Cover Image: What's Worth Keeping

What's Worth Keeping

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Member Reviews

This was a very engaging story of a family of three who are all going through a 
personal trauma of their own, and of the people and places that help them through it.
I love a story that delves into the feelings of a character, and really brings them to life for me. This book does just that. 
The husband, a policeman plagued by the job he had to face after the Oklahoma City bombing, his wife who ends up wrestling with the onset of  an aggressive cancer, and the daughter who has to come to terms with the chaos around her.
Very well written, and a story that could help anyone going through a tough circumstance. The ways each of them deal with their issues are all great stories.
I will see what else this author has to offer.
I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book.
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A poignant and emotional book about a family dealing with their mother’s cancer and how they’re all dealing with it.
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First I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc In Return for an honest review.  What a plot, I have to say it had me gripped from the start, it had all the different types of betrayal all rolled into one book.. I though the characters were all well developed, and the different storylines were very original.  I throughly enjoyed this book
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Real. Raw. Brave. Emotionally true. These are the words that come to mind after finishing this book yesterday and reflecting on it some. I have survived cancer treatments and surgeries twice and have to say that the author is spot on with her descriptions particularly of the emotional ramifications of such a diagnosis. She doesn’t flinch from asking the real, raw questions about life and illness and even the possibility of death.

One of my favorite characters was Great-Aunt Rae. Her wisdom and tenderness with Amy (and also with Carly) was beautiful to my own sometimes-weary soul.

I think that any woman who has ever had cancer, past or present, would benefit from this novel, even if just for the fact that she would know she’s not alone.

Also, I loved that the healing power of nature was such a prevalent force in Amy‘s story of recovery and making her way back to good health
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Omg! I knew this was going to be a tear jerker. I knew it was going to hit close to home. She had the cancer. I had the cancer. Here we go...



I thought the book was ultimately going to be about Amy and her cancer journey. While this is about her journey, after cancer, this is also a journey about her husband, Paul and daughter, Carly. 

We have the three different POV’s: Amy, Paul and Carly. At first I thought, Paul and Carly were jerks. But, it turns out they have their own traumas and issues. 

Amy decides she has to get away. She has to find a way to heal. Not only from the trauma of cancer treatment, but of other things that have been haunting her. Secrets she found... So she’s going back to nature. This is the exact place I went after I got my energy back. The same place I go today, to hike, to get away, to feel love. 

*Uncorrected Proof Quote 

"I just want to be in the forest. I feel like nature is the only thing that might heal me. For months, I kept thinking that if I could just be with the really big trees, I would be okay."




Amy goes off on her own journey to visit as many National Forests as possible. We get to read about the beautiful places, feel the heartbreak of Amy’s thoughts (which really, only cancer patients understand), and slowly see her start to heal. 

Meanwhile, Amy and Paul discussed taking Carly to work on Great-Aunt Rae’s horse farm. 





Aunt Rae has Clydesdale horses and she takes people camping and trail riding with them. My favorite horse and Carly’s as well is T-Rex. She’s loved him since she was a little kid. 



Aunt Rae is one of my favorite characters. She’s the glue that bonded everyone together again. 

Carly loves the horses and her aunt. Carly finds herself on the farm, opens up about her anger and pain, decides what she really wants for her future and can finally get some peace. 



Paul is a cop and he’s only a few years from retirement. He’s battling his own demons from being a first responder in a bombing and watching the world and friends go downhill. This has taken its toll on him. Not to mention going through cancer treatment with Amy. 

At one point in the past the family bought a house not far from Aunt Rae’s farm in Chama, NM. Paul has finally started to fix up the house, trying to find his own peace of mind and create a nice home for the family to possible move into some day. He finally met some of the wonderful neighbors and I fell in love with Mr. Martinez. He helps Paul in some important ways. 

All of the pieces of their lives start to fit together the way they should. This was a long road for each person but getting there was the most rewarding in my opinion. I loved it and this book will be going on my real life bookshelf. 



*Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s for a digital copy of this book. 

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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Amy is going through her clothes. She misses so much about her life like her hair and breasts. I like when characters are named Amy. Paul is taking his daughter Carly to Rae's house in New Mexico. I loved switching to different characters. The gene Amy has that makes her likely to get breast or ovarian cancer could be genetic. Carly trys to not show how scared she is of the future. Amy is spending time in the forest in Washington. I thought Amy's cancer could be good thing it helped give a second chance to the marriage. I loved reading about how the family handled Amy's health. Paul is fixing up the old house he owns
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A lovely, haunting story about the echo of genetics and illness through generations. Very touching.

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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Loved this book!  I'm CANCER survivor so this about covers everything you wonder.  But told from a family eyes!  TRAUMA comes in ALL sizes and degrees;  its how you handle it that is the secret of Survivors wiliness to go forth
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This is such a highly emotional book that I almost didn’t read it.  I am 56 years old and I have Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. My cancer will never be beaten, I will never go into remission but I have battled it for 2 1/2 years and I will continue to battle it until there is nothing left to fight with. Amy’s diagnosis of cancer brought on so many emotions that she was unable to express them to her family, she was barely able to survive each day of treatment.  The author was bang on with what Amy was feeling and what Amy was unable to feel anymore. Reading the acknowledgements I see that the Author had cancer herself so this is likely why she could right such an emotional novel. She wrote a true scenario of how a person that is battling breast cancer feels.  While some of us will never have an “after” Cancer life we all are searching for a path that leads us to living a life that has meaning. You don’t have to climb a mountain or jump from a plane, you just have to find the peace within yourself to accomplish the little things that others take for granted. The author shows us, through Amy, that this is possible. I thank St, Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel.  I found it realistic and reassuring and instead of leaving me upset or feeling sorry for myself I felt a little more at peace. Thank you to the author for giving me this.  I have read a few other books by this author and they were all wonderful. Give this book a try, it will leave you feeling better.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.  This book follows a family as the all look for a second chance with each other.  It was a sweet story with vivid descriptions of national parks but the plot resolution seemed to predictable to me.
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This was a DNF for me. I had a lot of problems with this story, but the fact that a teenager is left to her own devices to try and sort through the emotional turmoil of her mother’s cancer without her parents even thinking about therapy and then just dropping her off at her great aunts for her to deal with her just didn’t sit well with me. 

I also found that the story being split three ways felt like just reading three different stories instead of one woven together story.
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Intersting story, I was a little confused about the timeline, I don't feel that I really got to know the characters except for the Aunt.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.  Amy Bergstrom, a wife, and mother, finds out she has cancer   Kaya NcLaren, tells us her story, not only about how it affects her but also the effect it has on her husband and daughter.  I think this book gave an accurate description of what someone would go through, the emotions, the dealing with it, and the decisions.  
It wasn't just about Amy having cancer, it was also her husband being a police officer and the effects of what he sees every day does to him.  Two things the world hears too much about but now we have a story that shows us how it impacts them.  After reading the book, I think I would pretty much do what Amy did, although I hadn't given it any thought until reading the book, but I also have a better understanding of what someone might be going through.   I know many police officers, and I never really stopped to think about what they see every day and what seeing the things they do, does to them. I don't think people talk about it, so I am glad this book was written.  For me, it was a wake-up call, with all that is going on today, think about others and what they might be going through.  
I definitely would recommend this book.  It is a journey, and with any journey to get beyond what is going on now, we have to keep moving forward.  I am going to print this off because no matter what, it is we are going through, this is what has to happen.  Thank you for writing this story, Kaya McLaren, you did an amazing job.
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A wonderful book with tragic situations. Cancer is not something easy to deal with. This book did a wonderful job writing about the family that surrounds it.

Thanks to the author, publisher and Net Galley for an early release if this book.
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Truly a beautiful heartfelt story of survival for a family. They are each going through Post Traumatic Stress and each learning to cope and move forward as a unit together.
Mom- Amy has had surgery, and then another, and then chemotherapy to stay alive. She needs to figure out her "New Norm".
Amy's husband, Paul has lived through a tragedy when the Oklahoma bombings took place and he was working there amongst the remains. He has "checked out" within his family in so many ways.
Their daughter, Carly, is angry. What if her Mom dies? What if she too gets this disease? Who can she confide in to help her?
This is their story and it is amazing!
My very favorite characters are Great Aunt Rae and T..Rex!

This family journey is definitely a soul searching novel for anyone. I loved it!
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When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation,  superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books??  BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth dying for.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

In Kaya McLaren's What's Worth Keeping, during one unforgettable summer, three generations of one family receive the best gift of all time: a second chance...

The day her doctor says the one word that no one wants to hear, Amy Bergstrom discovers a secret that her husband of 25 years has been keeping from her. Now that the months of treatment and surgeries are behind her, she escapes her claustrophobic life seeking healing, peace and clarity in an ancient forest in Washington State, a forest that holds memories of her childhood summers.

After dropping off his daughter at Amy’s Aunt Rae’s horse ranch in the mountains of New Mexico, Officer Paul Bergstrom visits the fixer-upper he had bought years ago as a place to retire with his family. Although it appears fine on the outside, the inside is a disaster—just like his marriage. When he finds himself with more off-duty time than he expected, he lovingly repairs his dream home, building the future he so desperately wants.

Witnessing her mother’s health crisis had been terrifying enough, but learning the cause was genetic leaves Amy's daughter Carly with the sense that all of her dreams are pointless. With the help of her eccentric great aunt and a Clydesdale named T. Rex, Carly just may find her faith in her future again.

Amy, Paul, and Carly discover that love and family are worth keeping in this powerful, emotional, and hopeful novel.

This was an enjoyable read, but it was just middle of the road for me - it was not exciting or engrossing and it does not have a storyline or characters that are engaging that I will remember, say, next week much less in 5-6 months when it is released. It is innocuous and inoffensive so if you just want a read that won't challenge you, this is the book for you. 

P.S. I need to say one thing, though .. I am SICK of books with women's backs on them as they look away, walk away or drive away.  Ditto male detectives/cops running away from someone or to a crime. Please get more creative, publishers. 

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube  Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 2.5 rounded up to 🐶🐶🐶
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What’s Worth Keeping is a heartwarming book of a family dealing with the mother’s cancer.
Kaya McLaren wrote this story from each family members poignant point of view.
This is such a heart touching story that I pretty much cried most of the way through the book.
This is a solid 5+ stars.
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