Noah Wilson is a single man in his 30s. He knows that there is no such thing as love at first sight. And while standing in line at a Starbucks, where he first encountered Angel, he is still convinced that there is definitely no way a man falls in love at first sight. First sound, however, sends him reeling, as the sound of her voice gives him weak knees, sweaty palms, and the singular knowledge that maybe for the first time in his life he is truly, completely, helplessly in love. Underline the helplessly part, as his attempt to talk to her is filled with a level of awkwardness that should send her running in the opposite direction. But it doesn't. However, she does tell him that she's not interested in a relationship, that it's just not for her.
Devastated, Noah doesn't know what to do. But he doesn't want to give up. With the encouragement of his elderly landlady Mary and his friend and co-worker Marlon, Noah decides to give it another chance and tracks down where Angel works. Marlon explains to Noah that it takes 13 dates to find out if you're compatible with someone, but the good news is that the Starbucks conversation counts as the first date, so he's ahead of the game. During an opening at the art gallery where he works (date 2!), he gets her to agree to another date with him, where they go rock-climbing, and things go from there.
Through many adventures and near-disasters, Noah keeps trying to make Angel fall in love with him. But even if he does manage to get in all those 13 dates, is love inevitable? Is happy ever after realistic? Can a relationship really develop between these two very different people, or will Noah be left broken-hearted?
Matt Dunn's latest novel, 13 Dates, is an utterly charming surprise that sparkles with cleverness, interesting dialogue, genuinely funny situations, and well developed characters. Noah is an everyman with slightly worse luck than average, more intelligence than average, and a keen self-awareness that keeps him from becoming maudlin. I thought this novel was absolutely adorable, and it made me irritated that I'd ignored Dunn's A Day at the Office, despite seeing it everywhere. That was my mistake, and one I will not repeat. Matt Dunn is a delightful writer, and I can't wait to dive into more of his books.
Galleys for 13 Dates were provided by Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.