This Could Hurt


INDIE NEXT Pick for January 2018
AMAZON Best Book of January: Literature and Fiction
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S Must Read Books of January
NEW YORK POST’s Recommended Reading
POETS & WRITERS: New & Noteworthy Books for Winter
THE MILLIONS: Most Anticipated Books of 2018
CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS: Most Anticipated Fiction of 2018
REAL SIMPLE: Best Books of 2018 (so far)
PEOPLE: Books of the Week
SLATE POLITICAL GABFEST: Chatter Recommended Read!!!!!!!!
OPRAH: 10 Titles to Pick Up NOW!
FAST COMPANY: Books to Read in January
PARADE Picks: Hot Fiction
THE WEEK: Author of the Week
800-CEO-READ: Top Business Books for January
POPSUGAR’s Books to Read this Winter
MSN.COM: Best 16 Books Hitting Shelves in January
BOOKRIOT’S 101 Books of 2018
RT Top Pick for January

An archly funny and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, THIS COULD HURT is a masterful novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.


Once-in-a-lifetime rave from Ron Charles in the Washington Post: “Periodically a writer captures the pattern of comedy and tragedy that peppers office life like alternating colors of carpet squares…As smart as Medoff’s critique of corporate inanity is, it’s tempered by compassion for these people, who are ultimately tender with each other, too…Medoff finds plenty of hurt–but strains of hope, too.” “A workplace saga with heart. . . . Like Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, its strength lies in its motley crew of flawed but relatable characters—the staff who are left clinging to their jobs amidst all the downsizing, while also coping with personal lives that leave much to be desired. . . . Ultimately, Medoff’s book is about finding oneself — and satisfaction — in a combination of absorbing work and personal relationships.”

Amazing review in PEOPLE!

NEWSDAY: “…smart novel of corporate life…”

Best New Books in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: “Medoff explores the daily vagaries of corporate life in her smart, sympathetic workplace dramedy. Set in the HR department of a struggling midlevel Manhattan firm circa 2009, it’s like a New York novelization of The Office–with less winky, fourth-wall-breaking satire and more heart. B+”

TAMPA BAY-TIMES: “Mordantly funny. . . . Medoff, who has a long career in management consulting in addition to her work as a writer, paints her characters’ work life in sharp detail. She also warmly sketches their personal lives. . . . Medoff tells a tale that suggests that even in the worst of times, there really are human resources.”

New York Post: How a Horrible Corporate Job Led to an Awesome Novel

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “[Medoff] is a deft observer of office politics, as well as human relationships. She has a sense of history. And she wastes no one’s time: The narrative cracks along, without an indulgent passage in the book…”

David Plotz on Slate Political Gabfest at 59:00 mark (very end): “An incredibly funny, incredibly human book. And it is, I think maybe the best book I’ve ever read about what work means, about how to do it better, about how to manage people, about how to be a good colleague, about the intra-personal relationships of an office. . . . I haven’t read something with as much pleasure in six months.”

Bethanne Patrick for the Barnes and Noble Review: “…deeply funny and deeply affecting…”

Shout out in Vanity Fair: “Novelist Jillian Medoff sends a companywide memo, reminding us that This Could Hurt (Harper)”

The Million’s Most Anticipated Books of 2018: “Medoff works a double shift…In her fourth novel, she turns her attention to a milieu she knows very well, the strange and singular world of corporate America…”

Big love from BookPage: “So how does THIS COULD HURT—based entirely around the daily happenings of a human resources team—yield such a delicious, satisfying book? Because Jillian Medoff delivers a story that is about so much more than run-of-the-mill office politics…”

BookReporter: “…a penetrative novel about how work—even the work we might resent or despise at times—forges strange and wonderful relationships and forces difficult choices…”

REAL SIMPLE: “Uplifting and hilarious…As [characters] navigate office drama, love affairs, and personal ambitions in the face of corporate cutbacks, Medoff examines the impact our work-life decisions have on our home lives.”

O MAGAZINE: “This bighearted dramedy of manners stars Rosa, one of the most intriguing characters ever to walk the halls of an HR department, nd her supporting cast of flawed but devoted employees…”


The Savvy Reader’s Most Anticipated Reads of (Early) 2018: “…powerful, illuminating, relatable…”

The National Book Review’s Top 5 Books: “…a charming and clever novel whose portrait of the absurdity of the world of big business rings disturbingly true…”

Society of HR Management (SHRM): “…a rare realistic look into a fictional HR department and what makes it tick. There are entire sections—like the fictional company’s multiple and hilarious foiled attempts to field a successful employee engagement survey, or the tale of a group of employees plotting to inhabit a vacant floor—that will have HR pros laughing in “OMG so true!” agreement….”

INDIE NEXT Pick: “Who knew that a novel about a faltering company’s HR department could be so gripping and compassionate? Anyone who has worked in a company with other people will appreciate the resentments, friendships, and competitions that develop in a long-time team. Medoff does a great job of making the reader care about each and every character.” —Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany NY

SHELF AWARENESS: “Corporate America during nine months of the Great Recession is the setting of This Could Hurt, Jillian Medoff’s shrewd and deeply affecting fourth novel …Medoff has a spot-on grasp on the often cutthroat nuances of office politics…She skillfully reveals the modus operandi of the staff as they vie to keep their jobs. Sharply drawn intimate details about the lives of each character add even greater depth and broaden the timeless appeal of this very smart, thoroughly absorbing story..”

PARADE Hot Fiction Picks (includes excerpt): “…a sweet, sharp funny tale…”

SOUTHERN LIVING: “Set within the cogs of corporate America, THIS COULD HURT tells the story of five colleagues struggling with professional tumult, uncertainty, and ambition. Jillian Medoff unfolds these characters’ daily lives, the hours spent at the office, with precision and a strong dose of humanity.”

KIRKUS raves: “Although Medoff frankly chronicles plenty of scheming and self-serving, Rosa’s devotion to her staff is repaid with loyalty and affection that are all the more poignant coming from believably flawed characters…everyone gets nicely textured treatment in an engrossing narrative…a sharp-eyed novel of corporate manners…”

LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review): “…An ultimately hopeful, completely inventive tale…”

BOOKLIST: “Incisive…Medoff’s scenarios will be familiar to everyone employed everywhere, no matter the company size, and she cogently captures the angst and celebrates the camaraderie of coworkers committed to group success while struggling with personal demons.”

Atlas Obscura’s Mid-Winter Reading List: “…a wonderful novel about the most boring place in the world: the HR department at a dreary, failing company. Medoff digs deep into the lives of five exceptionally ordinary people, and turns their trivial work dramas into humane comedy. It’s also a brilliant how-to book about what it takes to be a great colleague and a good manager.”

Electric Literature: “…motley crew of middle managers are self-absorbed, manipulative, and dysfunctional but their all-too-human flaws are redeemed by their fierce loyalty to Rosa and the lengths they go to to protect her…”

Daily Nebraskan: “…The darkness and anxiety surrounding jobs and money is palpable in this book, and Medoff forces readers to experience these feelings through her powerful prose….”

Yahoo Lifestyle: “…if you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, you’ll appreciate the satire of this dysfunctional office and its cast of characters. While you’re at it, pick up a copy for your work wife too.”

MSN Lifestyle: “…thoroughly enjoyable exploration of what it means to run an office in the 21st century. Through the lens of five members of an HR team, we see all the highest highs–and lowest lows–of what it takes to keep a company afloat..”

The blisteringly smart Jesse Kornbluth reviews TCH for HeadButler: “…well written enough for critical praise but broadly appealing enough to be sold in airports..”

POPSUGAR, Best Winter Books of 2018: “On the surface, THIS COULD HURT is a novel about five human resources colleagues. But in Jillian Medoff’s hands, this is much more than a workplace satire. It is a sharp, engaging, and smart look at the people we work with and the deep inner lives we all lead.”

RT TOP PICK for Jan: “A charming, intriguing, incredibly funny and brilliant satire..Medoff brilliantly shares looks at all the characters and their lives both in and out of the workplace, and while the subject matter can sometimes be serious or gripping in a more emotional way, there is still plenty of bite from her witty writing, which also shines throughout. 4.5 stars!”

PW: “…a sharp and moving novel…”

Fredericksburg (VA) Freelance Star: “…THIS COULD HURT is a very enjoyable read and Medoff moves between the characters and their stories seamlessly. If there is a silver lining within the financial crisis, THIS COULD HURT might be it.”

BUSTLE: “It may not be set at a hospital, university, or political law firm, but Jillian Medoff’s honest and hilarious novel about the modern workplace and the role it plays in shaping our lives will appeal to fans of Shonda Rhimes’s professional dramedies. THIS COULD HURT explores the lives of five HR employees at a large corporate research company as they navigate the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives, especially where both overlap. Hilarious as it is heartfelt, this smart novel has everything you’ve been missing since your favorite shows went off air: love, loss, living life.”

READ IT FORWARD’s Favorite Reads of Jan: “[THIS COULD HURT] takes the concept of the office drama and makes it so real, so achingly poignant at times, that you’ll be glued to the page even as you walk through scenes devoted to CEOs and cubicles…”

BuzzFeed loves THIS COULD HURT: “…A portrait of corporate life, this novel explores the meaning of work and loyalty as the characters deal with the hopes and heartbreaks of daily life..”

52 Weeks, 52 Books, 52 Women: “This is the perfect moment for THIS COULD HURT, a funny, insightful tale of the HR department of Ellery Consumer Research, a company trying to manage the economic downturn of 2009…”

All too often, characters in novels live in that rarified novel-world where real-life concerns like jobs and bills and the sudden vital need for a flowchart simply don’t exist. Jillian Medoff remedies this with a refreshingly authentic portrait of corporate America and the varied souls that dream, conspire, flounder and triumph there, and this she does with a great deal of affection and charm. A very enjoyable book.

Corporate America has been trying to stamp out individuality for decades but Jillian Medoff brings it back to fresh, sexy, sharply funny life again. THIS COULD HURT is a missive to everyone who feels stranded in an office: You are not alone.

The workplace novel has long been the territory of male novelists—well, no more. Medoff’s provocative, comic portrait of modern American office life is a study of power, and how having it and wanting it, tests the bonds coworkers share far beyond the break room. It not only upends female stereotypes like a cheap desk, it also earns Medoff a place at the table. And all for seventy cents on the male dollar.

Jillian Medoff is one of those talented writers who make other less talented writers (myself) want to write flattering blurbs. Funny, painful, and ultimately redemptive, THIS COULD HURT is a beautifully drawn canvas of corporate America in all its lunacy.
—JOHN KENNEY, Thurber-award winning author of TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

You wouldn’t expect a corporate HR department to house a thrill-ride of a novel, but Jillian Medoff pulls off the impossible here. Funny, searing and wholly original…Medoff knocks this one out of the park.
—DARIN STRAUSS, National Book Critics Circle award winning author of HALF A LIFE

Clear your Outlook calendar and have tissues at the ready for this huge-hearted page turner that reaffirms the healing power of plain old kindness.
—COURTNEY MAUM, bestselling author of TOUCH

Tender and compelling, Jillian Medoff’s THIS COULD HURT reveals what happens when the ties that bind us start to fray and we are called upon to care for each other. That these relationships are among coworkers in an HR department makes them as unpredictable as they are hilarious but always real and always entertaining.
—GEORGE HODGMAN, NY Times bestselling author of BETTYVILLE

Searing, sexy and surprisingly funny, Jillian Medoff’s THIS COULD HURT burns through the pages. No one is safe in this cruel but compassionate take on corporate America. I loved it.


Against all odds, Rosa Guerrero became a high-ranking corporate executive. By wielding power with grace and compassion, the longtime HR chief at Ellery Consumer Research has earned the devotion and loyalty of her senior staff.

With the economy in the tank, and unemployment on the rise, Ellery’s future looks grim. While Rosa fights to insulate her people from these harsh business realities, they’re facing crises of their own. Unlike Leo Smalls who has no life outside of Ellery (or Rosa), Rob Hirsch’s existential dread pushes him closer to his “work wife,” Lucy Bender, a brainy, ambitious VP who’s desperate to find meaning in her life. For Kenny Verville, a Wharton MBA, Ellery is merely a stepping-stone to better places—that is, if he can get out of his own way.

Day after day, these heartbreakingly flawed coworkers scheme and dream, fall in and out of love, and chase dreams big and small. But when Rosa, their guiding light, begins to unravel, Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves challenged in ways beyond their reckoning.