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If Only

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  32 reviews

When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant. With just a few months until she gives birth, Bridget must envision an entirely new future—one for her baby. But as she sifts through the many paths and the many people wh
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by HarperTeen
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3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  202 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I Imagine one line instead of two. That is the smallest difference. It’s everything.

I don't think I can express in words how much I enjoyed this book but I'm going to try. If Only is a story about the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters and how our relationships with others and the knowledge about our history can impact on our sense of self. Jennifer Gilmore did a fantastic job of writing every character in a realistic way, nobody is without their flaws and this adds to the em
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
. : ☾⋆ — 3 ★


ARC provided from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review (thank you HarperCollins!!)

If Only follows Bridget first, and then Ivy, two sixteen-year-old girls with two very similar paths but drastically different stories. circa october 2000, Bridget is pregnant and her best course of action is adoption. sixteen years later, in 2017, we meet Ivy, who has lead a charmed life so far. she has two loving mothers, a w
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
I received an ARC of If Only from author Jennifer Gilmore in exchange for an honest review, and I'm really glad that I did -- I absolutely loved this book! It had me laughing, crying, and everything in between from start to finish. This is a heartwarming story of love, belonging, and even a strong sense of loss. This book certainly takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, and it does it in all the best ways.

As the summary explains, sixteen-year old Bridget finds herself pregnant and unsure of wh
this means everything to me. that’s all ill say.
Samantha M.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
The hardest topics to read about are often the ones people most need to know about. If written about correctly, an author can make the reader come face to face with problems he or she never imagined would come into his or her life. Jennifer Gilmore manages to show readers a number of different worlds and feelings through her book, If Only.
A huge focal point of If Only was the idea of the power of a decision. Reading this book made me wish that there was a way to see how one’s decision could im
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“How do you make the decision that matters most?” Bridget never thought that at 16 she would be making decisions that would affect her whole future and change her everyday life. At 16 she finds herself dumped by her boyfriend for another girl --- and pregnant. As Bridget begins to envision a new life, one for her and her baby, she has to decide what to do for the best of both of them. Moving through the many paths and adoptive parents, Bridget fears that there is no right decision for them to b ...more
Rekha M
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bridget’s life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers she’s pregnant. She is sixteen years old and trying to decide who will be the adoptive parents of her child. During this process of confusion and stress, she is missing her ex-boyfriend, the father of her child. Sixteen years later, in 2017 Ivy, Bridget’s daughter, is living with her two moms. “The story is not complicated. It is either I was wanted or unwanted. My story is I was left behind or stayed with. I mean, I know, as in, I’ve be ...more
Angela Gyurko
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gilmore's If Only is proof that literary craft need not be dumbed down to appeal to young adults. Her perspective choices, switching between the child, the parents, and the if-only, make this novel. Gilmore slowly ties together of all the threads, some of them so subtly that they required a re-read and a few back-reads, just to be certain.

Ivy's rambling thoughts echo a genuine teen, and her first section contains no action, effectively echoing how much time teens spend in their own heads, in th
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fiction
I read a fair amount of teen fiction, but can't remember how this one came my way. Underwhelming and I remain a bit confused about who was who, aside from Bridget and Ivy.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The word that comes to mind when attempting to describe my feeling about this book is underwhelmed. As a reader I was not engaged and, quite frankly, bored at times. The writing style is a bit abstract, consisting of free floating thoughts from the two protagonists. Although I did appreciate the decision to include "what might have been" scenarios had the teenage mother at the heart of this story chosen other adoptive parents for her child, ultimately this clever literary device was not enough t ...more
Petra Willemse
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book just didn't do it for me. At first I was confused by the setup, then once I got it (dumb of me not to clue in sooner!), I thought it was kind of forced and silly. The whole book seemed to be making itself important and seem more thorough and thoughtful than it was.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
YOU CAN'T END THIS BOOK HERE!! NO! I need to see more. Give me 10 minutes, give me 10 years. Please please please.

The devil is in the details, and each one was painstakingly considered. Destiny is a huge theme here. Are we always meant to do the same things and encounter the same people in our lives? This is a book about choice, but it's also about how our choices don't matter all that much. I loved seeing the recurring characters, but wish that Ivy's friends showed up in some of the "If Only...
If Only is about relationships between women and the alternate realities we create to be closer to one another when life takes us away from each other.

The story begins in the year 2000 when Bridget, a pregnant teenager, is in the process to give her child for adoption and when 16 years later Ivy, her daughter, wants to know the woman that named her. Their stories are full of the understanding that when you make a hard decision it cannot be taken back and this relentlessness makes us create all t
Sep 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
What kind of ending was that?! I honestly started to get bored with it half way through and just wound up skimming it but that ending made me so mad.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Gilmore has written a lush, brilliantly empathetic novel about adoption, yes, but—more than anything—she has captured the aching and disappointment and the romance of youth. There is breathless possibility on every page of this book. Its structure captures the utter unpredictability of being alive. It will stay with me always, in large and thought-provoking ways but also in the small and poignant details. I truly could not put this book down
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: a2, july, 2018, harperteen
An okay book about an adopted girl and her birth mother, set in two time frames. I liked the looks at how different Ivy's life could have been, depending on which set of adoptive parents her mother chose. However, I didn't like the sections in Ivy's POV, the style of writing didn't sit well with me. This is a personal thought, though, I'm sure others will enjoy it just fine.

Okay, not the best, passed some time.
Linda M
Great story for pre teens

Would have rated better if the beginning chapters weren't so confusing! Still not sure what some chapters related to. The author might have stuck to the Bridget/Ivy theme to make it clearer. The extra info re: other unwed mothers at the end gave the story added dimension though not clarification. Enjoyed the ending.

Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best told-from-multiple-perspective stories I can remember reading. I loved all of the voices, but Bridget's has probably made the most lasting impression. I think because the point-of-view keeps changing, the book is hard to put down. Also it will make you cry. A lot.
Aly's Apologue
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful prose! The author has an emotionally powerful writing style. I read it in one sitting!
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story with twists and turns, couldn't put the book down, I'm fascinated how all the paths in this story cross, adoption is an amazing journey, but such heart ache is present at times.
Kati Polodna
Received at ALA Midwinter 2018. I liked the whole idea of this story but the “If Only” chapters at the beginning kind of threw me.
It was all underwhelming and boring. The characters were irritating or boring and I just didn't care what happened to any of them.
DNFed it at 205 pages.
Kim B.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely. Could've done with just a little more of Bridget's story, but all in all this was a wonderfully understated book with a lot of emotional heft to it.
Amy Hietapelto
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Good story but the flashbacks and interspersed stories made the novel confusing to follow.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was about as clear as mud. I couldn't keep the characters straight.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
realistic portrayal of an adopted teens journey to finding her birth mother and a teen girls journey to having a baby and giving her up for adoption.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought that this book was very different about the different adoptions that happen. I liked seeing the past with adoptions and the if only. I found it be a good story about mom's different love and love that comes from adoption.
Oct 25, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-new
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Jennifer Gilmore's second novel for teens, If Only, will be published by Harper Teen in July 2018. She is also the author the YA novel, We Were Never Here, and the adult novels, The Mothers, which is currently being adapted for film, Something Red and Golden Country, a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award.

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