The People We Choose
Margaret Ferguson Books
Published May 4, 2021
About The People We Choose
When Calliope Silversmith meets her new neighbor Max, their chemistry is instantaneous, but the revelation of her biological father’s identity throws her whole life into disarray.
Calliope Silversmith has always had just two friends in her small Pennsylvania town, Ginger and Noah, and she’s fine with that. She’s never wanted anything more than her best friends, her moms, their house in the woods, and their family-run yoga studio–except maybe knowing who her sperm donor is. Her curiosity has been building for years, and she can finally find out this summer when she turns eighteen.
But when Max and his family move into the sad old house across the woods from Calliope, she realizes it’s nice to get to know someone new, so nice that she decides to break her no dating rule. The stability of her longtime trio wavers as she and Max start to spend more and more time together.
When Calliope finally finds out who her sperm donor is, she learns a truth more shocking and unfathomable than she could have ever dreamed: her donor is Max’s father. How is this even possible? As she and Max struggle to redefine their friendship, Calliope realizes that she can turn a horrific situation into something positive by recognizing and accepting that family is both the one we are born into and the one we choose to make.
I love relationship books– and this is definitely a relationship book. Calliope has two lifelong best friends, one of whom is in love with her. She doesn’t return those feelings, though, and for a while, things go unsaid and unacknowledged. Max’s arrival and the obvious chemistry between Calliope and Max changes that, though.
I identified with that conflict so much– the complicated situation that a friendship where one person has greater feelings can become. I still have a lot of feelings of guilt and regret over a relationship in my own past, so it was both heartbreaking and cathartic to see that conflict on the page. I remember literally thinking some of the things Calliope thinks in wrestling with the relationship, so that felt real to me. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen another book tackle that situation in such a real, frank way.
Another thing I liked is the fact that while the story has some romantic feelings in it, it doesn’t center around romance. It really explores what makes a family and how to redefine relationships in the face of difficult changes. I liked the way Calliope’s moms were protective and paying attention, but that they also gave her space to find her own way. I felt like their relationships had a great balance in that way.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading PEOPLE WE CHOOSE. I think people who enjoyed YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT by Lauren Spieller or who like books exploring relationships will enjoy this one.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Max is Black. Ginger is a lesbian. Calliope has two moms.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning for Incest
Brief descriptions of kissing between boy and girl (who turn out to be siblings and really grossed out about it later.)
Reference to a kiss between two girls.
Some descriptions of heated arguments between adults. Brief description of a woman’s accidental death.
One minor character is an alcoholic.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support running this blog. I received a free copy of PEOPLE WE CHOOSE in exchange for my honest review.