How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer

Title: How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
Author: Lydia Netzer
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
ISBN: 9781250047021
Number of Pages: 352
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description: 
Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”
Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.
George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates. 
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens. 

My Review:
I didn't get around to reading Netzer's debut, Shine Shine Shine, despite several rave reviews from some of my most trusted book bloggers. I was not going to miss out this time around. (I read her novella, Everybody's Baby, and really liked it.) How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is like nothing I've read before. Netzer is able to provide two characters with opposite thoughts when they look skyward and although the characters represent science versus God, she doesn't distance the reader with their personal beliefs. Her secondary characters are anything but flat. They have strange habits, addictions, and uncommon religions. I felt that one secondary storyline should have either been flushed out more or excluded altogether and I found myself lost a few times when there was a sudden change in setting without notice. However, the overall achievement of this book outweighs what I thought were merely unpolished edges. I've read other reviews of this work and I see a lot of "quirky, nerdy, and outside-the-box" which are all true but what I really enjoyed is the lack of fluff. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a cupcake, predictable read now and then but this book is an important edition to the entire genre of women's literature. A smart novel that encompasses the macrocosms of humanity, science, religion, fate, and free will and presents the concepts in a modern microcosm daily connections.  

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review ***