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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • A Million Reasons Why

    A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser is the kind of story that once you're in for a few pages you resent your life pulling you away from reading more. When not actively reading, I found myself thinking about this story. Ms Strawser gives the reader some surprises and possibly some tears. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an early copy to review.

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  • Wow! A thrilling story!

    Okay, wow. Just wow. Jessica Strawser has done it again. Written a book so full of characters and scenes and situations and complex, intricate, fast-moving plot that once you turn back the cover you can’t stop reading until you have finished this story. There are no murders, no car chases, no gunfights, but Caroline and Sela’s story is mesmerizing and action-packed. Just a few pages in and I remembered that this is an author who loves to surprise you, and who is very, very good at it. You know from the start that this DNA test – which was really just an offhand Christmas gift to the extended family from Caroline and her husband Walt, not really meant to be taken that seriously – is going to shake things up. Suddenly Caroline has a half-sister, Sela. Whoa. How could this have happened? What else doesn’t she know about her parents? Well, turns out what she doesn’t know is a lot. And they don’t really want to talk about it. But Caroline feels a connection. She always wanted a sister, and now she can have one, right? So she replies to Sela’s email and it’s like pulling a loose thread on a sweater. Things start to unravel right before her eyes. She doesn’t tell her parents because they’ve distanced themselves. Her husband is skeptical. But when Caroline and Sela meet there is a bonding, and Caroline and Walt’s children love the new “auntie” in their lives. Things are a little more complicated on Sela’s side of the sisterhood. What she hasn’t told Caroline is that she is suffering from irreversible kidney failure, her marriage has already irreversibly fallen apart, and the mother who was her everything has unexpectedly passed away. Sela’s ex-husband and her best friend pressured her to submit the DNA test in hopes of finding a family donor, but she’s not sure even if there is a match she will be able to make that Big Ask. But if she doesn’t, what will happen to her two-year-old son Brody when she’s gone? Before she can think it through, her illness is discovered and a chain of events is started that is like a snowball gathering momentum. Finding out as a result of an innocent DNA test that you have a sister is a big deal. Finding out that this sister has kidney disease and may need you to be a donor is a bigger deal. And it doesn’t stop there. A Million Reasons Why is a story of revelations and realizations about family and relationships that you thought were all figured out. It’s a story of expectations and betrayals and grief. And if after all these secrets and surprises there is any room for forgiveness, for hope, for the future. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Goodreads and author Jessica Strawser for providing an advance copy of this masterfully written, expertly plotted, heart-wrenching look into the lives of Caroline and Sela and their families and a glimpse of what those waiting for donor kidneys must endure. A look at what might have been and wondering if what is now is really enough. Reading this book was an experience I won’t soon forget. All opinions are my own. I thoroughly enjoyed A Million Reasons Why and recommend it without hesitation. I cannot wait to see what Jessica Strawser comes up with next!

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  • Kidney Disease rules a life

    The life of someone with kidney disease is well told in this story of Sela and Caroline. The entire 3-generation family dynamic is in for a shake-up when the family Christmas gift of DNA kits turns up a half sister Caroline never knew about. Reconciling their past with the present creates drama that kept this novel moving at a steady pace. I definitely enjoyed this latest Jessica Strawser creation. I volunteered to read an ARC from St Martins' Press through Net Galley.

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  • Family Drama

    Family secrets, domestic drama, and DNA tests all add up to a story that I could not put down. Caroline’s husband buys a great present for her family. Unfortunately, the present brings drama and hurt. The DNA test shows a surprise connection that Caroline is not able to let go. As she learns more about Sela, Sela’s mother, and the mother’s relationship to her family she realizes that there are many things about her own family that she did not know about. Family secrets are let out, feelings are hurt, and relationships are tested. I enjoyed seeing Caroline and Sela learn to be sisters. Their relationship was not easy. They did not even know about each other, they find each other, and immediately their relationship was put to the test. The people surrounding Caroline and Sela put stress on the relationship and they both had to stand strong to their selves. As the story went along, I thought I could see where it would end until the twist happen. The twist…amazingly perfect. It added just the right ah ha at the right time to make me want to talk to everyone about this book.

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  • DNA testing and results.

    This book took me on a journey, which highlighted DNA testing. Reading this book about 2 people being tested and finding out they have a half-sister gave a different viewpoint. It is an emotional book because when you make the choice to have the DNA test and send it away, you don't know what you will find. Never having done the DNA test, I didn't know very much about it but after reading the book, it showed things that I would want to consider before choosing to do it. Decisions made so many years ago, now have such different consequences than when the decisions were made. For one sister, it was an answer to her prayers but for the other sister she found out that what she always believed wasn't the truth. Sela did the DNA test hoping to find a relative who would be a match because she has irreversible kidney failure. She found she had a half sister, named Caroline, and then she has to decide what to do with the information. When she goes and finds Caroline, there is a lot of unanswered questions. Sela and Caroline start to get to know each other, but then Sela has to decide when to tell Caroline, she did the DNA test to try to find a match for a kidney transplant. A well written story that will show you what it is like for some after sending away your DNA test.

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