Title: The Odds of You and Me
Author: Cecilia Galante
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 384
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Women's Fiction / Contemporary Fiction
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who like deep, heartfelt stories that show the real struggles people face every day.
Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
In the vein of Meg Donohue and Sarah Jio, Cecilia Galante’s second novel delivers the powerful story of one young woman who’s faced with an impossible choice—one that could have her making the biggest mistake of her life.
Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just 13 days?
But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.
Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other.
Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?
It's a bit unbelievable to me still, how books can sometimes completely blindside you. You'll be going about your daily life, a book will fall into your lap, and suddenly it's the exact story that you need to read at that exact moment. It's like the author knew just who you were, and what was missing, and came along to fill that void. The Odds of You and Me was exactly that. I wasn't expecting this book, it simply showed up for review. I'm honestly so glad that it did. I can't believe I almost missed the opportunity to fall in love with this book.
Bird's story is one of so many layers that it's almost impossible to really touch on them all in this short review. What I can say is that Cecilia Galante isn't afraid to peel back each one of those layers, down to the deepest part of the soul. She allows the reader not even just to crawl into Bird's head, but almost to become her. I felt her pain, her love, her elation, her hate, her confusion, and each bit of it filled in a part of my own soul. I was able to pick her apart, to the point that I was so invested in this story that I sobbed while reading it. My life might not be a mirror to Bird's, lord knows she has it much harder than I do, but just seeing someone else at a place where they still don't feel like they have their footing yet made me whole somehow.
See, Galante doesn't shy away from the parts of life that we all hide from the outside world. Bird has made mistakes, she's grown from them, but she also shows us that there is always growing to do. Her character is one that questions things, examines her feelings, and shuts things away. She's basically any one of us at any given moment. I've never seen such pure emotion laid out on a page, to be honest. As an example, Bird's love for her son Angus is so bright that it's blinding. Yet at the same time she admits that most of the time she struggles to even feel like she mildly knows what she's doing as a parent. Learning, growing, fighting, it's all there in vivid color as Bird simply tries to exist in a world that doesn't always feel hospitable. Nothing here is black and white, everything is up for debate, and I loved that more than I can say.
There are discussions of love here, and the tense relationships that we might have with others. So delicate that they can crack at any moment. There are insights about caring for others, despite their past decisions, and possibly stepping over the boundaries set by society to do good for someone else. As I mentioned above, there is even a discussion on being a parent and feeling like you're constantly floundering. Bird's raw commentary on raising her son, as a single mother, and feeling utterly helpless at times will speak to a lot of readers out there. Or, if you're like me, her battle with religion as an upbringing versus religion as an adult will hit home too. Like I said, there's so much wrapped up here that I can't touch on it all fairly. It simply exists together, in this beautiful web of a story, that will catch you up and likely evoke feelings that you weren't even expecting.
To sum it all up, The Odds of You and Me is absolutely beautiful. It's a raw, emotional, story that isn't afraid to dig deep into the emotions of a woman who is simply trying to navigate life. I recommend you have a box of tissues handy for this book. I really do.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.