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And Sometimes Why    by Rebecca Johnson order for
And Sometimes Why
by Rebecca Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

One morning teenaged sisters Helen and Miranda are arguing over who gets to take their car. The next morning their lives are completely changed. Something happens to each of the girls to turn the family on its side. In her first novel, journalist Rebecca Johnson explores what causes a family to fall apart during crisis. Her beautiful prose is invigorating and captures the reader. Although there is no great drama in And Sometimes Why, I was propelled toward the ending and left longing for more of the tale.

Johnson features a cast of awkward characters, including a TV show host and his crew, a porn star-wannabe, and an unemployed cameraman, all of whom lead strangely interesting lives and who become intertwined as the story reveals itself. The author examines life questions, such as what keeps a marriage together? What is the right way to deal with a crisis? How long can you hold onto hope?

I found the novel irresistible and read it quickly within a few days. It is not fast-paced, and yet it urges the reader onward as Johnson delves deeper into the thoughts and lives of each character. I classified it to a friend as Jodi Picoult lite. There is not the intense mystery and surprise ending of a Picoult offering, but there is the same intricate weaving of characters and telescopic examination of each person in the novel. I highly recommend And Sometimes Why to any fan of contemporary fiction.

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