Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 589
intriguing YA contemporary about family
Overall rating
Writing Style
THE PEOPLE WE CHOOSE is an intriguing YA contemporary about how we define family. Calliope is nearly 18 years old, the age when she can reach out to the donor agency and contact her biological father. She has had a happy life with her two mothers, but she has always been curious about the man who was involved in her conception, who she has always called Frank.

During the summer before her birthday, she meets a new boy, Max, whose family moves into the town's haunted house. As they get to know each other, they are unable to deny their connection. Even though Calliope said she'd never date in high school, Max has her breaking her rule, and they are soon in love. Before she knows it, she is 18 and she gets to make the decision about whether she will reach out to her donor.

Ultimately, she decides to reach out, and she gets a response - as mentioned in the synopsis, it turns out her donor is Max's father. Now, Calliope is second guessing herself and her decision as she comes to terms with what it all means.

What I loved: This was a really thought-provoking scenario, and the ultimate theme of the book becomes how family is defined and formed. There's not a simple answer, and the discussion also includes people close to us, such as friends. Calliope has had two BFFs since basically infancy, and they also are undergoing turmoil. Everything is changing, and Calliope is trying to find her way. One of my favorite aspects of the book was Calliope's mothers, who are excellent parents and their relationship with each other and their daughter shines throughout the story.

What left me wanting more: I wanted the book to go even deeper into the emotions and background of decisions made. There's a lot of complexity, but it wasn't as immersive as I wanted. Of course, it would be tough to have a romance that we could both buy into and then also deal with in the second half of the book, but this also made it tougher to take a deep dive into Calliope and Max's relationship and the fallout, so some mixed feelings. I think it could have been helpful to have other perspectives to really understand the multifaceted aspects of the way things unfold.

Final verdict: A thought-provoking read, THE PEOPLE WE CHOOSE is a YA contemporary that discusses family and the ways it can be defined and redefined. Would recommend for fans of 806.
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April 29, 2021
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