A Million Reasons Why: A Novel

· Sold by St. Martin's Press
2 reviews

About this ebook

"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

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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

Ratings and reviews

2 reviews
Vickie Watts
March 19, 2021
This is a thought-provoking and heart-tugging domestic drama. The story revolves around two half-sisters who have just discovered their relationship via a mail-in DNA test. Caroline has a dream life, with a solid marriage, three healthy children and a great job. Sela, on the other hand, is a struggling graphic artist, a single mom to a toddler and suffering from kidney disease that requires a transplant. When we meet them, Caroline is blissfully ignorant that she even has a sister, and Sela is hopeful that she will be able to survive until a kidney donor is found. Both women provide their points of view in this contemporary fiction that had me thinking long and hard about what it means to donate an organ and what it means to be the recipient. Since I was born with only one kidney and have had to be tested regularly to make sure that it’s still functioning okay, this book really touched me deeply. It is a powerful story about choices, acceptance and forgiveness. It also opens the door to learning about organ donation and even being an altruistic donor. I had never heard that term before, but the author did a good job of researching kidney disease and organ donation, presented by Sela’s caregiver Janie in such a way that the information flows seamlessly into the story. By no means are Caroline and Sela the only ones facing tough choices and forgiveness in this complex tale of family. The minor characters, too, must face their own demons and come to make a ultimate life-changing choice. I really enjoyed this book and totally looked forward to a new book by this author. It was different in that I didn’t really have any “aha” moments or times when I was amused. I was inspired to think about choices and consequences and unselfishness vs. selfishness. I highly recommend this book, especially for book clubs, because I am convinced that more than one group will be gathered around, discussing the dilemma of Caroline and Sela. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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About the author

JESSICA STRAWSER is the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You, Not That I Could Tell (a Book of the Month selection) and Forget You Know Me. She is Editor-at-Large for Writer’s Digest, and her work has appeared in The New York Times' Modern Love, Publishers Weekly, and other fine venues. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati.

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