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Publisher's Summary

After a long, lonely year, two people stumble toward each other in this holiday short story by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.

Social distancing came easily to Reagan. Maybe a little too easily. She’s always liked people better from afar. But Reagan doesn’t want her grandpa to be alone for Christmas this year - he’s already spent too much time on his own in 2020. So she heads back to her hometown with a dish of holiday Jell-O salad, hoping they can have a little normalcy. Hoping it will be safe...

She isn’t expecting to run into the boy next door. Mason is all grown up now. He’s considerate. He’s funny. He doesn’t mind how prickly Reagan is - he maybe even likes it. And it makes Reagan feel like her defenses are falling. She needs her defenses, doesn’t she? In a time when six feet is close enough, how long can they keep their distance?

©2021 Rainbow Rowell. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Narrator Rebecca Lowman captures common feelings of uncertainty and dread in her narration of Rowell's pandemic romance, set in Nebraska. Lowman's husky, drawn-out voice creates a memorable portrayal of Reagan (from Rowell's FANGIRL).... Lowman faithfully reproduces Reagan's pugnacious, resentful thoughts about her pandemic-ignoring extended family and her interactions with her grandfather's neighbor, Mason, who turns out to be Reagan's high school acquaintance.... Lowman captures Rowell's tone and spotlights the surreal encounter that jumpstarts Reagan and Mason's romance.” (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about If the Fates Allow

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

oh my god

rainbow rowell can make me fall in love with anyone and she did it again. another story of hers to add to my christmas reread pile along with Landline and Fangirl <3

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I needed more!

Unfortunately, this short story did nothing for me. The main character Regan you might remember from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. She was Cath’s roommate in college. She’s sarcastic, cynical and often mean. She hasn’t changed much. In If The Fates Allow it’s Christmas 2020 and Regan is going to visit her grandpa after quarantining for 2 weeks. Yes, this is a COVID romance short story.
Lots of COVID talk and lots of cussing. Very little actual romance. I feel like if anything this is a good jumping off point for a full-length novel.

Basically, Regan talks to Mason, the neighbor next door to her grandpa who apparently remembers Regan from high school, but she doesn’t remember him at all. They talk about COVID and how crazy it is and then things happen, then they don’t see each other until the next Christmas (2021). There’s a kiss, there’s Jell-O and then it’s over. I needed more!

1 person found this helpful

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cathartic

this was the most relatable listen in a cold world. I want more time with these characters.

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Convincing and realistic

This is a good believable short story, well-written, unlike many of Audible exclusives that are just junk.

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Love it

Very good update but I swear to god rainbow! You couldn’t have confirmed the Levi’s wife is Cath?!!!!!? I need you to spell it out that they are together and happy so that I can be happy!

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Christmas Feelings?

This short story did nothing to evoke Christmassy feelings. I did not like the main character. This story just hit different then what I was expecting or wanted.

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Excellent

Really cute, really short, Christmas story that takes place over Christmas 2020 and 2021 - and extremely relevant to present day (C-word protocols, quarantine, masking, etc.).

About a girl who has been paranoid about the current world and how her family hasn't been too safe, so she and her grandfather, who do take it all seriously, are able to be together, just the 2 of them, at Christmas in 2020. She and the neighbour's son, who she went to high school with, bond over jello salad on the back deck in the cold and snow, and chat.

A year later, Christmas 2021, when the world is in a much worse place, the family has been through a whole lot, but they are all together, the two meet up again on the back deck after Christmas dinner, and continue to bond over jello salad again.

I like that Rainbow Rowell was willing to write a story about the current world and how it has truly affected families and how some people were unwilling to follow protocols and got sick (or even unwilling to believe it, and spreading conspiracy theories), and how they couldn't properly spend holidays together, and how others safely could, and the impact the past year has had - all in this nice, 70 minute little snippet of 2 friends chatting over some shared jello!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A short story

Rebecca you read this very well but you need to work on voices if you are going to do them otherwise please just read it. The story is just a bit predictable I don’t know if it is because we are living it in real life or what. Overall it was an ok story.

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2.5 Stars

Covid-19, social distancing, and 2 kisses. That sums up this entire book. The majority of the story was about Covid and what it is like to live in a pandemic. The sub plot was a connection made through shared covid feelings. Then they kissed. Twice. The End.

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nice little getaway for Christmas

this is a sweet story that captures Christmas 2020 and 2021. The pandemic makes us all on alert but family is important. we all want someone who sees us. It would be better with less cussing, but it captures the nation's divide well (especially Nebraska 😂)

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  • Les
  • 12-24-21

A wonderful Christmas short story in the time of COVID

I thought this was wonderful. I loved getting a peek into the future of Reagan. But most of all I loved how well this captured what it’s like to be vulnerable in this pandemic, I have never felt more seen in a piece of writing and for that I am truly greatful.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Clara Q
  • 11-30-21

meh

The narrator was great but this story is awful. I can't say I wanted to read a book preaching about covid and vaccinations.