Written by Jane Green
Peel: When Andi married Ethan she became the step-mother of two girls- Sophia and Emily. The younger Sophia takes to Andi well, and is everything Andi wanted in a daughter besides being biologically hers, Emily on the other hand does not. Between Andi wanting to give birth to a child, Emily wanting Andi gone and her own ever-increasing drama, neither the family nor marriage is stable.
There is quite a bit of dialog in this book, and Green does a great job of making it sound realistic. It’s a pretty simple book to read, and the concept of marrying into a partially-complete family is rather interesting.
The first chunk of the book was exclusively about Andi, and it was a bit much. I didn’t particularly like her character until towards the end, as in the beginning she’s lacking a backbone, is extremely self-involved, and it’s always about Andi’s problems. She talks about how Ethan’s this incredible husband, but we don’t see him in a positive light until near the end of the book. Though Green’s main characters aren’t very likable, one can see their motivations and reasoning. After the first chunk of Andi, the narrative switched often between first person for Emily, and third person for all the other main characters. Perhaps because of taking on all of the main characters’ points of view the whole book comes off as much more telling than showing. Overall the story was a little too easy to follow and predictable for my taste, and it felt like the execution could have been much stronger.
On the other hand, I did like how slowly Green built up the story so that characters were fully established before major events occurred. At the end it was easy to see how and why the characters developed. The minor characters were fairly interchangeable, but also all likable as rational good-advice givers. The book felt much like a realistic soap opera; things often go very right and very wrong, but nothing outside the realm of reasonable probability.
Nibble: “She pushes Sophia’s door open gently to see Sophia, fast asleep, the bald teddy bear that she cannot sleep without, now lying on its side, on the floor next to her bed, Sophia’s hand curled out toward it, as if she is waiting for the bear to jump back in.”
I would recommend this as a light feel-good drama.
My Rating: 6 out of 10 baby pink apples
I received an advanced free paper copy of this book from the First Reads program via Goodreads.