I enjoyed reading this book, but I didn't particularly like it at all( if that makes any sense). And to be honest the more I think about it the more things I find to dislike. But let's start with the good stuff.
I enjoyed the writing style - I think that's actually what kept me reading. Although it was muddy at times when the time table changed from present to the story the main character was telling, for the most part it was easy and pleasant.
I liked the lesbian best friend living next door - although to be completely honest, her character felt a bit too flat and there could have been more to her story.
I also enjoyed having things told from Chloe's point of view, but there wasn't nearly enough of that.
Now onto the things I didn't enjoy. The main character was pretty much horrid for most of the book - controlling, prejudiced and selfish (which boggles my ind because you'd think that having a child with Down syndrome would make you understand things better). The story definitely revolves around Alicia, it only gives off a fake impression that the story is about Chloe. It's about Alicia hating her ex husband, it's about Alicia's dating life, it's about Alicia's dreams and hopes that got ruined, it's about Alicia's regrets, it's about Alicia's feelings... You get the drill.
In some sense I liked reading about the challenges of raising a Down syndrome child - it's the way Alicia handled things that I disliked so much. At moments the things she said and thought, while were raw and true for her, really bordered on being just plain rude. She did come around at the end of the book, and was a bit better about things, but my opinion of her was well ruined by then.
I honestly think that when parents who have down syndrome child (or any other mental disability) read this book would be offended by the tone of the storytelling. I certainly was - and I don't even have kids.
The plot was very predictable and also had a lot of unnecessary fillers that didn't go anywhere. Alicia's outing to her old church. There was a significant amount spent on this but by the end it was never mentioned again at all. Alicia's constant need to tell Randall everything and ask his opinion, while it was clear that he didn't give a flying rat's ass about anything. A lot of decisions and things she did were out of character and had no real meaning behind them.
The ending was the worst part. First of all it was very predictable. Second of all, it was just so messed up.
Chloe dies and Alicia is left with a perfect, healthy baby boy that her daughter delivered. Thomas gives up his parenting rights and so do his parents, so it's Alicia's baby now. She finally got a healthy, normal baby that she always wanted. I'm sorry, but what the hell is this load of crap? Her disabled daughter conveniently dies and Alicia gets to do her life over with a new baby AND a new boyfriend??
END OF SPOILER
At first I thought that this book was great for Down Syndrome rep, but after that ending I am not completely sure it was repping in it's favor at all.
Also, any book that bad mouths any breed of a dog, be it a Pit bull, a Shepard, a Doberman, a Husky, automatically gets a no-no from me. There's enough stupid "dog breed prejudice" online or from the people on the streets. No need to bring it into books. Dogs aren't born vicious, just like people aren't born evil.
I wouldn't recommend.
Freelance BETA reader.