There's a Word for That


Read by Therese Plummer

By Sloane Tanen

Formats and Prices


This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 2, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

An Elin Hilderbrand Book Club Selection

An "engrossing, hilarious, and tender" chronicle of a wildly flawed family that comes togetherin rehab, of all placeseven as each member is on the verge of falling apart (Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project).
Winner of the 2019 NCIBA Golden Poppy Book Award for Fiction

Introducing the Kesslers: Marty, a retired LA film producer whose self-worth has been eroded by age and a late-in-life passion for opioids; his daughter Janine, former child star suffering the aftereffects of a life in the public eye; and granddaughter Hailey, the "less-than" twin sister, whose inferiority complex takes a most unexpected turn.

Nearly six thousand miles away, in London, celebrated author Bunny Small, Marty's long-forgotten first wife, has her own problems: a "preposterous" case of writer's block, a monstrous drinking habit, and a son who has fled halfway around the world to escape her.

When Marty's pill-popping gets out of hand and Bunny's boozing reaches crisis proportions, a perfect storm of dysfunction brings them all together at Directions, Malibu's most exclusive and absurd rehab center.

But for all their failings, the members of this estranged — and strange — family love each other. Rich with warmth, humor, and deep insight, There's a Word for That is a comic ode to surviving the people closest to us, navigating the perils of success, and taking one last look in the rearview mirror before mapping out the road ahead.


  • "Engrossing, hilarious, and tender, this novel tells the story of how a family breaks apart and comes together despite years of mistakes and mishaps. I couldn't put it down."
    Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
  • "Hilarious and touching."
    Wendy Goodman, New York Magazine
  • "Readers who miss The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg and the Lamberts from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections will welcome the Kesslers. With equal parts humor and empathy, There's a Word for That employs multiple narrators and a skillfully drawn cross-generational family to examine how relatives impact one another."
    Tracy Babiasz, Booklist
  • "Often uproariously funny. Tanen's skill is that you don't laugh at the characters. They know how messed up they are. All you, and they, can do is laugh at the straits they find themselves in and soldier on."
    Arlene McKanic, BookPage
  • "A big juicy beach read full of family dysfunction and Southern California sunshine, There's a Word for That joyously knits together the most frayed characters into a story you won't want to put down, even after the last page. Sloane Tanen is a witty, wonderful writer who really knows how to twist a plot as she redefines what it means to have a happy ending."
    Amy Scheibe, author of A Fireproof Home for the Bride
  • "Full of intelligence and charm...Though Tanten's delightful sense of humor infuses the plot and dialogue with sparkle..., along with the farcical situations come moments of real emotion and insight...As the characters weather tough times and deal with hurts old and new, love and humor light the way. Full of intelligence and charm."
    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • "Tanen's memorable wry humor and sharp dialogue will leave readers fully invested in the rebuilding of relationships despite years of distance, trauma and pain. Tanen's refreshing tale of a nontraditional family legacy will appeal to fans of tightly plotted dramas in the vein of Maggie Shipstead's work."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "A joy. This is the novel for anyone who has ever had family. Oh, wait---that means everyone. Sloane Tanen deliciously skewers us all while she romps through the connections we make and trample in our attempt to stay related to one another. Hilarious, wondrous, and fun."
    Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project
  • "A high-stakes, hilarious novel thatshows us how, with time, even the most intractable relationships can soften and surprise us. Sloane Tanen has a sharp eye for irony and wields an even sharper pen. I laughed loudly, and often."
    Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised
  • "That rare mix of funny and gutting, a page-turner coupled with deep emotional resonance. The characters are so richly drawn and their journeys so absorbing that by the end of the book, it felt a real loss to let them go. A funny, moving, gem of a novel."
    Melanie Abrams, author of Playing

On Sale
Apr 2, 2019
Hachette Audio

Sloane Tanen

About the Author

Sloane Tanen is the author of nine illustrated and YA books, including the bestseller Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Time of Some Chickens and Hatched: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood. There’s a Word for That is her first adult novel. Tanen graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and holds Master’s degrees from both NYU and Columbia University. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, the writer Gary Taubes, and their two sons.

Learn more about this author