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For several years, Zoe Baxter and husband Max have been trying to conceive a child through IVF (in-vitro fertilization). When finally it looks like their dream is about to come true, tragedy strikes again, and Zoe loses the baby. Zoe, devastated but undaunted, wants to try again. Max can't handle it and files for divorce. Zoe's friendship with colleague Vanessa grows into a loving relationship, which leads to their same-sex marriage. Zoe yet longs for a child and realizes that she and Max still have frozen embryos at the fertility clinic. Perhaps she and Vanessa can have her biological child. What ensues is a roller-coaster ride among the religious right, the GLBT contingent, and the hearts and minds of the families involved. The narration by Therese Plummer, Brian Hutchison, Michele O. Medlin, and Mia Barron makes this a captivating story. Recommended for all public libraries. ["Sure to be a hit with (Picoult's) myriad fans and keep the book clubs buzzing," read the review of the New York Times and LJ best-selling Atria: S. & S. hc, LJ 1/11; the Washington Square pb will publish in November.-Ed.]-Valerie Piechocki, Prince George's Cty. Memorial Lib., Largo, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Picoult's overstuffed latest (after House Rules) is stretched just to the breaking point. Max and Zoe's marriage, stressed by infertility problems and miscarriages, is finally destroyed by a stillborn baby. After their divorce, Max moves in with his brother and sister-in-law, Reid and Liddy, and backslides into self-destructive drinking, while Zoe devotes herself to music therapy (the book is accompanied by a CD in Zoe's voice, with awkward lyrics by Picoult) and develops a friendship with guidance counselor Vanessa that eventually turns into love and marriage. Max, meanwhile, converts to an evangelical brand of Christianity that pits him against Zoe when she asks Max for permission to use their frozen embryos. Max's discomfort with Zoe's same-sex relationship and his desire to repay Reid and Liddy, who have their own fertility problems, mean a legal battle looms. Picoult abandons her usual efforts to present an equal view of both sides of an issue-Max is a pitiful right-wing puppet; Zoe, Vanessa, and their attorney are saintly-but her devoted fans will nevertheless find everything they expect: big emotion, diligent research, legal conflict, and a few twists at the end. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Picoult treats all sides of this complex morality tale with honesty and dignity, which is what readers have come to expect from her." --"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"