Gravity Is the Thing

Gravity Is the Thing

by Jaclyn Moriarty


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The adult debut from bestselling, award-winning young adult author Jaclyn Moriarty—a frequently hilarious, brilliantly observed novel—that follows a single mother’s heartfelt search for greater truths about the universe, her family and herself.

“I loved this book. . . .Funny, heartbreaking and clever with a mystery at its heart.” -Jojo Moyes

“With an eye as keen for human idiosyncrasies as Miranda July’s, and a sense of humor as bright and surprising as Maria Semple’s, this is a novel of pure velocity.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Twenty years ago, Abigail Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing one day before her sixteenth birthday, never to be seen again. That same year, she began receiving scattered chapters in the mail of a self-help manual, the Guidebook, whose anonymous author promised to make her life soar to heights beyond her wildest dreams.

The Guidebook’s missives have remained a constant in Abi’s life—a befuddling yet oddly comforting voice through her family’s grief over her brother’s disappearance, a move across continents, the devastating dissolution of her marriage, and the new beginning as a single mother and café owner in Sydney.

Now, two decades after receiving those first pages, Abi is invited to an all-expenses paid weekend retreat to learn “the truth” about the Guidebook. It’s an opportunity too intriguing to refuse. If Everything is Connected, then surely the twin mysteries of the Guidebook and a missing brother must be linked?

What follows is completely the opposite of what Abi expected––but it will lead her on a journey of discovery that will change her life––and enchant readers. Gravity Is the Thing is a smart, unusual, wickedly funny novel about the search for happiness that will break your heart into a million pieces and put it back together, bigger and better than before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062883735
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 82,827
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Jaclyn Moriarty is the bestselling author of novels for young adults including Feeling Sorry for Celia, The Year of Secret Assignments, and the Colours of Madeleine trilogy. She has been the recipient of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, the Queensland Literary Award, and the Aurealis Award for Fantasy. Jaclyn grew up in Sydney, lived in England, the United States, and Canada, and now lives in Sydney again. She is very fond of chocolate, blueberries, ice-skating and sleep.

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Gravity Is the Thing: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Ms-Hurst 26 days ago
I started out very interested in this book and this group of people. Abigail goes on a weekend trip to learn why she has been receiving chapters of The Guidebook for 20 years. To finally hear "the truth". But that really isn't the point of the story, the finding out. That happens pretty quickly. And that is what makes you want to read. But then the story kind of meanders. Overall, it is a good story. But parts just became so tedious, the self help books and lessons. The part I most wanted to know was wrapped up almost as an afterthought. There was something good there. It was just buried a little.
LlamaJen 4 months ago
This book was definitely a surprise and not what I was expecting. I have mixed feelings about the story. I loved the mystery behind what happened to Robert and I liked reading about Abigail and learning about her life when she was younger and then when she was married. Unfortunately, I hated Tuesday flying lessons and everything about the Guidebook. I could not get into the Guidebook chapters. Were Rufus and Isabelle crazy??? It's a little strange ( A LOT strange) to send teenagers whom they didn't know, weird messages which they called the Guidebook and tell them not to tell anyone. It screams crazy. I would have been very disappointed when the truth behind everything was revealed on that island retreat. I was disappointed when I read it. It was just so absurd and then they met on Tuesdays and pretended everything was normal. Was not a fan of all the characters, my least favorite being Oscar. He was supposed to be four but he acted more like a two year old. the best part about the book was finally finding out what happened to Robert. I do look forward to reading more books by the author because I loved "Feeling Sorry for Celia" and "The Year of Secret Assignments." This book just wasn't the right fit for me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from HarperCollins Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
rcahill 11 months ago
Jaclyn Moriarty successfully makes the transition from YA to Adult Fiction with her novel, Gravity is the Thing. The book examines dealing with grief, change, and the unknown to follow. The main character, Abi, seems to have a life she enjoys. She has a young son, her own "happiness" cafe, and friends and family to support her. But Abi is searching for her own identity and answers to the losses she has endured. Abit was in her teens when she lost her brother, who was also her best friend. She has spent 20 years hoping that her brother ran off and started a new life, but knowing he wouldn't just leave her. Then her seemingly compatible marriage dissolves and she discovers she will be a single mother. Throughout all of these experiences, she has been receiving The Guidebook, one chapter at a time. This mysterious tome promises and provides a through line in Abi's existence and now, 20 years later, she has been invited to a retreat to discover why The Guidebook has been coming to her for all these years and the truth behind its purpose. This novel is a fresh and quirky look at dealing with the ever-changing landscape of life. Check out my other reviews at
brf1948 11 months ago
You can not be blue, can't be depressed while reading the special novel, set in Sidney, Australia and peopled with folks you would love to know. Abigail is a special sister, a supportive daughter, a good wife, and an indulgent mom. When the cards fall against her, she antis up and deals again. Self-pity is not on her agenda, though we of lesser internal fortitude would submit to it. I enjoyed the way the Guidebooks lead us through the world as Abi knows it, and help her find diversity and challenges along the way that she would not have otherwise been exposed to. Oscar is an intrepid soul and the key to the heart of Abi. And the flying lessons are what holds this group of humans together, keeps the spirit of joy at the forefront of their lives. This is a novel you will not want to miss. I am pleased to recommend it to friends and family. It is a book that creates a deep well of satisfaction in your heart. And the need to look at air currents with a different attitude. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Jaclyn Moriarty, and HarperCollins Publishers. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
Rachel Bennett 11 months ago
“Eventually, you will find the kindness to forgive your former self for hope, and for mistakes.” What a lovely, quirky read from Australian author Jaclyn Moriarty (yes, she is the younger sister of Liane Moriarty). Our main character Abigail is a woman desperate for truth and answers. She doesn't know what happened to her younger brother 20 years ago, she doesn't know why her marriage fell apart, she doesn't know how to actually be happy (even though she ironically runs a business called The Happiness Café), and she definitely doesn't know why she has received random chapters from a self-help book ("The Guidebook") in the mail for the last 20 years. All of these doubts and questions are pried open when she is invited to an all expenses paid retreat weekend where she is promised the "truth" about The Guidebook. The "truth" is so wholly unexpected it sends Abigail off on a journey that she never asked for or could have predicted. Every character we meet in this novel is a wacky delight. With a knack for writing characters that are unique and quirky but not caricaturish that I would equate to the writing of someone like Maria Semple, I found myself consistently laughing out loud at the thoughts, actions, and speech of our various cast of characters. Abi's son Oscar is adorable and hilarious in the way only 4 years old can be. Abi's inner monologues and musings on life were poignant and entertaining. “Life! Honestly! It’s just a series of rebukes from the universe for judgmental thoughts.” Wilbur is sympathetic, albeit seemingly insane. I found myself wishing most of the people in this book would be characters in my own life! The answers to the questions Abi has been asking eventually come, with lots of twists and turns along the way. The way that every plot line and theme comes together at the end of the book is absolutely beautiful. Abi has been looking for happiness the whole time, and eventually she realizes that it might just be found in the grace found in a healthy relationship, both with others and ultimately yourself.
SheTreadsSoftly 11 months ago
Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty is a highly recommended novel about a woman's search for universal truths and happiness. Abigail (Abi) Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing twenty years ago. It was the day before her sixteenth birthday, a day the two had a special on-going birthday ritual. The two were very close but she has heard nothing from him since that day and he never shared his plans with her. She has been looking for him ever since and his absence from her life has had an lasting impact. That same year, she began receiving chapters in the mail of a self-help manual called The Guidebook and has received the chapters ever since. The Guidebook has been a constant through her life as she went through various changes and trials. Now, twenty years later, Abi has been invited along with twenty-five other recipients of The Guidebook to an all-expenses paid weekend to Taylor Island, off the southeast coast of Australia by Wilbur, the son of the authors. She hopes to learn the truth behind The Guidebook. Sure, she's intrigued, but it is also a vacation. Her mother is watching her four-year-old son, Oscar and her Happiness Café can run itself in her absence. What The Guidebook was purposing to teach the recipients is surprising and surrealistic, but perhaps Abi does have something to discover through the lessons. This is a rather quirky, amusing, diverting novel that tells Abi's story, past and present, through first and second person points-of-view in chapters that vary widely in length. Chapters from The Guidebook are interspersed throughout. Abi is a well-developed character and her journey through life is filled with wit, humor, stress, heart-break, and problems. She does learn some unexpected lessons as she further explores what the authors of The Guidebook intended and looks into the sometimes absurd advice from other self-help books in her search for happiness. Moriarty is a YA author and this is a successful first foray into adult fiction. She does an excellent job telling Abi's story. The dramatic difference in the length of chapters along with switching between past and present and the inclusion of chapters from The Guidebook to tell Abi's story is used quite effectively by Moriarty. Above all, the characters are searching for a connection, something to complete them and provide the happiness and fulfillment that seems to be missing in their lives. Readers won't learn why Abi and the other recipients of The Guidebook were chosen until almost the end, but it makes sense. The answer of what happened to Robert is also provided for closure. Basically, this is a novel about a woman's life and her quest for answers, happiness, and fulfillment. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.