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The Other Family

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,730 ratings  ·  137 reviews
From the bestselling author of Digging In comes a witty and moving novel about motherhood, courage, and finding true family.

With a dissolving marriage, strained finances, and her life in flux, Ally Anderson longs for normal. Her greatest concerns, though, are the health problems of her young daughter, Kylie. Symptoms point to a compromised immune system, but every doctor
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,730 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Before diving into The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan, I read her comments on the "review" space for this book, which gave exceptional insight into the inspiration behind the fictional story at play here. I highly recommend that you do the same, because it gave me a deeper level of connection to the plot, while also simply entertaining my inquisitive mind that always likes to know where the idea for a story has come from. It's no secret that the past couple of weeks/months, depending on which ...more
Loretta Nyhan
Nov 18, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I still can't rate my books--it doesn't feel right. What I can do is explain why I wrote THE OTHER FAMILY, and why I hope you'll want to read it...

So...I was at a party (shocker, I know) a few years ago. A group of us were discussing the now ubiquitous 23andMe DNA test--it was fairly new then, and people were curious. How did it work? If you did it, what did you find out? Were you surprised? Well, anytime people are that interested in something, my writerly brain kicks in, alert to
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked up The Other Family on Saturday, and I quickly finished it. It was so easy to read and heartfelt.

Ally is having a challenging time. Her marriage is falling apart, financially shes not in a good spot, and her daughter, Kylie, is having unexplained health problems. Ally pursues DNA testing for Kylie, and since Ally is adopted, this opens up a can of worms... She finds an aunt shes never met.

In this story, Ally, through her ups and downs, finds family in unexpected places. While I read The
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, kindle-first
I chose this as my March First Reads selection through Amazon.

In the author's notes at the end of the book, Loretta Nyhan mentioned that more and more people she knew were being diagnosed with autoimmune disorders. I could literally go on a tirade about the science and main cause behind these disorders, but I won't. This is a book review, not a biology lesson.

Nevertheless, reading about Ally running from doctor to doctor trying to find answers and not getting any at was beyond
Larry H
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-first
Familyin all its formscan be the most powerful tool we have. That's at least a theme of Loretta Nyhan's heartwarming and emotional new novel, The Other Family .

Its not that Ally is inordinately unhappyits more like shes been in a state of suspended animation for a long while. First it was discovering that her daughter Kylie had a dangerous peanut allergy when she was very young, but now Kylie just keeps getting sick. Although doctors cant quite pinpoint exactly what is wrong with her, they know
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
*minor edits and thought updates*
*Read for free via Amazon First Reads, my pick for March 2020*

I chose this because it sounded different from the other picks and I was intrigued by a couple things mentioned in the summary.

Aside from a few moments that had me tearing up, and the relationship between Ally and Kylie, mostly I felt this missed the mark overall. The way Kylie's allergies were done seemed done well to me and I wanted to hug her.

The idea was there ,just not executed very well. It isn't
Rochelle Weinstein
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nyhan has a knack for creating colorful characters with emotional depth and sharp wit. The Other Family is the touching (and timely) story of Ally Anderson, a devoted mother navigating through her daughter Kylie's life-threatening allergies. The diagnosis has taken its toll on Ally and her marriage to Matt, but also introduces a lively cast of characters through DNA testing (Ally is adopted), to help sort out Ally and Kylie's medical history.

Kudos to the author for introducing an alternative
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ms. Nyhan's characters are always believable. They are always human. This is the second book of hers I've read and I will read more.
Susan Peterson
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Other Family is an utterly engaging book, brimming with warmth and wit. The main character, Ally Anderson, immediately spoke to my heart; a woman with a sick child and a floundering marriage, who discovers strength, courage and determination. There is devotion and care on every page of this book; the interactions between these wonderful characters are not always easy, but they are honest and real and love-filled. This is a beautifully-written, profound, heartwarming book about the wonder of ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For Ally Anderson, life is uncertain. Her daughters constant illness from illusive allergies have Allys family constantly on edge, so much so, that a loving family drifts apart. The Other Family is a touching look into the dissolution of a marriage where theres no love lost, just a gradual drift, and the search for answers at all costs, even if those answers involve another family and a past Ally has been content to avoid until her daughters health depends on it. The Other Family stabs at the ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This was a joy to read! Kylies allergies brings her to numerous doctors visits. Those parts are heartbreaking and shows the bond of a mother & daughter. Unsure of her health history, Kylie takes a DNA test and finds Aunt Micki. The cast of characters are all fun and colorful! Thanks to Amazon Publishing for this Ebook copy. This is my honest review. ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've mentioned before that Amazon Prime Kindle First books are hit or miss, but for me, this one was a hit. I enjoyed the writing, the plotting (easy to follow and just the right pace), and the unusual topics of genetic testing and allergies. The characters were pretty balanced and believable.

While this is not Literature (capital L), it's a good book to raise discussion about kids in school with peanut and other allergies (something I've had close contact with) and finding out family history
Kerry Anne King
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Through the eyes of Ally Anderson, a delightfully vulnerable and surprisingly powerful woman who will stop at nothing on her quest to cure her daughters mysterious illness, Nyhan redefines the traditional boundaries of family and reminds us that strength can be displayed in unexpected and unusual ways. I loved every minute of this book and its cast of lovable, eccentric peopledont miss it! ...more
I chose The Other Family as my March Amazon Prime First Read. I'd previously loved Digging In, another of Loretta Nyhan's book which was - IMO - a lot more fully developed and intriguing than this one.

It's not a bad book at all. It's an enjoyable enough read, but I felt it rather scraped the surface of a bunch of issues without really going deep enough on any of them.

I've long been intrigued by the growth of home test DNA kits, not because I have any interest at all in knowing where I might have
Shannon (The Book Club Mom)
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan and Im very happy to report that it left a huge smile on my face. We all know that the past couple of days have been worrisome, scary, and depressing. My anxiety level is quite high and Im sure this is the case for a lot of you too. In this time of uncertainty, Im on the hunt for some books that can perk me up and warm my heart. Nyhans latest is overflowing with everything that I need. Its a delightful family drama chock-full of marriage ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
In this book an adopted woman begins searching for her birth mother in an attempt to help her own daughter who is ill with a serious autoimmune disease. Although she originally hopes to find medical information that may lead to a cure or an effective treatment for her daughter, she is soon caught up in getting to know her other family. In addition to dealing with her daughter's illness, divorce and her adoptive mother's unease with her daughters efforts add other dimensions to the story
Anna Holmes
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First reads equals first awesome book!

This book was a first reads choice and I chose it because of the allergy component. I really enjoyed learning about the different relationships in Allys life. It provided an escape but I felt connected to the characters. Great book!
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was my Amazon First choice for March, it was rather innocuous. It started well, but just seemed to peter along.
Michele Amedee
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed-2020
I give this 3.5 stars. It wasnt a mind blowing book, but it wasnt awful either. I dont regret reading it. If you enjoy stories where adoption is a main theme, you will probably like this book. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shari Ring Wolf
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely story

I get tired of psychological thrillers with an unexpected twist. I am over reading about this scary world and the idea that most people are not to be trusted. This seems to be the fare I'm offered when I'm perusing Amazon for something to read. I've done searches for different genres but tend to end up with sappy books about white bread people or corny love stories.

THIS book was what I was looking for. I chose it as my First Reads selection because I loved another book by this
Tristan Munoz
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This sweet story examines many important topics such as family, adoption, alternative medicine, chronic illness, severe allergies, divorce. All of these are handled in a very heartwarming, positive way. The characters are kind and supportive of each other. I wanted to enter this book and be part of this family!

The Other Family follows Ally on her journey as she searches for treatment for her daughter Kylies chronic illness. When their new doctor suggests DNA tests may prove useful in finding
Jamie Brydone-Jack
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction, 2020
Mama Bear Perseveres

This is a story of a mother who is embattled on many fronts. Her marriage has fractured. Money is tight. And she has a daughter who appears to have some sort of autoimmune disease, though the many doctors theyve been too can't figure it out. The very first scene shows how both mother and daughter are familiar with the routine at the doctor's office as they valiantly try yet again, hoping that this new doctor will figure out what's going on. This book did have a bit of an
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Touching family novel

I'm so glad I picked this book as the March Prime book. The story is about a woman who has a daughter that has a serious peanut allergy and autoimmune disease. The mother, who is adopted decides to search her DNA to see if she can find help for her daughter. The Other Family is her biological family, which leads to many interesting people who are a major contributor to herself and her family. I highly recommend this book to others and plan to read more by this author .
Jean Tracy
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DNA and family! Significant life changes and allergy issues --it's all here.

Ally's strengths and very human weaknesses are perfectly balanced as she learns about her biological family and struggles with the adopted child's fear of being enough. Her need to secure the best for her daughter who struggles with deathly allergies and autoimmune diseases pushes her beyond her safe zone even as she comes to terms with divorce. A quick informative read.
Scott J Pearson
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-stories
This story of adoption operates on the premise that adopted children have an adopted family and a birth family (the other family). The protagonist is adopted shortly after birth into a family which raised her. As an adult, she has a daughter who, in an all-too-common tale, comes down with severe peanut allergies. The lack of progress of treatment lead the duo to an allergist who practices holistic approaches to treatment, such as meditation and acupuncture. These approaches are adjuncts to ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ally's life is crumbling around her. Her daughter constantly has symptoms from an autoimmune disorder -- and Ally can't find any solutions. Her husband will soon be her ex-husband. And she doesn't have the finances to go to new doctors.

When Ally has her daughter take a DNA test, she finds out she has a relative she never knew about. After all, Ally was adopted by her mom, Sophie, and has little info about her real mom. Of course, she has to contact this relative -- and she doesn't want her mom
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Allys separated from her husband. A divorce is coming. She also has a sick child that doctors arent able to diagnose. Shes living with her Mom. She loves her dearly but they dont always see eye to eye. And now, her soon to be ex, husband is thinking of dating again because hes lonely.

This author does a good job of showing all the characters emotions. The main character is trying to do the right thing but she runs into roadblocks. She keeps going though. The author writes compassionately, with
Tristan Munoz
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This sweet story examines many important topics such as family, adoption, alternative medicine, chronic illness, severe allergies, divorce. All of these are handled in a very heartwarming, positive way. The characters are kind and supportive of each other. I wanted to enter this book and be part of this family!

The Other Family follows Ally on her journey as she searches for treatment for her daughter Kylies chronic illness. When their new doctor suggests DNA tests may prove useful in finding
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The Other Family is my first Kindle First Read book. Its a different type of book compared to what Ive been reading lately but I did enjoy it. It was a nice, easy read. It touched on some very real topics like adoption, the fears and emotions of having a sick child, divorce, and the ability to find love and family at any age if you open yourself up to it.
It took a couple of chapters to really get into it but the characters were so real I found myself drawn in. I found myself wanting to know
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Loretta Nyhan is the bestselling author of Digging In, All the Good Parts, and teen paranormal thrillers. She was a magazine writer and a writing teacher before jumping into fiction. Find her online at

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I was a reader before I was a writer, devouring everything I could get my hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and the instructions booklet for building the Barbie dream house. Later, my obsession with reading evolved into an absolute need to write. After college, I wrote for national trade magazines, taught writing to college freshmen, and eventually found the guts to try fiction.

I'm the

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