A fantastic exploration of motherhood.
The writing is amazing and I could not put this down. I love the sci-fi/fantastical elements and could feel the love and intense emotions of the MC.
4.5 rounded up.
maybe it was the reading slump i was in, but i just could not connect with this book. i thought the writing was good but didn’t connect with the story
There should be more books-thrillers that explore the vulnerabilities of motherhood and life of a parent!
Random House eArc read via Netgalley
Since the birth of her son eight months ago, Hannah’s life has revolved around him. His traumatic birth has been haunting her; she can’t shake the feeling that everything could have gone differently and he wouldn’t have survived. These thoughts of the different paths their life could have taken loom over her love for Jack and her marriage, making her question whether these thoughts are just anxiety or something more.
But when Hannah’s life turns upside down, and Jack disappears from his crib, she must travel across the different versions of her life to find him.
Goldstein-Love’s writing style is by far the most delicious treat of The Possibilities. Her dissections of motherhood and new-mom anxiety were unlike anything I’ve read before––so descriptive and immersive that I could truly understand and feel Hannah’s fears despite never having a child or being married. I’ve always felt that books about motherhood and the themes surrounding it never fully connect or immerse me in the narrative. Still, Goldstein-Love’s novel is a feat in this exploration.
Despite my praise of Goldstein-Love’s writing and themes, the non-linear timeline was sometimes challenging to keep track of throughout the novel. Yes, I do realize this is a multiverse, world-traveling novel, so a linear timeline isn’t going to be a mainstay, but I can’t tell you the number of times I was reading The Possibilities and was genuinely confused about where the novel was set and whether Hannah was in a different life. I realize this is to place us into the same confusion as Hannah, but I would have enjoyed this novel more if there was more clarity in the timeline or some signifier on the page/chapter. The ending was a let-down and felt rushed, without dissection of the gift or her mother’s role in the search for Jack.
A dizzying journey across the multiverse and motherhood, The Possibilities is a formidable novel from Goldstein-Love, yet it falls short in the end. Despite this misstep, this novel is an intricate dissection of motherhood, identity, and new-mom fears that asks, what if the life you didn’t live was as real as the one you did.
This ARC was provided by Random House and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Possibilities has me questioning what I just read. Is this time travel or alternate realities? Could this have been told without the missing son and the self-obsessed mom?
I usually like the idea of the missing child and the emotionally distraught mother trying to figure out who and how. But, this mother had no emotion other than her fascination with locating her mother. Was she trying to get back to her son?
This was not my favorite novel of the year, but if you like sci-fi with a mystery this is your read.
This one was just too over my head...I spent most of the time reading very confused and not entirely sure what the heck was going on. I know the science fiction genre can be tricky and hit or miss...unfortunately, this was a miss for me.
"The Possibilities" and I just never clicked. I’m puzzled by it, too, because Yael Goldstein-Love’s story of a mother traveling through parallel worlds to find her missing son should’ve been catnip to my mama soul. Without fail, I’m drawn to stories of motherhood – I relate to them so well, being a mom of two boys.
And I’m even half-mad at myself for not liking the book more than I did. Because the author does everything right – she gives us a sympathetic mom to root for while combining a smart story with solid writing.
But what’s missing is the emotional piece. Hannah’s panic over her lost Jack isn’t palpable. I didn’t feel frantic as she searched for him; her desperation never transferred to me. And without a sense of urgency, a tension while reading, I could’ve cared less whether she ever found him.
On a positive note, though, I’d very much like to read Goldstein-Love again. Her mind works in an interesting way, and I’m curious to see where her writing leads next.
My sincerest appreciation to Yael Goldstein-Love, Random House, and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All opinions included herein are my own.
I was unable to finish this book as it triggered my anxiety quite a bit as a postpartum mom, but I can tell it was going to be a powerful read. I'm hoping to pick it up again in the future once I have a better handle on my anxiety and OCD. Thank you for the opportunity!
I am honestly glad I didn't read this too close to having a baby! The parts of the book about new motherhood were so raw and real. I was so angry for the MC. But then there was a whole other side to this story that broke my brain a little bit. Definitely a good pick for sci-fi lovers.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be one thing, and then it just wasn’t.
I’m struggling to process my thoughts on this one because I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t what I wanted from it. I hate to compare books, but I went into this expecting a book similar to ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’ by Gillian McAllister and while there are a few similarities, this book just takes it to another level.
For me this book is the definition of “you really had me in the first half”. I was thoroughly invested in Hannah’s perspective and I - along with her - wanted to know what the heck was going on with her son. However, then a lot of wacky things start happening and I got lost along the way. I think I just got sick of the “I must save my baby” plot line as the book progressed.
Not a bad book by any means, just not my cup of tea. Maybe if you are a mother and/or parent you will connect with this story more than I did.
A well written, very interesting story. At times I was not sure what was happening nor why it was happening. But.
by the end of the book, even though I had been occasionally confused, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience.
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC
Seems as if all the books I've gravitated towards over the past year have been about quantum physics and alternate universes. Thought this book would have been a fun ride but it took all my energy just to finish it, even skipping pages here and there. The concept was great but the premise of how the main character comes to realize such possibilities along with her ultimate quest was disjointed. Moral of the story is: a mother's love for her child will pierce through universes even if the mother ultimately could lose herself in the process to save said child. Thanks NetGalley.
This book reminded me of Coraline and I loved it because it had a similar story line of mother and daughter working to find each other through their difficulties of life
What an amazing concept for a book! This story is written from both sides in a way that had me wondering which ‘way’ was real. The horrible part, both ways are sad…I couldn’t decide which story I was hoping was the real one.
A DNF for me, unfortunately. Premise (and cover) are really intriguing, but I couldn't get into the story or connect with the characters.
I felt completely enthralled by the first half of the book. As a parent I resonated with the theme and assumed the second half of the book allowed the reader to feel what the character was feeling. My mind kept searching for answers and more importantly, solutions. The story opened my mind and my heart to a new way of understanding the journey parents take when mindfully approaching the layers of what it means to have this new little person be a part of your forever. Eager to read more from this author!
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hannah is a first time mother and she loves her son Jack, but she cannot shake the feeling of “what if my son did not make it?” Even after 8 months of having her son, she keeps having terrifying visions of different paths of her life. She and her husband just wonder if this is just anxiety from being a first time mom, but is there chance that it could be something else?
However, one of Hannah’s fears come true. Her son disappears from his crib, and she learns that she needs to tap into an ability she did not know she possesses. Hannah will find herself hopping through all her alternative lives to find her son.
I really liked the plot line of The Possibilities with it being a science fiction and a suspense/thriller. Due to being Sci-fi and a thriller, it definitely made it interesting and engaging. For the most part the plot was executed well, but there were times I felt the plot got confusing.
World Building/Alternative Reality
As I mentioned with the plot there was times this book became confusing,
and I partially think this is because of how Hannah’s world and the alternative worlds were set up.
Thinking about it, the author probably set it up for us readers to be confused just like Hannah was when she discovered her ability. But, for me I really struggled in the beginning to get my bearings.
Hannah’s abilities were interesting for the most part, but when it was revealed on why and how she got the ability to jump through her alternative lives and then there is another reveal of why her son went missing, which I am not going to get into because of spoilers. But with that being said those two reveals felt like they were revealed super-fast and was not explored that well as well as grabbed out of thin air. It still worked for this book for the most part.
When it came to Hannah, I really enjoyed following her and seeing her different alternative lives. What I really loved about Hannah was her ambition to find her son and the extreme love for her son.
The Possibilities is a fast-paced book that hooks you from the beginning and makes it a quick read. However, the fast pacing allows this book to miss some marks and does not allow for exploration of the alternative worlds and Hannah’s. Plus, the ending felt rushed and wrapped up too fast.
Final Thoughts + Recommendations:
Overall, I found The Possibilities to be pretty enjoyable. I am not a mother to a human, just a dog, but if I was to put myself into Hannah’s shoes, I would be frantic and do anything to find my child. I cannot imagine the fear and anxiety that comes from your child going missing and having to go down different trails to see if it was a successful or not a successful trail that you followed.
I’m not a huge fan of thrillers anymore since I can find the twists to be predictable so I try not to read them that much anymore, but I did not find this to be predictable.
If you are a fan of thrillers, then you will enjoy this. If you are a fan of sci-fi you will enjoy this too. I think if you are not too keen on thrillers, I think this would still be enjoyable for you.
Enjoyed this one. Writing was a little muddled and messy but it worked out ok. Plot was really nothing new but the handling was different. Couldn’t call this an enjoyable read but it was an interesting one.
The Possibilities is a really brilliant book evoking the changes to the sense of self, worry, anxiety, and other massive changes that come along as a first time parent, and especially a mother.
As novelist Hannah gives birth to her son Jack, she sees both a live baby and one that was stillborn. Now, months later, she has flashes of both outcomes, and starts straddling both worlds and we and those around her don't know what to believe. Is she seeing her therapist for postpartum depression or grief counseling?
Then, things become really weird as her husband, therapist, mommy group, and others in her life begin to forget or doubt that Jack is alive.
Hannah digs deeper and begins to explore vast reaches of her possible lives where relationships with her mother, husband, and others are all quite different -- even down to how a better relationship with her mother (trapped in her own multiverse of possibilities) might have led her to a different writing genre, success level, and confidence.
Her quest, powers, and decisionmaking are a vivid metaphor for the choices we all have to make in how to anticipate and hopefully prevent disaster wherever possible -- which is especially vexing in that first year of a baby's life.
What a phenomenal, original, moving story this was! Motherhood is an insane state of being, and Goldstein- Love captured that insanity perfectly in all its technicolor glory. The science fiction elements and the interpersonal relationships were both so definitely managed and intricately interwoven. The characterizations were magnificent and the pacing was spot on perfect. This was it really fabulous and engaging story that captured my heart and my imagination from the first pages.