Friday, February 17, 2023

Book Review: The New Person

By Melissa Amster

Single mother Roxy Novak works days at a dentist’s office and delivers food at night, making the best life she can for herself and her son, Aero. When her wealthy ex-husband decides to ask for full custody, telling her Aero will be better off living with him and his Instagram-famous new wife, Roxy is stunned and scared. How can she possibly get the money to fight back?

Meanwhile, Nora and Owen Finnegan have been trying to have a child for years without success. After their latest surrogate suffers a miscarriage, they start the search again—and find Roxy, who sees a chance to salvage her own dreams of family by fulfilling theirs.

But family is never simple, and neither are dreams. Nora, Owen, and Roxy hope that their surrogacy journey will lead them to what they want most in the world. All three will get more than they expected. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I have only read one other novel by Loretta Nyhan, prior to this one, and I remember enjoying it (see my review). So I was definitely interested in checking out her latest, The New Person. Right from the beginning, I was instantly drawn into the plights of Roxy, Nora, and Owen through their alternating narratives. 

The main characters were so genuine and flawed, which made them relatable even though I never had the same experiences. I have a hard enough time thinking about my older son going to college in another year or so, which makes it easy to understand why Roxy doesn't want to spend a single day away from her son during the summer, let alone if her ex-husband gets full custody. And while I'm thankful to have never experienced infertility, I know how long the road has been for others I care about, and I can appreciate Nora and Owen's desire to start a family so much that they'll do whatever it takes. I really liked Vinnie and Marla as side characters. They were both quirky in different ways. 

I also love that this story takes place in Chicago and the nearby suburbs. At one point, they visited The Enchanted Castle, which was a favorite place to go when I was in high school and a bit beyond. (Like a WAY better version of Chuck E. Cheese.) 

The ending felt a bit anticlimactic to me after all that everyone went through, but it did allow for closure. 

This was a thoughtful story that is perfect for fans of Camille Pagán. Loretta has a similarly engaging way of drawing readers into a story and I think it would be cool if she and Camille wrote a novel together. (I know Loretta has co-written novels in the past.)

Movie casting suggestions:
Aleeza: Sofia Pernas

Thanks to Lake Union for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Loretta Nyhan:

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