Reviews for Someone Else's Love Story


Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
In her sixth novel, an inspiring story of love, faith, and redemption, Jackson delivers another page-turner. Sweet 21-year-old southerner Shandi falls "in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K" when the hulking geneticist positions himself between the drugged-out gunman and single-mother Shandi's three-year-old son. Although William's heroic feat is not exactly born out of altruism, and he suffers a bullet wound in the process, it's enough to earn Shandi's undivided love and attention, and she throws herself into caring for him when he is released from the hospital. Jackson hooks readers right from the outset as she seamlessly moves from the dramatic holdup to a subtle and often moving exploration of the various guises of love and faith. All of the characters--from atheistic William, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome; to Shandi, who possesses a warmth and compassion that belie her youth; to their respective best friends: the sardonic Paula and the poetry-spouting Wolcott--are so vividly drawn, they fairly leap off the page. Highly readable, with a lightly drawn philosophical and religious backdrop, this is a perfect choice for book clubs. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2013 December
Everyday miracles

The folks in Joshilyn Jackson’s sixth novel, Someone Else’s Love Story, are in all kinds of trouble, but they don’t know it right away. The catalyst for self-knowledge turns out to be a botched robbery at the local Circle K—a gas station, for those of you who aren’t in the Atlanta metro area—attempted by a snaggle-toothed little punk who is promptly brained by one of his hostages.

That hostage is William Ashe, and his fellow hostages include a young woman named Shandi Pierce and her 3-year-old son, Natty. Most of the book is narrated by Shandi, the product of a mixed marriage of a fundamentalist Christian mother and Jewish father. Her son is the product of what she wants to believe is an immaculate conception; she didn’t lose her virginity till after Natty was born by C-section, when she begged her longtime best friend, Walcott, to perform the defloration. The trauma of the robbery forces Shandi to realize that her son’s conception could not have been what she thought it was. It also makes her believe she’s in love with William, her savior.

The robbery causes William to realize a few things as well. A scientist who looks rather like a Nordic lumberjack, he’s a touch autistic. The robbery happens on a painful anniversary, and he’s spent a year trying to push the memories of his now-destroyed family out of his head. Like Shandi, William, too, will find his attempts to avoid reality increasingly difficult.

The reader can’t be blamed for at first finding Shandi’s insistence that her lovely, brilliant boy is the product of parthenogenesis somewhat ridiculous. But as Jackson slowly reveals the truth about Shandi, we warm to her—and to weird, heartbroken William, his tough-as-nails best friend Paula, forbearing Walcott and even the dope who held up the Circle K. There are scenes that will make you gasp, pause or even tear up as Jackson’s characters fumble toward imperfect enlightenment. Someone Else’s Love Story will delight and surprise with its unexpected compassion, empathy and humanity.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #2
Jackson's novel perfectly captures the flavor and rhythm of Southern life as a young woman preparing for college finds herself caught up in a real-life drama. Shandi has a miracle baby. His name is Nathan, but she and her BFF, Walcott, call the precocious 3-year-old genius Natty. As Shandi moves out of her mother's home to her successful physician father's condominium in Atlanta, she, Walcott and Natty become caught up in an armed robbery. It's during this robbery that Shandi meets William Ashe, a giant of a man with a palpable lingering sorrow. When William takes a bullet during the robbery, Shandi decides to take on William and starts caring for him on the day he leaves the hospital. In due course, she discovers that William's suffered a tragic loss and finds herself fighting both his memories of happier times and with his best friend, Paula, who makes it clear she wants Shandi out of the picture. However, Shandi is coping with a dilemma she thinks William can help her resolve: discovering the identity of the man who fathered her child. Shandi conceived Natty after being raped at a college party years before and still has enough of his DNA to possibly deduce his identity. William, a research scientist, has both the tools and the know-how to narrow down, if not figure out, just who her attacker might be. Jackson draws on her own Southern roots to paint this pitch-perfect portrait of a girl from a small town in Georgia. She traces Shandi's struggles to figure out what, if anything, William really means to her. Wrapped in a thoughtful, often funny and insightful narrative that brings Shandi and those in her satellite to life, Jackson presents the reader with a story that is never predictable and is awash in bittersweet love, regret and the promise of what could be. A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won't be able to put it down. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #1
Jackson's novel perfectly captures the flavor and rhythm of Southern life as a young woman preparing for college finds herself caught up in a real-life drama. Shandi has a miracle baby. His name is Nathan, but she and her BFF, Walcott, call the precocious 3-year-old genius Natty. As Shandi moves out of her mother's home to her successful physician father's condominium in Atlanta, she, Walcott and Natty become caught up in an armed robbery. It's during this robbery that Shandi meets William Ashe, a giant of a man with a palpable, lingering sorrow. When William takes a bullet during the robbery, Shandi decides to take on William and starts caring for him on the day he leaves the hospital. In due course, she discovers that William's suffered a tragic loss and finds herself fighting both his memories of happier times and his best friend, Paula, who makes it clear she wants Shandi out of the picture. However, Shandi is coping with a dilemma she thinks William can help her resolve: discovering the identity of the man who fathered her child. Shandi conceived Natty after being raped at a college party years before and still has enough of his DNA to possibly deduce his identity. William, a research scientist, has both the tools and the know-how to narrow down, if not figure out, just who her attacker might be. Jackson draws on her own Southern roots to paint this pitch-perfect portrait of a girl from a small town in Georgia. She traces Shandi's struggles to figure out what, if anything, William really means to her. Wrapped in a thoughtful, often funny and insightful narrative that brings Shandi and those in her satellite to life, Jackson presents the reader with a story that is never predictable and is awash in bittersweet love, regret and the promise of what could be. A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won't be able to put it down. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 July #1

Hugely best-selling Jackson is being positioned to break out even bigger with a love story that starts with a holdup at a gas station minimart. There, tall, blond geneticist William Ashe steps between the gunman and 21-year-old college student Shandi Pierce's three-year-old son. For William, wracked by past tragedy, it's not just a noble gesture but a conscious choice to meet destiny head on. With a six-city tour and a 150,000-copy first printing; pushed at BookExpo America.

[Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 September #2

Destiny. That's what Shandi Pierce is convinced brought her and scientist William Ashe together during a robbery at a Circle K store in rural Georgia, and that is what's going to help her answer a question that has been plaguing her for years. However, as their stories become more entwined and secrets from their pasts are revealed, Shandi wonders if she even wants the answer at all. VERDICT Jackson's sixth novel (after A Grown Up Kind of Pretty) is original and amusing, and the plot takes an unexpected turn with the introduction of a new character late in the book. Unfortunately, the clunky transitions among narrators and jumps between the past and present distract at times from the story. Still, Jackson's many fans and those who love authentic Southern fiction should enjoy this title. [See Prepub Alert, 6/3/13.]--Amber McKee, Cumberland Univ. Lib., Lebanon, TN

[Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 October #1

Friendships and relationships are tested by tragedy in this witty and insightful sixth novel from the author of Gods in Alabama and A Grown-up Kind of Pretty. Single mother Shandi Pierce is paralyzed with fear when she and her young son Natty are caught in the crossfire of a convenience store stickup gone bad. That is, until the dashing William Ashe steps between Natty and the gunman. Smitten by her erstwhile savior, Shandi buddies up to William, hoping their friendship can become more, but is stymied by complications in the form of Shandi's disapproving best friend Walcott, William's cohort Paula, Shandi's ever-feuding divorced parents, and William's own heartbreaking and as-yet unresolved past. With a deft wit and a series of stellar twists, Jackson creates a conventional love story that is also something more: an exploration of what draws people together, and pushes them apart; a commentary on faith's ability to unite or divide; and a reminder that "death brushing past makes people hungry to connect to other people." What emerges is a novel at once funny and touching, whose characters' many flaws are overshadowed by all the ways in which they look out for one another. The final denouement of Jackson's roller-coaster love story will leave the reader both thoroughly sated and hungry for more. (Dec.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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