Told from the point-of-view of both a stepmother and a teenage girl, this novel really delves deep into what makes a family tick. The stepmother, Andi, is a woman desperate for a child of her own. She marries a man with two children…a pre-teen girl who causes little if any trouble and a full-blown teenager who is more than makes up for her sister’s lack of trouble. Andi’s struggles with her new marriage, her husband and her step-kids seem realistic and not fake in anyway. Emily, the teenager, comes to life on the page…angst and depression and self-hate all included. Green lets us watch this family’s troubles play out…never forcing us to feel something that seems unnatural or unrealistic.
This is a heartwarming book about the troubles of one family and how they preserve and overcome. This is the first Jane Green book that I read all the way through and I would definitely read her again. She’s not totally “chick lit” (or at least this one wasn’t). There was a depth to this novel that most Kinsellas and other Chick Lit connoisseurs lack. I liked the characters and the development of them throughout the story. There were times when certain parts went on too long, but over-all, this is a good, solid story about family and the troubles they bear.