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Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried—once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail’s desire for a child overwhelms her. Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to c Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried—once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail’s desire for a child overwhelms her. Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to college and getting out of her mother’s home. When she makes the gut-wrenching decision to give her baby up for adoption, she chooses the Durbins. But Carli’s mother, Marla, has other plans for her grandbaby. In Other People’s Children, three mothers make excruciating choices to protect their families and their dreams—choices that put them at decided odds against one another. You will root for each one of them and wonder just how far you’d go in the same situation. This riveting debut is a thoughtful exploration of love and family, and a heart-pounding page-turner you’ll find impossible to put down.


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Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried—once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail’s desire for a child overwhelms her. Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to c Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried—once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail’s desire for a child overwhelms her. Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to college and getting out of her mother’s home. When she makes the gut-wrenching decision to give her baby up for adoption, she chooses the Durbins. But Carli’s mother, Marla, has other plans for her grandbaby. In Other People’s Children, three mothers make excruciating choices to protect their families and their dreams—choices that put them at decided odds against one another. You will root for each one of them and wonder just how far you’d go in the same situation. This riveting debut is a thoughtful exploration of love and family, and a heart-pounding page-turner you’ll find impossible to put down.

30 review for Other People's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Clap! Clap! Clap! Long whistle! I don’t have enough words at my vocabulary to express my adoration for this book! It’s magnificent MASTERPIECE! It made me think so hard ! It made me cry! It made me pissed off! It made my heart pound too fast! It made me ache! I adored all those multiple voices and I enjoyed to read their different narrations! Interestingly you can’t take sides at this book because all of the characters are right from their own perspective. Sometimes truth can be subjective and m Clap! Clap! Clap! Long whistle! I don’t have enough words at my vocabulary to express my adoration for this book! It’s magnificent MASTERPIECE! It made me think so hard ! It made me cry! It made me pissed off! It made my heart pound too fast! It made me ache! I adored all those multiple voices and I enjoyed to read their different narrations! Interestingly you can’t take sides at this book because all of the characters are right from their own perspective. Sometimes truth can be subjective and multi dimensional! I can honestly say if I could grade this book with 10 stars or giving away the entire galaxy I would do with great pleasure! It’s heart wrenching, making you lose control of your emotions! It’s vicious stab to your heart! Your ugly tears start dropping without giving any warning! It’s also action packed, thrilling, making you sit at the edge of your seats. You just want to forget everything in your own life, hiding under a blanket like a protective cocoon and flipping the pages to find out what will happen to all those characters! Because honestly they all grow on you. Dear Gail who suffers from miscarriages, feeling abandoned by her own social circle, becoming estranged with her husband, sharpening knives as she keep gritting her teeth because only thing can make her happy is being a mother. Now she has a chance! She found a young girl who wants to give away her baby! Gail’s husband Jon wants to make his wife happy but he is scared because his bipolar mother couldn’t give him proper household when he was a young boy and his years at the trailer park give him second thoughts about difficulties to become an appropriate father who completely provides a little child’s needs! And poor 18 years old Carli, has been raised in a trailer by her cold hearted, bitchy mother, planning to be a nurse, taking her second chance to go to college for better future. Her sister and her own mother treat her mean so she cannot get her own family’s support to raise a child! Best thing is giving her to adoption, isn’t it? But what if she’s making a big mistake. Paige is the officer who arranges the paper works, coordinating everything work flawless during adoption process but some cases are still risky because young mothers can always change their minds after giving birth and keeping their babies! And Carli’s bitchy mother turns entire issue as a vendetta after having brief talk with Josh at the hospital. When she gets mad because of condescending looks and humiliating comments of Jon, she decides to put pressure on her daughter to keep her baby. Her boiling feelings get too far and turns into an obsession because she feels like all the wrong things she’s done and keep doing during she has been raising kids can be compensated by helping to raise her granddaughter! Well she was the most irritating character of the book. Even though you hate the guts of her, you may easily learn to empathize with her point! What if the mother of the child changes her mind and adopting parents want to keep the baby even though it means they have to leave the country and live like fugitives! Do you want to know what will happen to all those remarkable characters! Just read this amazing book! I do everything in my control to promote this amazing read! Because it’s not only great! It’s extraordinary! I’m so happy this fantastic read put this brilliant author on my radar! Special thanks to NetGalley and Simon& Schuster for sharing this freaking fantastic reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Contemporary/Women's Fiction . We follow a lot of different characters, but the storyline flows very well even with switching through the different characters point of views. I have to say if you are going through an adoption then this may not be the book for you. I loved that this book so all sides of an adoption. This book is so well written, and I loved the characters in this book. The ending was just ok, but the middle was everything. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by This is a Contemporary/Women's Fiction . We follow a lot of different characters, but the storyline flows very well even with switching through the different characters point of views. I have to say if you are going through an adoption then this may not be the book for you. I loved that this book so all sides of an adoption. This book is so well written, and I loved the characters in this book. The ending was just ok, but the middle was everything. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Simon & Schuster) or author (R. J. Hoffmann) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    3.5 stars The sadness a couple feels when they are unable to have a child of their own is portrayed in this story. Gail has had a number of miscarriages and she and her husband, Jon, are devastated. They decide to go the route of adoption, and when their qualifications are accepted by a teenage girl, Carli, it sets in motion a series of events that bring consequences that probably were somewhat evident. As we learn more of Cali, we find her living with her foul mouthed mother, Marla, who certainly 3.5 stars The sadness a couple feels when they are unable to have a child of their own is portrayed in this story. Gail has had a number of miscarriages and she and her husband, Jon, are devastated. They decide to go the route of adoption, and when their qualifications are accepted by a teenage girl, Carli, it sets in motion a series of events that bring consequences that probably were somewhat evident. As we learn more of Cali, we find her living with her foul mouthed mother, Marla, who certainly did not ever seem to have the credentials of being a fit mother to her two daughters. It as no wonder that Cali sought to give up her child to Gail and Jon to try and protect her from what Cali's life had been. There is a sensitive and understanding social worker who understands the stress and duress that all the parties are going through. As she waits for Cali to sign the final papers that will move the adoption to completion, there is soon to be trouble. The parties involved go through the various cycles of loss, grief, and anger. It's a tale that seems to have no viable conclusion where someone will walk away unscathed. This sad tale, while it did express the anguish the people felt, seemed to handle particular elements of the story in a light handed manner that just didn't make sense. It tended to go around and around trying to delay the inevitable that this reader knew was coming. However, the story, I am sure has played out many times in life, for a child, a wanted child, is the crux of what drives people at times. Thank you to R.J. Hoffman, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this story due out April 6, 2021.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    Other People’s Children is a story about family with a couple adopting a baby from a teenager. Gail and Jon want a child but after struggling with infertility, they turn to adoption. Carli is a pregnant teenager that chooses to give her baby to them. Marla, Carli’s mom is very against Carli giving up the baby. The story is told through alternating perspectives. Everyone has very different opinions on family and what is best for the baby. The woman in charge of the adoption wants to make sure the Other People’s Children is a story about family with a couple adopting a baby from a teenager. Gail and Jon want a child but after struggling with infertility, they turn to adoption. Carli is a pregnant teenager that chooses to give her baby to them. Marla, Carli’s mom is very against Carli giving up the baby. The story is told through alternating perspectives. Everyone has very different opinions on family and what is best for the baby. The woman in charge of the adoption wants to make sure the baby ends up in the best home and thinks about her personal experiences. The character’s opinion on what they want changes throughout the book. Other People’s Children is emotional and really pulled me into the character’s stories. I recommend Other People’s Children for fans of books about family and adoption. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michael David Axtell, Amanda Dolan, Madeleine Maby, Marni Penning, Tara Sands, and Pete Simonelli. All the narrators did a great job. I really enjoyed having a full cast of narrators to voice all the different characters and bring their personalities to life. Thank you Simon & Schuster Audio and Simon & Schuster for Other People’s Children. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  5. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    Oh this book...crushingly sad throughout. Yet, I loved this novel from start to end. It is authentic and a true treasure for those who are looking for more than just a good story. It is maybe one of the most no-nonsense novels I've ever read. And every woman who's ever had a miscarriage will identify and sympathise with Gail, yet I ended up being very angry with her....then learned to forgive her with all my heart. I mean the ride of emotions from this book and the tense situation Oh this book...crushingly sad throughout. Yet, I loved this novel from start to end. It is authentic and a true treasure for those who are looking for more than just a good story. It is maybe one of the most no-nonsense novels I've ever read. And every woman who's ever had a miscarriage will identify and sympathise with Gail, yet I ended up being very angry with her....then learned to forgive her with all my heart. I mean the ride of emotions from this book and the tense situation towards the end nearly gave me a heart attack. The characters emotions were penned beautifully, I really felt for all of them, what heartbreakingly sad decisions all around. I would call this book a couples journey...with so many ups and downs and it was described in a way that one can relate to with all the feels. Simply unbelievably dense, yet fantastically well written with a lovely, natural flow to it. All. The. Stars. Disclosure: Thank you NetGalley, R.J. Hoffmann, Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #NetGalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Solar

    I don’t have kids. I don’t want kids. I have never really wanted kids. But this book about how far parents will go for their children is an incredibly emotional read that even childfree readers will be moved by. 🤱🏻🤰🏼 Gail and Jon Durbin are a married couple who desperately want a child. They’ve suffered multiple miscarriages and have been sending out their adoption book to no success. Finally, 18 year old Carli picks them to adopt her baby. Carli has a terrible home life, with an abusive mother a I don’t have kids. I don’t want kids. I have never really wanted kids. But this book about how far parents will go for their children is an incredibly emotional read that even childfree readers will be moved by. 🤱🏻🤰🏼 Gail and Jon Durbin are a married couple who desperately want a child. They’ve suffered multiple miscarriages and have been sending out their adoption book to no success. Finally, 18 year old Carli picks them to adopt her baby. Carli has a terrible home life, with an abusive mother and no real support system, so the decision to give up her baby wasn’t a hard one for her. But Carli’s mother Marla is against the adoption, and gives Carli an ultimatum before signing the final consent to give up her rights: reclaim the baby or find a new place to live. Meanwhile, Jon and Gail have fallen in love with the baby, and when they find out Carli intends to reclaim her daughter, they decide they will do whatever it takes to keep her... legal or not. 🤱🏻🤰🏼 This is a heartbreaker of a book, and you’ll somehow be rooting for and against every character. The books that tend to hit me the hardest are ones with no real “bad guy,” and while there are certainly characters in this book that are more likeable than others, I found my allegiances changing every chapter based on who the focus was. I found the writing to be beautiful and the story to be perfectly paced. All of the characters were well developed, and I really loved learning their stories and how each of their lived experiences effected their decisions. I loved everything about this emotional and suspenseful book, and I’d definitely recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alanna

    A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me this arc last week. Unfortunately I didn’t love it nearly as much as the V.P. & Editor in Chief did in her enclosed letter. Here’s why: First off-trigger warnings for miscarriage, infertility, adoption, verbal, and physical abuse. I never include warnings but if you are sensitive to these topics this book is not for you. Secondly, it was written by a man. Not to say that he couldn’t have experienced infertility, but the whole first half of the bo A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me this arc last week. Unfortunately I didn’t love it nearly as much as the V.P. & Editor in Chief did in her enclosed letter. Here’s why: First off-trigger warnings for miscarriage, infertility, adoption, verbal, and physical abuse. I never include warnings but if you are sensitive to these topics this book is not for you. Secondly, it was written by a man. Not to say that he couldn’t have experienced infertility, but the whole first half of the book dealt with this and I had a hard time reading it knowing it was missing just a little something on these sensitive topics from the female perspective. I used to drink just any old tea. Then I learned about loose tea and unbleached bags, and became a tea snob. In similar fashion I used to read any old book. Now I dissect them and look for own voices, diversification and read with intention. I admit it; I have become a book snob. Despite what I just wrote, the first half had me hopeful for dialogue about these topics. As a woman who has dealt with infertility and miscarriage, I know I’m far from alone in these experiences, but they are still taboo topics and isolating times for many. When Jon and Gail can’t conceive, they turn to adoption and think this will be the answer, until twists are thrown their way. The second half takes on a different path, goes completely off the rails, and loses the purpose I was hoping for as an outcome of reading the story. I didn’t like the characters and felt they were all slightly underdeveloped or stereotypical. I love getting unexpected book mail and was thrilled to dive into this but it’s just a middle of the road three star read for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christian Bloomgren

    What did I just read? Other People’s Children, by R.J. Hoffmann, was not what I expected. The first half, (though SLOW) was what I bargained for when I purchased the book. A fictional drama about a couple yearning to start a family. Here is a brief synopsis. Gail & Jon Durbin have been facing infertility issues for quite some time. After several miscarriages, they choose to adopt a child. The Durbin’s connect with Paige from an adoption agency. With Paige’s help, the Durbin’s are introduced to C What did I just read? Other People’s Children, by R.J. Hoffmann, was not what I expected. The first half, (though SLOW) was what I bargained for when I purchased the book. A fictional drama about a couple yearning to start a family. Here is a brief synopsis. Gail & Jon Durbin have been facing infertility issues for quite some time. After several miscarriages, they choose to adopt a child. The Durbin’s connect with Paige from an adoption agency. With Paige’s help, the Durbin’s are introduced to Carli. Carli is a soon to be Mom placing her baby up for adoption. Carli comes from a troubled family, and has little to no support. The father of the baby has chosen not to be involved. In addition, Carli’s mother, Marla, is verbally abusive and certainly not a beacon of strength during such an emotionally difficult time. Each chapter of the book is told from a different character’s perspective. I liked this approach. It allows the reader to understand how each party involved in the adoption process is uniquely different in the way they think and feel. This format did an excellent job providing a good sense of the tension a marriage succumbs to when struggling through infertility. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect to Carli and her mother Marla. Hoffman molded them into the typical teenager from a bad family stereotype, and I personally found the chapters they narrated annoying to read. I wish the author could have capitalized on a stronger emotional perspective from the birth mom’s point of view. Hoffman missed an opportunity to have the reader in turmoil over who to root for. I was hoping Hoffman would uncover a courageous birth mom who was struggling with a decision. Should she selflessly give her daughter up for adoption to provide her with a life she could not provide at this point in her life or take on the challenge of raising her daughter on her own when the odds were stacked against her? Instead, I felt Carli’s character was lost in a lackadaisical, wrong side of the tracks, teenage mold, and any chance of connection with her was lost. Midway through the novel, the story switches gears into a domestic crime/thrill ride, and though I appreciated the more exciting pace, I found the overall plot line far fetched. Without spoiling the plot, I can only say that multiple bad decisions exacerbated character flaws that negated my ability to engage in the overall story. I also wasn’t expecting a wild goose chase ending?! As a mother and a professional who has had experience in the world of adoption I was yearning for more of an emotional tale of motherhood pinpointing the sacrifices that are made for our children. This novel missed that deep emotional mark I was hoping to unearth. If you’re looking for an over-the-top tale about the lengths people will go to to protect their children and create a family read Other People’s Children. Unfortunately, this novel was not what my mama bear heartstrings set out to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    When I was about 40 pages in, I read the author's bio, assuming he was a lawyer or something who decided to try his hand at writing as a lark. I was surprised to see that he had an MFA in writing because this reads like someone who has never read a book before. Sorry that's mean but the writing is so bad. The plot is bad too. Oh and the characters? Also bad. I am only giving this two stars because giving one makes me feel like I'm kicking a puppy. When I was about 40 pages in, I read the author's bio, assuming he was a lawyer or something who decided to try his hand at writing as a lark. I was surprised to see that he had an MFA in writing because this reads like someone who has never read a book before. Sorry that's mean but the writing is so bad. The plot is bad too. Oh and the characters? Also bad. I am only giving this two stars because giving one makes me feel like I'm kicking a puppy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

    I have to force myself to keep reading past the weird and sexist character descriptions. Carli is "almost pretty" as her face gets fatter? Gail is "pretty in a way that used to embarrass Jon"? Jon is "lanky in a manner that didn't appeal to many other women"? What do any of these even mean? In any case, with these types of descriptions that rely on vague beauty standards, the author makes it clear that he is a man writing. At times I found it hard to suspend disbelief. I don't understand why st I have to force myself to keep reading past the weird and sexist character descriptions. Carli is "almost pretty" as her face gets fatter? Gail is "pretty in a way that used to embarrass Jon"? Jon is "lanky in a manner that didn't appeal to many other women"? What do any of these even mean? In any case, with these types of descriptions that rely on vague beauty standards, the author makes it clear that he is a man writing. At times I found it hard to suspend disbelief. I don't understand why state workers wouldn't have investigated the house and discovered the laptop and journal with all the information they needed to find them. Instead, some rando is able to waltz in on behalf of Marla and get it for her. It doesn't make sense. I'm not sure how to feel about the ending. Gail is pregnant again, Carli has her baby, and Marla is under house arrest. I wasn't really rooting for any of the characters, and while I found Carli the most relatable and am happy for her, I still feel somewhat ambivalent. The baby herself was mostly just an object passed around throughout the story (as most real-life babies are just crying poop machines, I know, I know). Overall, I personally didn't feel much during the story. For the most part I was just trying to get it over with and find out who gets the baby in the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    From the pages of OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN comes a tale so very deeply moving the reader is wrenched from one character to another, each with clashing perspectives of what is right or should be. When the story is told from the perspective of Gail and Jon, a childless couple of more than adequate means, adoption is the bond that will bind them together into that perfect family they seek. Carli on the other end of the spectrum is the impoverished teen with a rough upbringing, but who is amazingly s From the pages of OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN comes a tale so very deeply moving the reader is wrenched from one character to another, each with clashing perspectives of what is right or should be. When the story is told from the perspective of Gail and Jon, a childless couple of more than adequate means, adoption is the bond that will bind them together into that perfect family they seek. Carli on the other end of the spectrum is the impoverished teen with a rough upbringing, but who is amazingly smart and has dreams to go with it... just not the means. She is a pregnant teenager still living in her abusive and wistful mother, Marla’s home. Carli wonders through the pregnancy almost alone with the exception of her social worker, Paige, and Gail. She tries to focus on her future past the gut-wrenching decision to give the baby to the Durbins. Marla is incensed that Carli has chosen to give up her child and doesn't see her future more than her own, so I detected some jealousy that Carli might be able to rise above Marla's station in life. Marla plays it off that this is the chance she never had as a single mother... she seems to want to have a relationship with her grandchild, in fact, she longs for a better relationship and has the idea that this grandchild will provide it. Status and economic differences are drivers of Marla's anger about the Durbins almost to the extent that she wishes to withhold the child as a form of punishment to the Durbins. Her position to Carli is that she will regret this forever, right after she calls her names and hits her. This sets the stage for multiple sets of actions after the withdrawal of consent to adopt sends everyone into action to support their agenda without regard to the wellbeing, laws, or injury to others. The book jacket doesn't lie, I did root for more than one of them... The story is steady-paced, intriguing, and intense. It is a page-turner and one that is difficult to put down, just as the jacket promises... I think it might be one of the better reads so far this year... I can't recommend it enough! 5 stars Happy Reading!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sabine

    I don't remember reading an almost 400 page long book in a day in a while but this one made it easy. For me, it really was a compulsive read. It was really enjoyable and fast paced but also dark and disturbing as well as depressing at times. The book is a fantastic character study of five people--a social worker for an adoption agency, a birth mom, her mother and the couple who wants to adopt the baby. Carli finds herself pregnant by her "meth head boyfriend" and decides it is too much to raise I don't remember reading an almost 400 page long book in a day in a while but this one made it easy. For me, it really was a compulsive read. It was really enjoyable and fast paced but also dark and disturbing as well as depressing at times. The book is a fantastic character study of five people--a social worker for an adoption agency, a birth mom, her mother and the couple who wants to adopt the baby. Carli finds herself pregnant by her "meth head boyfriend" and decides it is too much to raise a baby at 18 without parental support or support from a partner, no money, no education, etc. Her mother is very unsupportive and arguably the most horrible character in this book. I pictured Ursula from the little mermaid the whole time whenever her mom, Marla, was mentioned. The couple adopting them have been through a few pregnancies and miscarriages (if you have had this experience yourself, you will likely not want to read this book as it will probably be too much) and are now ready to apply for adoption. Gail is obsessed with getting a baby and her husband Jon plays along because it is so paramount to her. The couple has a lot of issues and maybe bringing a baby into their relationship will only add more stress, but who knows? Of course Carli's mother starts a verbal altercation with Jon outside the delivery room and Jon is arrogant enough to engage instead of just allowing her to vent and makes Marla so mad she swears to get him back. And here's your complication. (slight SPOILER ALERT HERE) Because arrogant Jon made some foolish remarks, vindictive Marla now vows to get her grandbaby back and convinces Carli not to sign her final adoption release so they can reclaim the baby. And after Carli reclaims her baby all hell breaks loose and this character study turns thriller very quickly. I LOVED this book. It was SO GOOD and well written (with a few SMH moments: the author is a man who should have talked to a new mom or a nurse or OBGYN to get himself up to speed on labor and delivery and post partum but it was only a minor flaw) . Anyway, this was really a very suspenseful unputdownable read for me and I loved spending my Sunday with this book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie Morrison

    In the spirit of full disclosure I read about 60% of this book, saw where it was going and then I read the final two chapters. This book was a bad stereotype all around. The baby crazed infertile woman, the young from the wrong side of the tracks mother, her mother who was “ain’t no one gonna raise my grandbaby”. If the event of adoption wasn’t so deeply misunderstood to so many, I might be able to read this story as a total work of fiction and leave it at that. But adoption is so nuanced and th In the spirit of full disclosure I read about 60% of this book, saw where it was going and then I read the final two chapters. This book was a bad stereotype all around. The baby crazed infertile woman, the young from the wrong side of the tracks mother, her mother who was “ain’t no one gonna raise my grandbaby”. If the event of adoption wasn’t so deeply misunderstood to so many, I might be able to read this story as a total work of fiction and leave it at that. But adoption is so nuanced and there are so many moving parts and so many choices that both the birth mother and the intended family have that I feel like this book gives a world of misinformation and bad stereotypes to what adoption actually is. I couldn’t get behind it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Happy pub day! 4/6/21 The only thing better than book mail is unexpected book mail! I am immensely grateful to Simon and Schuster for my review copy!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This was an exceptional book 📚! Dealing with the issues of miscarriage, adoption and the birth mother torn between putting a baby up for adoption and keeping the baby. Told from three points of view of three very people. The potential adoptive mother, the real mother and the maternal grandmother. A page turner I give this book 5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    james P. ONeill

    One of the silliest, poorly written novels that I have recently read. Did Mr. Hoffman consult any law enforcement agencies concerning kidnapping and its consequences for the people who cross state lines before adoptions are finalized. Additionally, can he describe Maya in any other way by how she smells? "Milk duds, vanilla, pears"......stink is one of his favorite words. It is not a bad premise. The pain of losing a child, on both sides of the coin, could be an arresting account of people experi One of the silliest, poorly written novels that I have recently read. Did Mr. Hoffman consult any law enforcement agencies concerning kidnapping and its consequences for the people who cross state lines before adoptions are finalized. Additionally, can he describe Maya in any other way by how she smells? "Milk duds, vanilla, pears"......stink is one of his favorite words. It is not a bad premise. The pain of losing a child, on both sides of the coin, could be an arresting account of people experiencing unbelievable pain. I am sorry that he didn't do it justice.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN BY R.J. HOFFMANN Gail and Jon live a comfortable, well off life together except for the fact that they both want children and Gail has had three miscarriages and so they decide to adopt a newborn baby. Gail has a habit of writing lists of everything which will be part of this couple's undoing. They have the nursery room all decorated and Gail has been meeting with Paige who is handling their adoption. Paige is ethical and doesn't choose sides. Carli is used to meeting with G OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN BY R.J. HOFFMANN Gail and Jon live a comfortable, well off life together except for the fact that they both want children and Gail has had three miscarriages and so they decide to adopt a newborn baby. Gail has a habit of writing lists of everything which will be part of this couple's undoing. They have the nursery room all decorated and Gail has been meeting with Paige who is handling their adoption. Paige is ethical and doesn't choose sides. Carli is used to meeting with Gail throughout her pregnancy whose father of the baby is a drug addict and doesn't want anything to do with Carli or the baby. Carli has picked Gail and Don to adopt her baby based on a book that Gail has put together. Carli has already attended the abortion process by witnessing her good friend by accompanying her friend and decided to give birth and put up her baby for adoption with Don and Gail. Her mother is an undesirable character and is both physically and emotionally abusive to Carli. Carli has pretty much closed herself off emotionally from her own baby by purposefully not looking at the sonogram pictures that Gail attends with her. While Carli gives birth her brutish mother Marla shows up at the hospital and demands that Carli look at her baby daughter before the nurses whisk her away. The baby daughter that she has reminds her of the scent of vanilla. The baby goes home with Dawn and Jon and they fall instantly in love with her and they name her Maya. Carli's mother Marla threatens Carli that if she signs the final form of consent document that Marla will kick her out of the home. When Paige contacts Carli that the adoption will be finalized just as soon as Carli signs the consent form Carli tells Paige that she has changed her mind. Paige who remains neutral has the agonizing job of contacting Don and Gail that they have to give back their new daughter, whom they already bonded with and have fallen in love with they decide to not return the baby and flee the country with her. My heart broke for both Gail and Don as new parents but it also broke for Carli when she made the decision to not finalize the adoption by refusing to sign the final consent form. I was on both of their sides wanting all three of then to be able to love that precious newborn baby girl. I didn't feel anything hopeful towards Marla who promises to pay two thuggish men who she works for $5000.00 each if they go and find Don and Gail and stop them from their plans of driving to Canada and returning with the baby. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend this. It was both very realistic and a well plotted and well character developed story that has a lot of appeal. Publication Date: April 6, 2021 Thank you to Net Galley, R.J. Hoffmann and Simon & Schuster for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. #OtherPeople'sChildren #RJHoffmann #Simon&Schuster #NetGalley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    Gail and Jon are desperate to have a child they can all their own. After numerous miscarriages they have decided to adopt, but soon discover that that process has its own difficulties and challenges. Carli is a teen who, after discovering that she is pregnant, decides that the best thing she can do is give her child to a family that can care for him or her better than she can. Not everyone agrees with her decision however, specifically Marla, Carli’s mom and the baby’s grandmother. How far are G Gail and Jon are desperate to have a child they can all their own. After numerous miscarriages they have decided to adopt, but soon discover that that process has its own difficulties and challenges. Carli is a teen who, after discovering that she is pregnant, decides that the best thing she can do is give her child to a family that can care for him or her better than she can. Not everyone agrees with her decision however, specifically Marla, Carli’s mom and the baby’s grandmother. How far are Gail and Jon, and Carli and Marla, willing to go to get what they want, and what will they do to protect the ones they love? Wow! Other People’s Children did not go where I thought it would at all based on the description. I really like the style that Hoffmann used to present the story, showing the events through the eyes of multiple characters. The decisions made by some of the characters, as well as the growth of some, is very apparent, specifically because of the narrative style used. The growth of one character in particular (I won’t say who so as to not give anything away) was rather powerful and sends a strong, predominantly positive message to the reader. I also enjoyed the short length of the chapters; they seemed almost to represent or symbolize the rashness of some decisions and the speed of the consequences, along with adding some suspense at times that made Other People’s Children hard to put down. The characters are realistic and relatable and I could understand, even if I didn’t agree with, their various choices. I really wished that things could work out for everyone, but just like life, it doesn’t always work that way. I highly recommend Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last. It is an honest novel that I think many will enjoy. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and R.J. Hoffmann for gifting me an advanced copy of Other People's Children in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Lynn

    [2.5] A great start, and then... R.J. Hoffman's Other People's Children follows multiple characters through the adoption process: birth mother, Carli; Carli's mother, Marla; adoptive parents, Gail and Jon; and the adoption counselor, Paige. While I appreciated the different perspectives presented initially, I felt that the story fell flat by the end, for a couple reasons. 1. The characters themselves ended up feeling a bit stereotypical by the time the story concluded. Most pointedly, Carli and G [2.5] A great start, and then... R.J. Hoffman's Other People's Children follows multiple characters through the adoption process: birth mother, Carli; Carli's mother, Marla; adoptive parents, Gail and Jon; and the adoption counselor, Paige. While I appreciated the different perspectives presented initially, I felt that the story fell flat by the end, for a couple reasons. 1. The characters themselves ended up feeling a bit stereotypical by the time the story concluded. Most pointedly, Carli and Gail: Carli is an underachieving pregnant teenager, whereas Gail is a well-to-do, middle-aged woman who is borderline obsessed with achieving motherhood status. But the other characters as well: Marla is the typical picture of trailer trash, Jon is an emotionally constipated husband, and Paige is a well-meaning adoption counselor with a secret past (three guesses what it entails). While I recognize that obviously these types of people exist in actuality, the level of depth provided in Other People's Children was not sufficient for helping me, as a reader, see them beyond those stereotypes. 2. The twist was, frankly, lame. I didn't enjoy the direction that the story took about halfway through, and I didn't find it suspenseful. At best, I was mildly curious as to what the outcome would be. It's simply been overdone, and probably contributed to the issues with stereotypes described above. I was hoping for something a little more 'real'. This is a story about mothers, something that should have bearing for most readers, yet Hoffman choses such an inauthentic and trite plot. This is a shame especially because there are certainly some complicated mother-child relationships nestled within this book... (view spoiler)[Carli is neglected and abused by Marla, but knows little of the sacrifices that were made for her. Marla desperately wants Carli to have a better relationship with her own daughter. Gail is constantly at odds with her own obnoxious mother, who has clear opinions regarding what is was like to raise Gail, as well as Gail's infertility. Jon was raised by his aunt and has not seen or spoken to his birth mother since he was a child, which contributes to his deeply seated fear of not being cut out for parenthood. And Paige was a pregnant teen herself, set up for an adoption by her own mother, who she is now estranged from given that she backed out on that adoption after she gave birth. Lots of dynamic here, and each very unique. (hide spoiler)] A deeper exploration of those relationships in wake of the major adoption events may have felt more realistic (and been more interesting imo). All in all, I was a bit disappointed here, but can't discount that I was initially intrigued and impressed. Will keep my eye out for future works to see if they fare better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    This was not what I was expecting. It’s more of a 3.5. I would’ve given it a 4 but I felt the Marla character was not realistic and that her storyline was not necessary.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Full of Lit

    I really liked the storyline of this book. I found it to be very relatable as a mother, and also just from putting myself in the place of Gail. The subject matter is tricky and I’m not sure there are every any winners in a situation like this. A child being given up for adoption and a mother having the right to take that child back (for 6 months in some cases) has long been something I have thought about. I’m sure a lot of people will take sides in this book. I did. The ending was bittersweet. T I really liked the storyline of this book. I found it to be very relatable as a mother, and also just from putting myself in the place of Gail. The subject matter is tricky and I’m not sure there are every any winners in a situation like this. A child being given up for adoption and a mother having the right to take that child back (for 6 months in some cases) has long been something I have thought about. I’m sure a lot of people will take sides in this book. I did. The ending was bittersweet. The only negative in this book for me was the dialogue of Carli and more so Marla. The author seemed to go out of her way to let the reader know that Carli and Marla were what is described in the book as “poor white trash” and that didn’t work for me. I thought it could’ve been written better and there needed to be more character development with Carli and Marla as well as their part or the story. Thank you in advance to netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marian Woods

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I feel really grossed out by this book. I stuck with it for the first hundred pages, then grew weary of what I can only describe as a voyeuristic account of the pain of mothers. As I skipped the middle 200 pages to an astonishing scene of torture, I glimpsed that the author is male. Ah ha. That explains it. Contorting an extremely sensitive subject into some kind of convoluted thriller would be the work of a man. I don’t want to read this subject matter from a male point of view. I feel validated I feel really grossed out by this book. I stuck with it for the first hundred pages, then grew weary of what I can only describe as a voyeuristic account of the pain of mothers. As I skipped the middle 200 pages to an astonishing scene of torture, I glimpsed that the author is male. Ah ha. That explains it. Contorting an extremely sensitive subject into some kind of convoluted thriller would be the work of a man. I don’t want to read this subject matter from a male point of view. I feel validated in this opinion especially given the length to which he wrote about the pain of a woman’s postpartum stitches. Really? I skimmed enough to get the gist of how the story ended, and I hated that too. Yuck all around.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Unable to conceive a biological child, Gail and Jon consider adoption. Meanwhile, Carli is unexpectedly pregnant. How will their stories connect? "What she had done became real, and although she expected to feel empty, she [also] felt hopeful. She wasn't quite sure which was worse." Well, wow. What did I just read? This fictional account of adopting a baby was not at all what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best way possible! It started out sweet and hopeful, perfectly capturing the firs Unable to conceive a biological child, Gail and Jon consider adoption. Meanwhile, Carli is unexpectedly pregnant. How will their stories connect? "What she had done became real, and although she expected to feel empty, she [also] felt hopeful. She wasn't quite sure which was worse." Well, wow. What did I just read? This fictional account of adopting a baby was not at all what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best way possible! It started out sweet and hopeful, perfectly capturing the first few magical days of parenthood, including the joy, the exhaustion, and oh that newborn baby smell! But then, whoa. There were so many twists and turns that it almost turned into a thriller. If you're looking for something unexpected to tug at your heartstrings, then grab this debut and buckle up for a crazy ride! Location: Elmhurst, Illinois I won an advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Koist Spence

    No❤️

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate Jordhamo

    I'm not even sure where to begin with this review. Other People's Children is about what makes a family, the decisions we make to protect our families, and what it truly means to be a good mother. Gail and Jon, after suffering several miscarriages, begin the adoption process. Carli, a pregnant teenager, chooses them to be her child's parents. Carli's mother, Marla, however, has a different plan for her grandchild. The story mainly follows the three mothers as they navigate the adoption process an I'm not even sure where to begin with this review. Other People's Children is about what makes a family, the decisions we make to protect our families, and what it truly means to be a good mother. Gail and Jon, after suffering several miscarriages, begin the adoption process. Carli, a pregnant teenager, chooses them to be her child's parents. Carli's mother, Marla, however, has a different plan for her grandchild. The story mainly follows the three mothers as they navigate the adoption process and make some hard choices about how far they will go for their own idea of their family. I found this to be a really nuanced look at the adoption process, and how difficult it can be for both parties. The writing was compelling, intense, and rich. I truly felt the desire, heartbreak, anxiety, and desperation from each of the characters. The narration switches also really worked for me - it was a great way to tell the same story from several different perspectives. This book engrossed me - I was completely riveted. I did not want to put it down, and thought about it every second that I wasn't reading it. I found myself rooting for different characters at different moments, and empathizing with the excruciating decisions they each had to make. My allegiance changed every 5 pages, and I found that to be a testament to strong character development and exceptional writing. I found the ending - while not entirely satisfying -- heartbreaking and hopeful. There were so many layers in this book, and I think I will be digesting them for quite a while. I truly thought this was going to be a 5-star read for most of the book, but by the end it had gone off the rails a little bit. The narrative leaned a little too heavily on stereotypes when describing Carli and Marla -- especially Marla. I thought the story could have been just as strong without reducing her to a toxic cliche. I am ending up at 4-4.5 stars - I am still thinking about this book, and that says a lot for me. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this novel!

  26. 4 out of 5

    kristinaaa

    This was an ARC I graciously received from Simon and Schuster Canada, so I didn't really know what to expect. Also, if you know me, you know I very very very rarely read books written by men (it's just a weird thing of mine that just HAPPENS, okay?!). After the first 25 pages I was grumbling to myself "this is why I don't read books written by men rah rah rah". In the second page of the book our female MC over generalizes men and women by saying how envious she is of men that they can have conve This was an ARC I graciously received from Simon and Schuster Canada, so I didn't really know what to expect. Also, if you know me, you know I very very very rarely read books written by men (it's just a weird thing of mine that just HAPPENS, okay?!). After the first 25 pages I was grumbling to myself "this is why I don't read books written by men rah rah rah". In the second page of the book our female MC over generalizes men and women by saying how envious she is of men that they can have conversations about nothing whereas women MUST have deep conversations only. On the twenty fourth page of the book our male MC is freaking the fuck out about having a new born baby even though he specifically made the choice NOT to read the baby books his wife shared with him so he could be more prepared. I was not enjoying myself, clearly. BUT THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED. The plot of this book is so strong and had some wild curveballs thrown into it. One moment I thought I was reading literary fiction, the next I felt like I was in the middle of an action-packed thriller. I loved it. I loved going back and forth between several different characters as the story unfolded - it made for a much more engaging story. And I loved how decisions were being made by all characters in the book that would then impact other characters either directly or indirectly. It was smart as hell and I am here to say you should read this book, even if the first twenty five pages might annoy the heck out of you. Because you see, I realized that the very annoying things the MCs were thinking were the MCs, not the author. The author wrote those characters to think such frustrating things. I don't know why I wasn't able to see that right from the beginning, but I couldn't, and I needed the whole story to see it. I'm really glad that I stuck through those first moments and got to the amazing story that Other People's Children ended up being.

  27. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    The Story: Determined to expand their family, Jon and Gail Durbin turn to adoption after Gail had three miscarriages. Carli, a pregnant teenager who desires to go college, finally chooses the Durbins to be her child's adoptive parents. But Marla, Carli's mother, has a different plan for her grandbaby. Soon, these three mothers will face an agonizing dilemma and making a bad choice seems to be the only right choice. My thoughts: Let me start by saying that this was an emotional rollercoas The Story: Determined to expand their family, Jon and Gail Durbin turn to adoption after Gail had three miscarriages. Carli, a pregnant teenager who desires to go college, finally chooses the Durbins to be her child's adoptive parents. But Marla, Carli's mother, has a different plan for her grandbaby. Soon, these three mothers will face an agonizing dilemma and making a bad choice seems to be the only right choice. My thoughts: Let me start by saying that this was an emotional rollercoaster read! It was a slow-burn suspense filled drama that explores family love and relationships. A very well-done character driven story told in different POVs. The conflict between and within the characters themselves, had me rooting for all of them! Their thoughts and feelings about the dilemma they are facing, seem so real and I could feel their pain. But in the end, Carli ended up as the character I liked most. Overall, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I'd be. It was a well-plotted story which had me compulsively turning the pages. An unputdownable book that you don't want it to end! Pub. Date: April 6th, 2021 ***Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me this review copy to read & review. ***

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffman is the story of Gail and Jon a couple who are desperate for a child. After suffering through several miscarriages they turn to adoption. Other’s People Children is also the story of Carli a pregnant teenager who has some very difficult choices to make for her baby and herself. This book did a great job of showing desperation and want. I felt for all of the characters (well almost all of them) and could see both sides of this problem and wanted Gail and Jon Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffman is the story of Gail and Jon a couple who are desperate for a child. After suffering through several miscarriages they turn to adoption. Other’s People Children is also the story of Carli a pregnant teenager who has some very difficult choices to make for her baby and herself. This book did a great job of showing desperation and want. I felt for all of the characters (well almost all of them) and could see both sides of this problem and wanted Gail and Jon and Carli to have what they each wanted. Every chapter was told from the point of view of a different character (I love when books do this) so with every point of view I was cheering for that character. As someone who has experienced the pain and sadness of multiple miscarriages I could completely relate to Gail and the feeling of wanting nothing other than my pregnancy to stick. Hoffman did a great job showing how Gail and Jon planned for their life to go one way and the tough choices they had to make. This book was a great reminder that so many of say “I could never do that,” but once you are in that situation you really never know.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    This book is so bad, I wish I could get a refund. (Yes, I paid good money for this drivel.) It promised a "thoughtful exploration of love and family," and certainly was anything but that. It's cheap pop-fiction with some dubious "action" that is all so very difficult to believe. Horrible. The author doesn't understand nuanced emotion... or women... or that "smell" and "stink" are not synonyms of one another. While I'm at it, since when do babies smell like Milk Duds? Wha? Because other than apple This book is so bad, I wish I could get a refund. (Yes, I paid good money for this drivel.) It promised a "thoughtful exploration of love and family," and certainly was anything but that. It's cheap pop-fiction with some dubious "action" that is all so very difficult to believe. Horrible. The author doesn't understand nuanced emotion... or women... or that "smell" and "stink" are not synonyms of one another. While I'm at it, since when do babies smell like Milk Duds? Wha? Because other than apple and pear, he also mentions about a half-dozen times that the baby smells (sometimes "stinks") like Milk Duds, and that was before I stopped counting. All that aside, this is not a thoughtful exploration of anything, and is certainly not an emotional book about the lengths we go to for our children.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This is a story that has been told before and yet I was fully absorbed in the book from the first line thru the last. It held so much truth...I felt the character’s pain...I believed their feelings and relationships. At one point I questioned whether something would really happen that way but concluded it could, things can spiral and the character’s actions made sense based on their backgrounds. As always I love a book where I learn something, anything, and this one includes tidbits on the makin This is a story that has been told before and yet I was fully absorbed in the book from the first line thru the last. It held so much truth...I felt the character’s pain...I believed their feelings and relationships. At one point I questioned whether something would really happen that way but concluded it could, things can spiral and the character’s actions made sense based on their backgrounds. As always I love a book where I learn something, anything, and this one includes tidbits on the making and sharpening of knives, psychology and music. I hope this author is far along on his next book as I highly recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early release in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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