All This Could Be Different

Finalist, National Book Awards 2022 for Fiction

book cover Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different
ISBN 9780593489123
Viking Books / Penguin Random House
author photo of Sarah Thankam Mathews. (Photo credit: Dondre Stuetley)
Sarah Thankam Mathews

Sarah Thankam Mathews is the author of All This Could Be Different, which was shortlisted for the 2022 National Book Award in Fiction. It was also a New York Times Editor's Choice and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Vogue, Vulture, Los Angeles Times, TIME, Slate, and Buzzfeed. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women—soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.

But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It’s then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.

A beautiful and capacious novel rendered in singular, unforgettable prose, All This Could Be Different is a wise, tender, and riveting group portrait of young people forging love and community amidst struggle, and a moving story of one immigrant’s journey to make her home in the world.

Judges Citation

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews is a powerful debut novel about friendship, queer love, and succeeding as a young adult in the working world. Mathews skillfully dramatizes a story of a young immigrant in difficult and uncertain times in prose elegantly rendered with precision and detail. All This Could Be Different is a funny, propulsive, and emotionally-charged gem of a book.


Sarah Thankam Mathews at the 2022 National Book Awards Finalist Reading