Review: The People We Choose

Calliope Silversmith has always had just two friends in her small Pennsylvania town, Ginger and Noah, and she’s fine with that. She’s never wanted anything more than her best friends, her moms, their house in the woods, and their family-run yoga studio–except maybe knowing who her sperm donor is. Her curiosity has been building for years, and she can finally find out this summer when she turns eighteen.

But when Max and his family move into the sad old house across the woods from Calliope, she realizes it’s nice to get to know someone new, so nice that she decides to break her no dating rule. The stability of her longtime trio wavers as she and Max start to spend more and more time together.

When Calliope finally finds out who her sperm donor is, she learns a truth more shocking and unfathomable than she could have ever dreamed: her donor is Max’s father. How is this even possible? As she and Max struggle to redefine their friendship, Calliope realizes that she can turn a horrific situation into something positive by recognizing and accepting that family is both the one we are born into and the one we choose to make.

This book definitely had an intriguing concept, not only because of Calliope’s desire to find out who her sperm donor is, nor her relationship with her new neighbor, Max, but because of how the author entwined the two plot lines, giving her characters a messy situation to deal with. And for the most part, it was enjoyable to read. It’s a quick one as well.

For the most part, I liked the characters, but they sort of fell a little flat for me. Or I just would’ve liked to have seen more of some of them. Ginger was probably my favorite (I always love fun best friends) and Noah was a close second. I honestly wish Noah had been in the story a little more than he was, though I get why he’d gotten upset with Calliope when she started to get more involved with Max. I felt for him, not that I’ve been in his position, but I can imagine. He might have acted a little wrong, but I think Calliope should’ve been honest with him in the first place, to save him some of the heartache.

There was a cute family dynamic between Calliope, her moms, and her friends, which is what the book is really about – family. What Calliope knows, and even relearns on a deeper level, is that family isn’t always who your blood is. More often than not, it’s the people you choose to be your family; to keep in your life, always. 

What I didn’t enjoy about this book was how fast Calliope and Max fell for each other. I get that insta-love happens in real life, but I’m not a super believer in it (maybe because my ideal relationship is one where I’d have a strong foundation of friendship with someone first, before going into something more, but that’s me). But what the real bothersome thing (to me) about the story is how Calliope was able to switch her feelings toward Max after supposedly being “in love” with him. She went from “in love” to loving him like a brother a little too fast, in my opinion. Though I am glad that despite the weird circumstance, she was at least willing to try to keep Max in her life, even if she had to change the how.

So, overall, this book is definitely a cute, quick read, with a great message inside of it. I’d definitely recommend it because of the importance of the message of family, and the unique way that it’s told.

Rating: 3.75/5 stars

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