used. Not necessary to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeenBlurb More than 1 year ago
Mandatory Release is a darkly humorous tale of love, tragedy, hope, and second chances. Graham and Drew are just awesome characters that will really tug at your heart strings. Graham has bad luck dating and Drew has pretty much told dating to go to hell! When these two meet again the thoughts and actions are just great. A lot of times I find my self saying, “Poor Graham!” The secrets and heartache that the characters try to hide and are constantly running from rear their ugly heads. They must fight to have a second chance at life and love. There are sexy and steamy moments, downright hilarious moments, and suspenseful moments that make you sit on the edge of your seat! I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Drew Daniels has had a major life change and has returned home to put the pieces back together while at the same time a former high school friend is continuing to deal with a life change of his own.  The story is set in such a different setting and I loved it - a prison, but the main characters aren't prisoners, but are employed there and this job brings with it different obstacles and interesting things.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book deserves to be at the top of any reading list. I was truly saddened for this book to end. Jess writes in a way that makes me feel like I've actually become friends with the characters. This heart, combined with her hilarious sense of humor, makes this book a must read. 
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Graham Finch and Drew Daniels are high school friends who had crushes on each other but never acted on them.  Many years later Graham is working in a state prison helping rehabilitate prisoners.  He is also paralyzed from a car accident and trying to cope and adjust to his new lifestyle.   Drew is a teacher running from her past and ends up working in the same prison as Graham.  Feelings start to grow but both Graham and Drew have to make peace with their pasts and figure out how to move forward. The setting of this book was great, Yes, it was a prison, but the main characters were trying to help the inmates become successful when they were finally to be released.  The prison also showed some of the truths of prison life.  The dangers of working where criminals were housed and how they interacted with each other seemed so real that I felt like I was working right beside Graham and Drew. I loved the layout of Mandatory Release.  The point of view’s alternated chapters were fun and easy to follow.  Who’s story I enjoyed more?  That is hard to say.  I enjoyed Graham being so positive and not being poor me as many newly paralyzed people would be.   Drew’s chapters were different.   There were many times that I was in awe of her strength in dealing with her life.   Her long term relationship with Ben kept me reading having to know what happened and if that relationship would ever be in her past. With the humor and life like story line I will definitely recommend this novel.   Jess Riley is also added to my must read authors list.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I marked my calendar months ago for the release of Jess Riley’s new novel MANDATORY RELEASE, and it did not disappoint!  I couldn’t put it down, and at the same time hated to see it end. The plot and setting of MANDATORY RELEASE are unique and yet believable.  I had to stop myself from looking ahead to find out what had happened between Drew and her ex-husband – and when I finally found out, again, I was not disappointed.  I have worked as a teacher and a music therapist with students and clients with special needs and a wide variety of backgrounds and psychiatric and physical diagnoses.  Jess creates a story and characters that are truly authentic.  Her characters come alive and connect deeply with my own quirky thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Jess also comes alive through the delightful additions at the end of her books.  While reading MANDATORY RELEASE, I could have been fooled into believing she was actually a man – the first person writing for Graham versus the third person for Drew is both fun and engaging.  However, in her comments and playlist at the end of the book, we get to hear a voice that is uniquely Jess.  I immediately bought all the tracks included in the playlist and have loved listening and feeling like her characters are still alive and a part of my life through the music.  
sublimestars More than 1 year ago
Jess Riley has got skills, y'all. In all seriousness - I have read all of her published books and what I've found in every story are fully developed characters. It feels like she's writing about real people, someone you could meet on the street or at a dog park. You almost feel as if you're getting a peek into their soul while you're reading. Another thing I love about her work is that it is unique. Her books aren't rehashing ideas that have been done a million times before. Mandatory Release is set in a medium-security prison... how many books have you read lately with a setting like that? Not to mention there's a secret in the book that you don't find out until towards the end - so the whole "What happened?" aspect makes you want to devour the whole book so you can find out! I have to admit that there were times where this book was hard for me to read, but it was more on a personal level. My little brother is in the Wisconsin prison system - heroin addiction. He spent about a year in medium-security and is now at a minimum-security prison. He has been there for a year and a half, once he completes three years of his sentence he can participate in an early release program. So I know what it's like to go through metal detectors, I actually bought a bra without under-wire and called it my "prison bra" because that was the only time I wore the thing. Prisoners are often stereotyped but the stereotypes are generally true. It hurt me a little to read about it but at the same time it was honest. Now I'm getting off-track, but the point is that her books make you FEEL. On an emotional level and in my case on a personal level. I could relate to Drew when she walked down those halls because I've been there. I could relate to the way Graham felt when he saw Drew because we've all had a huge crush at some point in our lives. To finish this up and lighten the mood I also need to add that I LOVE the humor and snark that are in Riley's books. There is always something to make me laugh out loud. Last night I took a picture of a line in the book and sent it to my boyfriend, who called me after his work shift just laughing and saying "That was awesome!". How many books make you do things like that? Jess Riley also made references to Xbox, Sublime and Veronica Mars. I think that means we could be besties.
begmuffin More than 1 year ago
Jess Riley is an undiscovered treasure. This book broke my heart and kept me reading. I can't recommend it highly enough.