Monday, January 3, 2022

Book Review: A Million Reasons Why, by Jessica Strawser

Book Review: A Million Reasons Why, by Jessica Strawser
Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Sela zipped her bag closed and took a last look around Lucy’s room, feeling – what was this? Her thoughts were sluggish this morning; she’d slept even worse than usual, but her mood was buoyant. Something like a sense  of accomplishment, mixed with pleasant surprise at the twinge of reluctance she felt about leaving so soon. 

When she got home, she knew, Brody would throw his arms around her, and Oscar would nose through her things, trying to suss out where she’d been before reclaiming his place at her feet. She’d been picturing the scene since before she’d even gotten here, the reward awaiting her at the finish line. But now that the time had come, she pictured her homecoming in a different light. How quiet the house would seem by contrast, how absent of the breakfast chatter coming from downstairs now, and how far she’d suddenly feel from these people – not just a half sister but a half family.

This was an intricate family drama, where two women find out they’re half sisters from a DNA test. But what if that isn’t even the biggest secret in their lives?

Official synopsis:
When two strangers are linked by a mail-in DNA test, it’s an answered prayer—that is, for one half sister. For the other, it will dismantle everything she knows to be true.

But as they step into the unfamiliar realm of sisterhood, the roles will reverse in ways no one could have foreseen.

Caroline lives a full, happy life—thriving career, three feisty children, enviable marriage, and a close-knit extended family. She couldn’t have scripted it better. Except for one thing:

She’s about to discover her fundamental beliefs about them all are wrong.

Sela lives a life in shades of gray, suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Her marriage crumbled in the wake of her illness. Her beloved mother, always her closest friend, unexpectedly passed away. She refuses to be defined by her grief, but still, she worries what will happen to her two-year-old son if she doesn’t find a donor match in time.

She’s the only one who knows Caroline is her half sister and may also be her best hope for a future. But Sela’s world isn’t as clear-cut as it appears—and one misstep could destroy it all.

Caroline’s husband gifts the adults in their family a DNA test for Christmas. Seems like a fun idea, right? But a few months later, Caroline gets a notice that she has a matcha new family member that she’s never known anything about. As expected, family upheaval ensues. While she’s reservedly happy that she may now have a sister, like she always wished for, the discovery that there may be an ulterior motive for them reconnecting threatens to destroy the relationship they’ve built so far.

The first half of the book was more or less predictable, although the fact that Sela wasn’t as driven to get Caroline’s kidney and save her own life was a bit unexpected. The author explained her reservations quite well, and the character’s motivations were believable. The twist toward the end of the book was a surprise, though.

Overall, I gave this book four out of five stars. The twist cast a whole new light on the characters’ lives, organ donation, and the expectations and responsibilities of the medical community. It can really make a reader think. I’d recommend this book for those who enjoy contemporary family dramas.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley enjoys relaxing with a book and a cocktail when taking a break from the endless list of work and mom tasks. Check out snapshots of her life on Instagram, where she posts as PoshBecki.


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