Sparkling Strawberry Jam for Everything’s Fine

Welcome to this stop on the TLC Book Tour for Everything’s Fine by Cecilia Rabess.   I received a free review copy from the publisher for this stopover.  I assure you I was not paid for this review and all opinions, thoughts and rants are completely my own.

About the book:

• Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 6, 2023)
• Hardcover: 336 pages

They say love is all you need…

“Extraordinarily brave…plain funny as hell, too.” —Zakiya Dalila Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Black Girl

When Jess lands a job as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, she’s less than thrilled to learn she’ll be on the same team as Josh, her preppy, white, conservative sparring partner from college. Josh loves playing the devil’s advocate and is just…the worst.

But when Jess finds herself the sole Black woman on the floor, overlooked and underestimated, it’s Josh who shows up for her in surprising—if imperfect—ways. Before long, an unlikely friendship—one tinged with undeniable chemistry—forms between the two. A friendship that gradually, and then suddenly, turns into an electrifying romance that shocks them both.

Despite their differences, the force of their attraction propels the relationship forwards, and Jess begins to question whether it’s more important to be happy than right. But then it’s 2016, and the cultural and political landscape shifts underneath them. And Jess, who is just beginning to discover who she is and who she has the right to be, is forced to ask herself what she’s willing to compromise for love and whether, in fact, everything’s fine.

A stunning debut that introduces Cecilia Rabess as a blazing new talent, Everything’s Fine is a painfully funny, poignant, heartfelt novel that doesn’t just ask will they, but…should they?

Cecilia Rabess © Amyrose Stephen-RabessAbout the author:

Cecilia Rabess previously worked as a data scientist at Google and as an associate at Goldman Sachs. Her nonfiction has been featured in McSweeneys, FiveThirtyEight, Fast Company, and FlowingData, among other places. Everything’s Fine is her debut novel.

What I thought…

This book has sparked a lot of interest, good and bad.  I found it hard to get into the book and I disagree with how it classified.  It’s not a romance.  It’s not a comic romp.   It’s definitely not “funny as hell.”

It is a treatise about the importance of finding one’s self.  I had to remind myself many times during my reading that the protagonist, Jess, is only twenty-five.  I am sure Jess’ older future-self would not find herself in this relationship or in some of those early career paths.

Ultimately, I did enjoy the novel and during the second half of the book, I couldn’t put it down because I wanted some resolution.

The ending is ironic and bittersweet and also speaks to the times we live in (or lived through).

The Food…

There was a bit of food mentioned in the novel but I honestly didn’t keep my normal list.  From the time I received the novel and saw the cover, I knew that I wanted to make something with strawberries.   Jess is allergic to strawberries and that becomes a central theme to her relationship to Josh, her boyfriend.

I’ve had two bottles of cheap champagne in the fridge FOREVER so I decided to make some jam with it.

Sparkling Strawberry Jam


This is a great twist on regular strawberry jam.


  • 4  c. crushed strawberries (about 2 lbs.)*
  • 1 c. Brute Rose (or other sparkling wine)
  • 1/4 c. bottled lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 1 (1.75 oz.) pkg. powdered fruit pectin
  • 7 c. white sugar


  1. Sterilize 6 half-pint jars, lids and rings.  Prepare canner as well.
  2. While jars are sterilizing, combine strawberries, sparkling wine, lemon juice, almond extract and pectin in a nonreactive pan; bring to a boil. Stir in sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture returns to a boil. Cook until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Ladle jam into hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a sterilized knife around the insides of the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims and put on lids.  Screw on rings on tightly.
  4. Place jars in boiling water in canner.  Jars should be covered by at least 1 inch. Bring back to a rolling boil, cover, and process for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the jars from the canner and let rest for 12 to 24 hours.

*I use a potato masher to mash the berries initially as I measure them and then continue to use it to smash and stir as the jam cooks.

Yield: 6 half pints

While the taste with this recipe is smashing, as of this post, it has still not set up.  Be aware that this might actually be Sparkling Strawberry Syrup.    Also note, I used the rest of my strawberries to revisit an old recipe, Strawberry Muffins.  2014-03-13 19.12.55

Please check out what others thought on the TLC tour schedule:

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2 comments to Sparkling Strawberry Jam for Everything’s Fine

  • This is great, thank you. The book has generated so much discussion and I think it will be good for book clubs. Your recipes always look amazing!!

  • mae

    Too bad your jam didn’t set up. I don’t make jams or jellies, but this sounds like a fun recipe. Too bad the sparkling bubbles would all go away when it’s boiled.
    best, mae at