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The Ones We Choose: A Novel

by Julie Clark

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495392,650 (4.15)1
"Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling read about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness. The powerful forces of science and family collide when Paige Robson, a genetic scientist whose life's work examines why some fathers can't bond with their children, finds her world in upheaval: her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can't answer--until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives. Paige's carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles' paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. And when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows. As Paige slowly opens herself up--by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father's unexpected return--she realizes breakthroughs aren't only for the lab. With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us"--… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
I loved that the author wasn't a professional geneticist. She did enough research into genetics and sperm banks that the backstory was fully fleshed out without it being taken over by medical details. ( )
  gentlespirit512 | Nov 27, 2018 |
I loved so much about this book. The cover is what drew me in and the detailed research and great storytelling by Clark kept me here. This is one of those great novels that examines family, friendship, and the consequences (whether good or bad) of one's actions. Paige is a geneticist whose son was conceived with a sperm donor. Here, Clark's research shines through and I was surprised to find out she didn't have a background in science. The book's synopsis does a great job laying out the plot, so it is more about the superb writing than the surprises that make you turn the pages. I'm excited to see what Clark writes next. ( )
  Kristymk18 | Aug 20, 2018 |
I won this in a GOODREADS giveaway! #GoodreadsGiveaway ( )
  tenamouse67 | Jul 21, 2018 |
The Ones We Choose
By
Julie Clark

What it's all about...

Part science...genetic science...part beautiful story...this was an amazing book about Paige...a scientist...who discovers that the man who was the anonymous
donor for her young son could be someone she knows. Paige’s
son...Miles...has just begun to ask questions about why he doesn’t have a father. Miles isolates himself...doesn’t make friends easily...but...is smart, funny, clever...and totally miserable. He won’t give Liam...Paige’s boyfriend...a chance but Paige has other issues...her own father was in and out of her life throughout her childhood and is now back. Paige’s instincts are to protect Miles from feeling the way she did. So...no one really gets that close to Paige...not even Liam...and especially not the return of her father. Paige remains distant and detached.

Why I wanted to read it...

This book just grabbed me. The writing was beautiful...vivid...clear...strong. Paige had clearly raised an incredible son on her own. The possibility of the donor...potentially someone she knows...knocks her rigidity. She begins to see similarities. She has no clear idea about what she should do.

What made me truly enjoy this book...

I absolutely loved Paige. She was brilliant and yet so flawed. I loved that every chapter started with science...genetics, chromosomes, DNA...it was fascinating. Paige’s project was in determining why women are more nurturing than men. It was also fascinating.

Why you should read it, too...

This was a difficult book to put down. The chapters were endearing yet filled with suspense...not a chiller thriller kind of suspense but more a wonderment about what Paige would do next. I loved her relationship with her sister Rose. I loved that her life was relatively good and then bit by bit it began to fall apart. This book has everything I dearly love in a book. Relationships, quirkiness, drama, sadness...they were all in this incredibly endearing package. I am almost positive I will read everything Julie Clark writes...and...everyone else should, too!

I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss and Amazon. It was my choice to read it and review it. ( )
  PattyLouise | May 14, 2018 |
This is a wonderful debut novel about family - not necessarily the family we are genetically part of but also the family that we create out of love. The subject matter is very up to date and I could see the possibility of the same issues happening in other families.

Paige's 8 year old son wants to know more about his father which is very normal in a family that is only composed of mother and son. He is getting bullied at school because he doesn't have a dad and even through Paige's new boyfriend tries to help out, Miles pushes him away. In truth, Paige can't tell Miles about his dad because she only knows what she read about him in his application to become a sperm donor. As Paige tries to help her son out with his problems at school and in life, she finds herself finally making some friends and opening herself up to her family.

There is a short chapter between each chapter in the book that explains the science of genetics and DNA. I have to admit that science is not my 'friend' and I skipped over a lot of the information in those chapters. The author did a tremendous amount of research to be sure that she had her scientific knowledge sharp to explore the issues in this book. I thought that it was an excellent book and can't wait to see what Julie Clark writes next.

I read an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ( )
  susan0316 | May 3, 2018 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Epigraph
Genome
Just as astronomers have mapped the night sky, geneticists have mapped the human genome, the strands of DNA telling your story through every cell in your body. But it's not just your story; the human genome is rich with thousands of years of history, passed down from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters. Those who have come before you live inside you, shaping who you are.
Secrets drift through time, your identity whispering like a feather across your cells. Nearly three billion particles, thirty thousand genes, the microscopic world cracked open as wide as the cosmos, reminding you of who came before and pointing toward who will come next.
Dedication
To Alex and Ben, who remind me every day that I'm braver and stronger than I ever imagined.

And to Sharon, for lighting the way from above.
First words
If loneliness were a color, it would be the deep purple of my eight-year-old's shirt as he walks solitary laps around the school track.
Quotations
People only want to live with lies of their own creation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling read about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness. The powerful forces of science and family collide when Paige Robson, a genetic scientist whose life's work examines why some fathers can't bond with their children, finds her world in upheaval: her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can't answer--until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives. Paige's carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles' paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. And when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows. As Paige slowly opens herself up--by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father's unexpected return--she realizes breakthroughs aren't only for the lab. With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us"--

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