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'I Couldn't Love You More' by Jillian Medoff is a book that skillfully blends humor with heartbreak--that takes its main characters down a dark path, but also provides so much comic relief in the form of the main character's relationship with her sisters, her mother, and her partner’s ex-wife (whom one of her sisters dubs “The Sculptress”) that the humorous moments serve as both a life raft for the characters and a release from the novel’s most emotionally intense scenes.

At the heart of this story is a step-mother faced with an unthinkable dilemma: If you could only save one of your children—your daughter or your step-daughter—who would you choose?

In “I Couldn’t Love You More,” Eliot, a 38-year-old Atlanta mother who is raising three children with her partner of five years, Grant, makes a split-second decision that will haunt their family forever.

Eliot and two of her daughters—Hailey, 4, and her step-daughter Gail, 7—are at the ocean on a family vacation when Eliot receives a phone call from the man she dated in college, the man she never got over. She turns her back from the girls for a minute—and when she turns around, both girls are bobbing in the ocean in opposite directions.

“And this is what I know: I can swim in only one direction, toward one child—toward Hailey or toward Gail—but I must make a choice and I must make it now,” Eliot says. And with that choice, everything she loves about her life with Grant and the girls is at stake.

Initially, I was a little squeamish about ordering this book. I was afraid the book might be too intense--afraid that what might happen to either of the girls would be too difficult to read. But the way in which Medoff tells this story makes you feel as if she is right there beside you as you read the most terrifying passages. And when you reach that final chapter, you'll find yourself cheering for all but one of the characters (and even that character will be just fine).

Here's the full review: http://exm.nr/K5OJs9. I highly recommend it if you're a parent; if you have sisters; if you love romance or drama or both; and if you're a writer looking for a great example of how a character can evolve throughout the course of a novel.

I'm looking for a YA book to add to my reading list, especially a romance or an after-the-breakup book. What books would you recommend?

Happy Friday! Happy writing!


jeni and kayley
Jeni Bell

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