Ask a Bookseller: 'The Measure'

What’s the most un-put-down-able book you’ve read recently? For Susan Kehoe of Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the answer was Nikki Erlick’s debut novel “The Measure.”

The premise for the story is simple: on the same day everywhere in the world, everyone over age 21 finds a box on their doorstep with a string inside. That string, as scientists soon determine, is the precise measure of how many days they have left to live.

Yellow book cover with white and black type
"The Measure" by Nikki Erlick
HarperCollins Publishers

The questions and decisions those strings ignite are, understandably, complex. Some people choose not to look. A political movement forms against short-stringers, who are considered to have less to lose.

Shuffling briskly among viewpoints, the novel follows eight people in the aftermath of the strings’ arrival, and Kehoe says she found herself hooked.

“I literally read it in 24 hours because I had to know,” Kehoe said.

She says the novel is sure to spark conversation at book groups.

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