Don’t Make Me Turn this Life Around

A witty and unexpected novel about a woman trying to keep her family vacation—and yes, her life—from going south.

Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camille Pagan

Her plans for the perfect family vacation just went south.

It’s been thirteen years since doctors declared Libby Ross-Velasquez a goner. Yet here she is—cancer-free. So why doesn’t she feel more alive?

Sure, Libby’s husband, Shiloh, has been distant. One of their daughters has a serious health condition. And her father’s death hovers over Libby like a rain cloud. Still, this eternal optimist knows she’s the winner of the existential lottery.

But when her forced cheer isn’t enough to keep her family from catching her blahs, she decides to fly them all to Vieques. The Puerto Rican island is where she and Shiloh fell in love—and where she decided to fight for her life after her cancer diagnosis. Where better to put their problems into perspective?

Then a tropical storm strikes. Libby pretends everything’s fine, even as she fears she’s doomed her family. What she can’t see is that the worst disaster they’ve faced may be the best thing that ever happened to them. But first, they have to get through it.


Don't Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camille Pagan

Praise for Don't Make Me Turn this Life Around:

An impressively crafted and deftly written novel, “Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around” by author Camille Pagan is an inherently compelling read from first page to last. With having a special appeal to readers who appreciate humor and family dynamics.

—Midwest Book Review

A powerful story of family and hope—have tissues at the ready!

—Woman’s World

The Amazon charts bestselling author Camille Pagán writes with depth and soul about what makes a family whole.

—Good Morning America

This is a sequel to the great book Life and Other Near-Death Experiences and a very welcome one indeed. It’s a character driven story about family and being open and honest and dealing with whatever life throws at you. You follow these characters and root for them the whole way as you read it.

—Red Carpet Crash

Camille Pagán quips a funny yet oh-so-relatable narrative.


Pagán combines realistic midlife concerns with likable characters, showing that perfection is an illusion and that it’s the difficult times that truly bring us together.


Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around is a delightful blend of humor and tension. Poignant, layered, and achingly real, we’re treated to a true-to-life protagonist we can both laugh and cry with as she navigate the anxieties of marriage and motherhood as middle age approaches. I devoured this charming, not-to-be-missed novel in a single sitting, and found myself hating to say goodbye to characters that had started to feel like friends…

—Barbara Davis

author of The Last of the Moon Girls

Pagán delivers a relatable motherhood journey and all of the struggles that middle age bring to us. Bigger than that are the beautiful reminders of the importance of family, especially in times of struggle, that we really need right now.

Camille Pagán once again gives us a heartfelt and relatable story about a woman on the edge. This time, Libby knows she should be feeling euphoric about beating cancer for good—and instead she finds the limits of her unrelenting optimism. She can’t stop her tween daughters from arguing, make her work more fulfilling, or insulate her marriage from the pressures of middle-age. Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around is a lovely novel about banishing “shoulds” and welcoming the adventures and inevitable pain of growing just a little bit older.

—Kathleen West

Author of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Camille Pagán pens another hit with the compulsively readable Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around. I trust Pagán’s storytelling, and in her latest, she masterfully guides us through a woman’s journey through real ups and downs in marriage and motherhood.

—Tif Marcelo

Author of Once Upon a Sunset

Pagán masterfully guides us on a stormy journey through a morass of middle-age malaise and deposits us on the other side with charm, humor, truth, and a few lessons about the power of love and unbreakable family ties.

—Andy Abramowitz

Author of A Beginner’s Guide to Free Fall

Camille Pagán’s latest page-turner brilliantly captures the nuances of marriage and family while tackling the tough challenges along the way. Libby is every wife and mother, and when life throws her a curveball, she finds the courage to keep moving…and keep believing. With wit and wisdom, Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around will have you laughing and crying along with these perfectly flawed characters and asking yourself, What does it mean to have enough?

—Rochelle Weinstein

Bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

Oh my goodness! Camille Pagán has achieved such an exquisite, delicate balance, writing a profoundly moving novel that expresses both the beauty and heartbreak of loving other people. Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around is everything: funny and warm and scary and sad and reassuring—just like real life. I read this in one sitting because I simply couldn’t stop.

—Maddie Dawson

Bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners and A Happy Catastrophe

With her trademark wit and charm, Camille Pagán invites us back into the lives of Libby and Shiloh thirteen years after we first met them in Life and Other Near-Death Experiences. Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around is rich, raw, and real, a new favorite where readers like me can’t help coming back for more of Pagán’s gorgeously written stories. I loved it!

—Kerry Lonsdale

Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestselling author