A million reasons why

Jessica Strawser

Book - 2021

"Jessica Strawser's A Million Reasons Why is "a fascinating foray into the questions we are most afraid to ask" (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author)--the story of two women who discover a bond between them that will change both their lives forever. 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 and lifelong best friend passed away. She refuses to be defined by her grief, but still, she worries about 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. That Caroline may 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. After all, would you risk everything to save the life of the person who turned yours upside down? From the moment Caroline meets Sela, both must reexamine what it really means to be family, the depths of a mother's love, and the limits and the power of forgiveness"--

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Subjects
Genres
Domestic fiction
Novels
Published
New York : St. Martin's Press 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
357 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781250241627
1250241626
Main Author
Jessica Strawser (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In this standout novel, an ancestry test taken on a whim becomes more than a fun distraction. Caroline Porter and her husband, Walt, never expected to have a family beyond their parents and their own children. When Caroline's DNA test reveals that she has a half-sister—and they're the same age—she questions everything about her life. Who is this woman, and why did their father stray? What do they share beyond their genes? In alternating chapters, readers find answers to these questions while also meeting Sela Bell, who has secrets of her own. Sela's failing kidney led her to join the DNA website in search of a donor. Divorced and raising a toddler, Sela is lonely and losing hope. Caroline might be her savior, if only Sela could bring herself to tell her sister about her illness. Strawser brings the seamless writing style, complex characters, and layered plot that readers will remember from Forget You Know Me (2019). The high concept will attract book groups and fans of Jodi Picoult and Carla Buckley. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In this standout novel, an ancestry test taken on a whim becomes more than a fun distraction. Caroline Porter and her husband, Walt, never expected to have a family beyond their parents and their own children. When Caroline's DNA test reveals that she has a half-sister—and they're the same age—she questions everything about her life. Who is this woman, and why did their father stray? What do they share beyond their genes? In alternating chapters, readers find answers to these questions while also meeting Sela Bell, who has secrets of her own. Sela's failing kidney led her to join the DNA website in search of a donor. Divorced and raising a toddler, Sela is lonely and losing hope. Caroline might be her savior, if only Sela could bring herself to tell her sister about her illness. Strawser brings the seamless writing style, complex characters, and layered plot that readers will remember from Forget You Know Me (2019). The high concept will attract book groups and fans of Jodi Picoult and Carla Buckley. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Caroline's family has always appeared picture-perfect. A mother of three young children, Caroline has a stable relationship with her husband, Walt; an easy relationship with her parents; and a successful career. But when Walt purchases DNA tests for Caroline's family for Christmas, everything is upended. Caroline is contacted by a woman, Sela, who is her half-sister. Suddenly, all the secrets that have been swept under the rug to save appearances are aired. Caroline's father had an affair with his wife's best friend, Rebecca, 35 years ago; he never knew that Rebecca had a child. Sela, who is the same age as Caroline, is suffering from a kidney disease and urgently needs to match with a living kidney donor. Are the tenuous bonds of their sisterhood enough to save Sela's life without destroying Caroline's relationship with her family? As long-held secrets are knocked loose and Caroline and Sela's relationship deepens, Caroline reckons with the reality of her past and present relationships. VERDICT Intertwined secrets are revealed in swift plotting that will keep readers turning the pages. This emotional family and medical drama from Strawser (Not That I Could Tell) will appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty.—Emily Hamstra, Seattle Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Caroline's family has always appeared picture-perfect. A mother of three young children, Caroline has a stable relationship with her husband, Walt; an easy relationship with her parents; and a successful career. But when Walt purchases DNA tests for Caroline's family for Christmas, everything is upended. Caroline is contacted by a woman, Sela, who is her half-sister. Suddenly, all the secrets that have been swept under the rug to save appearances are aired. Caroline's father had an affair with his wife's best friend, Rebecca, 35 years ago; he never knew that Rebecca had a child. Sela, who is the same age as Caroline, is suffering from a kidney disease and urgently needs to match with a living kidney donor. Are the tenuous bonds of their sisterhood enough to save Sela's life without destroying Caroline's relationship with her family? As long-held secrets are knocked loose and Caroline and Sela's relationship deepens, Caroline reckons with the reality of her past and present relationships. VERDICT Intertwined secrets are revealed in swift plotting that will keep readers turning the pages. This emotional family and medical drama from Strawser (Not That I Could Tell) will appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty.—Emily Hamstra, Seattle Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Strawser (Forget You Know Me) exposes the impact of family secrets and lies in this moving if overheated story of two half sisters who discover each other through a DNA service. Caroline Porter, a happily married event planner and mother of three young children, is thrown for a loop when she gets an email out of the blue from Sela Bell, a woman claiming they have the same father. If that isn't enough of a bombshell, Caroline also discovers the truth behind a life-changing breakup years ago, when she was denied a job at the college where the then love-of-her-life had just landed the perfect faculty position. Meanwhile, Sela, divorced with a toddler, has chronic kidney disease (CKD), and Sela's need for a new kidney (Caroline is a match) creates all kinds of stress for both women and their families. Abundant melodrama in the closing chapters overshadows the otherwise fast-paced, riveting story of an expanded family negotiating Caroline's discoveries and Sela's needs, which is nonetheless enriched by details about CKD as well as the steps involved for potential organ donors. Strawser's fans will appreciate this provocative family tale. (Mar.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Jessica Strawser's A Million Reasons Why is "a fascinating foray into the questions we are most afraid to ask" (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author)--the story of two women who discover a bond between them that will change both their lives forever. 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 and lifelong best friend passed away. She refuses tobe defined by her grief, but still, she worries about 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. That Caroline may 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. After all, would you risk everything to save the life of the person who turned yours upside down? From the moment Caroline meets Sela, both must reexamine what it really meansto be family, the depths of a mother's love, and the limits and the power of forgiveness"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Suffering from irreversible kidney failure, worrying for her young son and mourning other devastating losses, Caroline considers reaching out to Sela, a vulnerable potential donor who is unaware that she is Caroline’s half-sister. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Heartbreaking yet hopeful, this astute exploration of the bonds and limitations of family is a perfect book club pick.” – New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson

A Most Anticipated by Goodreads * SheReads * E! News * Frolic


Jessica Strawser's A Million Reasons Why is "a fascinating foray into the questions we are most afraid to ask" (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author)--the story of two women who discover a bond between them that will change both their lives forever.

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.

"A thrilling story of what happens when a long-held family secret comes to light...[Strawser] shows that no one is ever truly a villain or a hero, but instead, we are all a beautiful and messy mix of both." - Associated Press review