A young man rethinks his life choices after a chance meeting with a mysterious woman at a music festival.
Jasper “Jass” Dietrich is a lucky young man. He’s got a beautiful and intelligent girlfriend, Carrie, a promising job all lined up for him in his father’s company, and a solid college record behind him as he prepares to graduate. But when he and his roommate Greg go west to a music festival at Portland, he has a brief encounter with a young music blog writer named Annabelle, whose free spirit and questioning mind enthrall him. Neither of them think they will ever see the other again – but both are clearly touched. Jass even goes so far as to investigate a job in New York that will lose him his safe haven in his dad’s firm and will also inevitably separate him from Carrie. But is he really ready to throw away everything he’s got going for him on the basis of one brief encounter?
MISS MEZZANINE is a touching look at a brief turning point that could make all the difference in more than one young life. Annabelle’s perspective, presented via her blog posts, reveals her to be a thoughtful, insightful young woman with the heart of a true romantic. Despite Carrie’s status as the “safe” girlfriend, she is not made to appear entirely dull compared to Annabelle – she has ambitions, personality, and courage of her own, even if her goals don’t mesh with Jass’s new ideas. Greg is a good foil for Jass, too, serving as the voice of everything he’s leaving behind and offering a different perspective on his choices.
MISS MEZZANINE does not have much complexity in the way of plot – a bit more conflict and a bit less predictability might help, and might offer some opportunity to expand the book a little. As it is now, it appears to be merely a quick snapshot of a single choice, which may be the author’s intent – but rather like Annabelle’s intent to leave her encounter with Jay at a kiss rather than “cheapen” it by allowing it to go farther, it leaves a bit of regret behind. Smith’s writing is good enough to let readers take the story further in their imaginations as they see fit, and he may prefer to leave it there – but a sequel, if well done, might just be an enhancement rather than a cheapening of the original story.
MISS MEZZANINE is a lovely little book about the potential of turning points, romantic whims, and the willingness to be open to change and new experiences.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader