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 smart-ass 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.
Praise for Mandatory Release:
“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.” --Allison Winn Sc otch, author of the New York Times bestseller Time of My Life and The Song Remains the Same
“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. “ --Matthew Norman, author of Domestic Violets
“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.” --Suzy Soro, comedian and author of Celebrity Stalker