“The public loved to express an opinion – never more so than on the internet – and right now, the full force of those primarily negative opinions was headed directly her way.”
For readers who love issue-driven fiction, Melissa Hill has written a breakout novel exploring the “to vaccinate or not” debate and the tragic consequences of one mother’s decision on another.
Single mom Kate O’Donnell is living her worst nightmare. Her young daughter, Clara, who has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to be vaccinated, becomes critically ill when one of her classmates, Lauren-whose family chose not to vaccinate-contracts and spreads the virus. While Lauren has no trouble recovering from the disease, Clara’s condition worsens. With time spent by her daughter’s bedside, Kate loses her job and slides deeper into medical debt. But when another school parent points the blame at Lauren’s mother, Lucy, and the media begins an attack, we see two very different views on parenting and how badly things can spin out of control when all either of these two women wanted was to keep their daughters safe.
Wow okay so it definitely wasn’t kidding when it said it was an issue-driven novel, the debate regarding vaccination was at the forefront of the book the entire time and was in my opinion well thought out in regards to giving both sides of the argument in a fair and non-subjective way. Though saying that as the events went on it did tend to sway back and forth. Now in regards to vaccinations itself I’m not really going to go into the differing opinions, as one I’m pretty sure people already have their own opinions and thoughts regarding this and two as I don’t have kids I don’t really feel I’m in a position to say too much on the subject as who knows in different circumstances I may have a different opinion.
The novel focuses on the story of two mothers who in essence have made the decision not to vaccinate their children for different reasons, one medical, one personal. When both little girls get sick, one ends up in a life threatening situation, while the other recovers quickly. This leads to a court case, an issue which is debated heavily online and personal attacks on both mothers. Now what captured me most about this book was how realistic it seemed. As I mentioned both thought processes behind the decisions were explored extremely well and I generally felt I could understand where both mother’s were coming from, as well as that I really felt as if I was reading a number of the comments online and not from a book. Public opinion is a fickle beast and the author was really able to demonstrate that. As for the characters both mothers were well developed though I will admit to liking one more than the other. The two little girls did not have much or a role in the book (apart from getting sick) but it was obvious most of what was done was for them. How the events played out kinda of made me think of a Jodi Picoult book (controversial issue, multiple POV, inevitable court scene) which sort of made me love it more but as I mentioned I think the main thing I loved was just how easy it was to follow the differing thought processes and how different circumstances can result in different decisions as well as no matter how much research and thought we may put behind something, you just can’t predict all possible outcomes. It’s definitely a book I would highly recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Would I read again: Yes
Would I Recommend: Yes
Would I read another book from this author: Yes