Review of A MILLION REASONS WHY by Jessica Strawser

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.
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.”

I would rate this book PG because of its sensitive content.
Photo and bio from the author’s website at

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I loved this book and highly recommend it. Many thanks to #StMartinsPress for the ARC to read and review!

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