Author Neal Shusterman Reveals Cover of Latest Novel: ‘a Different Kind of Pandemic Story’ (Exclusive)

Teasing the thriller to PEOPLE, Shusterman asks: 'If happiness were literally a virus – would we want to catch it?'

<p>Simon & Schuster; Gaby Gerster</p> Neal Shusterman and his new book

Simon & Schuster; Gaby Gerster

Neal Shusterman and his new book 'All Better Now'

The cover of Neal Shusterman’s latest novel is here!

All Better Now, a new young adult thriller for the New York Times bestselling author, is slated for a February 2025 release — and PEOPLE can exclusively share the cover.

The book follows three teens in a world where a new kind of contagion is spreading — happiness. But everything is not as peachy as it sounds.

Shusterman calls the book a “different kind of pandemic story.”

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“If happiness were literally a virus – would we want to catch it?" Shusterman asks, in a statement. "And more importantly, would we choose to spread it, even if it has a high mortality rate?”

“After the years we lost to COVID, I wanted to tell a different kind of pandemic story,” the author of over 30 novels tells PEOPLE. “All Better Now is more about the questions than the answers, and the wild ride those questions take us on! For me, the biggest question is this: Can our world handle a contagion of contentment … or will it tear us apart?”

<p>Simon & Schuster</p> 'All Better Now' by Neal Shusterman

Simon & Schuster

'All Better Now' by Neal Shusterman

According to the book's synopsis, the novel unfolds as a deadly and unprecedented virus is spreading.

"But those who survive it experience long-term effects no one has ever seen before: utter contentment. Soon after infection, people find the stress, depression, greed and other negative feelings that used to weigh them down are gone,” the synopsis reads. “More and more people begin to reveal in the mass unburdening. But not everyone.”

As contentment spreads, the powerful become affected not directly by the virus, but its impact on their wallets.

“People in power — who depend on malcontents and  prey on the insecure to sell their products, and convince others they need more, new, faster, better everything — know this new state of being is bad for business,” the synopsis reads. “Surely, without anger or jealousy as motivators, productivity will grind to a halt and the world will be thrown into chaos.”

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That kicks off a campaign to convince people that eternal happiness is dangerous, as well as a race to find a vaccine. But at the same time, a growing movement of those who have recovered are trying to spread the virus as fast as possible.

With multiple platforms pushing different agendas, “it’s nearly impossible to determine the truth” — and All Better Now follows a trio of main characters as they navigate this new normal.

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All Better Now comes out Feb. 4, 2025 and is available for preorder now, wherever books are sold.

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Read the original article on People.