Possible Happiness

Fitzroy Books Titles
$18.95 - $28.95
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Expected release date is 9th Sep 2024

Eleventh-grader Jacob Wasserman is just trying to get by. Under the radar, he spends his weekends at home by himself, leaning on TV and video games to distract himself from the weight—these days we would call it depression—inside him. But he’s secretly got a quirky sense of humor, and, when he starts letting it show, he finally gets noticed. In fact, before he knows it, Jacob’s ability to keep people entertained has drawn him into a full-time social life, complete with a circle of friends, parties, and even a girlfriend. But is this newfound acceptance enough to unlock meaningful well-being? Is this entertainer even the real Jacob? Possible Happiness is a funny and tender coming-of-age story about developing the courage to face and understand yourself.

Praise for Possible Happiness

“Tender, funny, and perfectly observed, Possible Happiness explores the mind and heart of the singular Jacob Wasserman. I loved him, and his journey out of loneliness and into an increasingly complicated world is utterly captivating.”

—Jennifer Gilmore, author of If Only and The Mothers

“In Possible Happiness, David Ebenbach introduces us to Jacob Wasserman, a shy and witty sixteen-year-old trying to negotiate the treacherous terrain of high school cliques, romance, and his own demons and insecurities. Beautifully crafted, Ebenbach’s novel is a coming-of-age love letter to Philadelphia in the late 1980s and to one young man’s journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Deeply satisfying, frank, and moving.”

—Gary Eldon Peter, Minnesota Book Award winner and author of The Complicated Calculus (and Cows) of Carl Paulsen

Possible Happiness by David Ebenbach is a luminous coming-of-age novel about Jacob Wasserman, a boy who is, by turns, shy, bewildered, hopeful, and hilarious. Jacob thinks too much, feels too much, worries too much, and is deeply loveable. The book opens with the line, ‘Jacob was discovered in eleventh grade,’ and he feels like a discovery. I happily follow him through Philadelphia as he navigates the overwhelming world of his single mother’s sorrows, his own hope that people might actually like him, and the choppy seas of high school. He ventures into a troubled world with only his uncertain soul to guide him, and we are rooting for him every step of the way. I picked this book up and couldn’t put it down. Possible Happiness is a definite delight.”

—N. West Moss, author of Birdy and Flesh & Blood

“In Possible Happiness, David Ebenbach gives us the tenderly subtle story of a young loner’s socialization. Only a writer of Ebenbach’s exceptional gifts could have produced this novel that, while devoid of sensationalism and melodrama, is also deeply engaging. One cares about Jacob, his friends, and his family as one rarely cares for characters in fiction—not as protagonists or antagonists, but as vulnerable, thoughtful people. One leaves them behind with a sense of loss and regret accompanied by the wish for them to live long and happily on.”

—Peter Selgin, author of Duplicity and Life Goes to the Movies

“A tender story about learning to forgive yourself, David Ebenbach’s new novel, Possible Happiness, is an intimate, moving portrait of a boy coming of age in Philadelphia. Jacob Wasserman’s teen angst is real and relatable, as is his heartbreaking struggle to come to terms with his parents’ divorce, his place in his school’s complex ecosystem, and the ever-treacherous dating landscape. Ebenbach has given us a poignant, wrenching tale that will make adult readers grateful that high school is behind us and younger readers hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

—Clifford Garstang, author of Oliver’s Travels and The Shaman of Turtle Valley