Cover Image: Hold My Girl

Hold My Girl

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Member Reviews

I loved this book! Katherine and Tess were fully fleshed characters and it really informed their actions and reactions. You could clearly understand both of their perspectives and why they would fight for custudy of their daughter. This is a fascinating look at IVF and the struggles many women face in order to conceive. I also loved the novel's in-depth look at generational trauma, mental health, alcoholism, infidelity, and racism, which were all well done and deftly woven into the story. This is a complex story expertly told with an unpredictable but satisfying ending.
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I really enjoyed this book. My only complaint was that it was a little longer than I would have liked. 
I enjoyed the character development. I found myself rooting for Tess. I wanted her to succeed. Her situation was so heartbreaking. 
I thought Katherine’s side of the story was just as heartbreaking, and even though I felt both women made bad choices, you could really understand why they made the choices they did. 
This is one I would recommend.
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After seven difficult years of trying to conceive, Katherine gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But it's more than noticeable that Rose's skin is white, her hair is straight and almost blond. It doesn't match Katherine's light-skinned complexion as a Black woman. Bluish-green eyed Tess also underwent IVF at the same clinic but her daughter was stillborn. Now nearly one year later, Tess is consumed by grief, divorced and broke. Just before Rose's first birthday, the fertility clinic calls both women with life-changing news: their eggs were switched.

Motherhood has been Katherine's and Tess's dream. Now neither woman wants to share that claim over Rose. Hence a tense custody battle with racial identity overtones. So very quickly the story turns emotional and left me questioning the definition of motherhood and what makes a mother? Who is to blame and who is deserving? How much is too much to share?

I have marinated on this review for months. No exaggeration—I read it back in the summer. I stalked it until it was available for United States book reviewers. The publisher's summary was that intriguing! So when it finally arrived on my Kindle, I was beyond excited to read and review it. I cleared plans and read half of the book in one day. I forced myself to put it down and took my time reading over the next two days. And here I sit, nearly five months later, still thinking of the deeply moving story, the emotional themes, the moral lesson and its memorable characters.

Charlene Carr is officially on my watch list. I will read whatever she releases next and have signed up for author updates. Hold My Girl is so well written that I recommend it to every Bookheart that enjoys grown chick lit. You will view love differently and see why Hold My Girl is the best book I've read in 2023. And to the decision-makers and screenwriters, please adapt this book into a movie! 

Two women. Two eggs. One life-changing switch. Hold My Girl is now available.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins. ~LiteraryMarie
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This novel centers on the heartbreaking contemporary issue of infertility and IVF treatment---and the possibility of a mistake.  I found this to do a great job of explaining the stress on marriage and relationships that these issues evoke.  This is a tough read that allows you to stand in each characters shoes, but they all are going to give you blisters.  Very well written, but may be a tough subject for some.  Thank you NetGalley and publishers for providing a digital ARC for review.
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Thank you to the author Charlene Carr, publishers Sourcebooks Landmark, and as always, NetGalley, for an advance digital copy of HOLD MY GIRL. All views are mine.

I tried to read HOLD MY GIRL twice, and neither time was I able to connect to the style, the story, of the characters. I've read quite a few reviews on this book, and it certainly seems like a book I would enjoy. Other readers have for reasons I usually value. Based on this, I think this is just bad luck. What I call "a me thing." I would still recommend this book as it wrestles with some important and perhaps neglected themes in literature, such as infertility and fertility treatment. Thank you to the author and publisher for including trigger warnings in the front matter. Such an important thing.

Rating: 🫄🫄🫄 babies comin'
Recommend? Yes!
Finished: Oct 7 23
Format: Digital arc, NetGalley 
Read this book if you like:
💻 contemporary fiction 
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 family stories, family drama
👶🏻 having babies (or not)
💇‍♀️ women's coming of age 
💉 hormones and infertility
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My emotions are haywire after finishing this book, there's something so beautifully heartbreaking about it, it makes you question all your decisions and everything you thought to be true.

We get the point of view of both women, and in both of them we see how much trouble and pain a mother would go into to keep her child, but also slowly you notice imperfections on both sides, especially Tess' and the imperfection with Katherine was that she was too perfect, never letting herself take a moment of breath, so slowly but surely there are doubts in your mind about who will get custody or how much custody they will get, you're not sure but the doubts are there.

The twists, both big and small, blow your mind and make you question everything you learned about that character, but you can't stop yourself from giving them another chance.

This is an emotional book, with a very heavy topic, it's made me question a lot of things and has given me fears that I know I shouldn't be worried about from now on, especially since I don't want children, but the fears and worries are still there. I hope that all the women out there going through something like this have a good support system with them, and I hope that they get their chance at being a mother.
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This book packs a real emotional punch. If you have ever struggled with growing your own family in any way, tread cautiously with this one!  Two women with very different backgrounds find themselves entangled in a custody battle after an IVF nightmare. Tess’s character is great - multilayered with an intricately woven arc. Katherine on the other hand is cookie-cutter, Pinterest-perfect and her character could use with more nuance.  All in all, this was a really interesting story and the conflict kept me engaged through the end.  

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
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I am glad that I did finish this book, but there were times when I almost didn’t. Slow moving and lots of the characters inner thoughts bogged me down. Good story about what could possibly happen when you undergo procedures to become pregnant. Very much a story of emotions about motherhood.
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I received a Digital Reader Copy from Sourcebooks Landmark through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Readers should be sure to look at the content warning that the author put at the beginning of the novel.  

This is a novel that truly made me think. What would I do if I were in the same situation? I connected with both Katherine, and Tess. I believe readers who enjoy books where both sides of an issue/situation are contemplated will enjoy this novel. I look forward to reading more from Charlene Carr.
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Katherine and Tess visit the same fertility clinic.  Tess has a stillbirth.  Katherine and her husband have a beautiful daughter.  Now, a year later, the clinic informs them that their eggs were intentionally switched and Rose is the biological child of Tess and Katherine’s husband.  The three parents all want Rose.  How will the dilemma be solved?  Charlene Carr does an excellent job by presenting the story from both women’s POV.  Nothing is as straightforward as it seems.  I highly recommend this engaging read.  I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Hold My Girl, by Charlene Carr, is a very good book, with a whole lot going on.  The story flows effortlessly, thankfully, because if it didn't, the reader would most likely be lost.  There is an enormous amount of social consciousness, mixed expertly with a beautiful story of familial love and devotion.  I was pleasantly surprised that throughout the book, I remained interested and curious as to how the author would choose to reveal the ending.  The characters are likable, in an "I'm not quite sure whose side I am on" kind of way.  All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Hold My Girl, sped through it, was intrigued and entertained, and will definitely recommend it to my reader friends.
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Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr is an engaging read that ponders the question of what it truly means to be a mother. This story of Katherine, Tess, Rose, and Patrick focuses on the discovery of an embryo switch and what do you do when both mothers have a claim. What makes this such a good read is that the author does a wonderful job of showing the real and flawed humanity of each character and makes you feel for both mothers. Sometimes I felt empathy and sometimes I felt exasperation and that's the hallmark of a great author--she makes you feel!

For fans of Jodi Picoult, you'll recognize the style of seeing both sides of an issue along with deep empathy for the characters. My only quibble is with the twist (didn't think it was necessary or likely) AND I highly recommend this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. Hold My Girl is available now.
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I have several friends and family members who have dealt with infertility, so that's a world that is familiar to me in many ways. The main characters, Katherine and Tess, each underwent IVF treatment at the same facility after years of struggling to become mothers, and unbeknownst to them, their eggs were switched. Both women went on to carry daughters, though Tess's pregnancy ended in a stillbirth at 21 weeks. The story opens on the day the clinic has contacted the women, shortly before Katherine and her husband Patrick's daughter, Rose, will turn one, and unfolds from there. 

Tess's life was already falling apart when she had IVF, and has spiraled down further after the loss of her baby. She is now single and holding on by a thread, and thus is thrilled to learn that she has a living child, and she is determined to be a part of her life in some capacity. Katherine has her own struggles, but is a loving mother to Rose, and she's devastated at the news that she is not her biological child. She and her husband do not want to share her at all, and their first mediation attempt fails completely. Both women want sole custody of her, and begin a legal battle to determine custody. 

This story was very well written, and brought up so many points to think about, from what makes a mother, to parenthood, marriage, family, mistakes from our past, trauma, race and cultural identity, and more. And the characters were fully fleshed out. I liked both Katherine and Tess, though sometimes their choices frustrated me (especially Tess), but I had sympathy for them at the same time. I could see both sides of the situation and it all seemed impossible at times. There is drama, too, and I was fully entertained throughout. I couldn't put it down, wanting to see how it would all end, and I always wanted more at the end of each chapter. 

I look forward to reading more from this author. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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When I was approved to read Hold My Girl, I felt the urge to postpone my plans for the foreseeable future to read the book.

This, after all, was the book that inspired me to join NetGalley. Out of mere curiosity, I’d done a Google search to see if one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, had a new release coming out–she usually does at this time of year. I was sad to see she didn’t, but Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr was being marketed to fans of Jodi Picoult.

I read the book’s summary, and immediately my interest was piqued.

Hold My Girl is a book about a switch like no other. I’ve read switched-at-birth stories and seen them on TV. I’ve never read a book about this type of switch, though.

This book tells the story of two women from different backgrounds, who are acquaintances.

Both women struggled with fertility. Katherine successfully conceived and birthed a beautiful baby little girl, Rose. Rose is just about to turn one when the story starts. Tess also conceived, but she unfortunately lost her baby girl, Hanna halfway through her pregnancy.

It's a fast-paced read from the beginning as readers are introduced to our protagonists, Katherine and Tess. What I love about these characters is how raw and relatable they are. They are flawed, and it wasn’t hard to see myself in either of them.

We learn an unforgivable mistake took place in the lab when an employee switched the women’s eggs before they were fertilized. Katherine’s daughter, Rose, is biologically Tess’s and Katherine’s husband’s child.

As the story unfolds, the pain of each character left me wondering what I would do in either character’s situation. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed not to struggle with infertility, but I have friends who have. This story has to be the worst nightmare of every mother considering IVF.

Full of twists and turns–some I saw coming, some I did not–Hold My Girl keeps readers on their toes and eager to read the next page. I won’t spoil the rollercoaster–that’s for you to enjoy, readers.

This is the book for fans of Jodi Picoult craving something new to read this fall.

According to TikTok, I’ll have to wait to hear more about Jodi Picoult’s new book. It’s a great time to discover new favorite authors, and I look forward to checking out Charlene Carr’s other books, past and future! I just signed up for her newsletter to receive her free novella Before I Knew You.
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3.75⭐️ This was a hard to put down book, but one I almost DNFed half way. Both main characters clearly needed therapy and it was surprising that given all they were going through, their “Center” or other professionals did not recommend this. One of the characters was so unlikeable that it made it challenging to feel empathy but midway exhibited behaviors/emotions that re-invested me in her story. I also think there was too many plot development/elements that started to feel a bit over the top/piling on/unnecessary, as though the author felt she had to keep upping the drama. I think this could have been an even more compelling and realistic drama if the author would have dialed down the story a bit.
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Two vastly different women, with different lives and experiences share one thing in common. They both used the same fertility clinic and their eggs got switched. 

Katherine is happily married, an interior designer currently a full time mom. She struggled to conceive for many years, and was lucky to finally have an IVF miracle and give birth to her daughter Rose. From birth Katherine has always had a sliver of doubt if Rose was hers, they look nothing alike.

Tess has had a rough couple of years. Her husband left her for another woman, she is a college drop out, broke and at rock bottom. A year ago she gave birth to a stillborn baby and has been grieving ever since. 

Just before Rose's first birthday both women are informed there was a mix up, a nurse purposely switched their eggs. This news causes a ripple in both their lives and they are both about to prepare for a custody battle that answers a question, who is Rose's true mother and who deserves custody of her.

This book was so powerful and emotional. I could not put it down. The story is so compelling and intriguing. The writing was beautiful, and I feel the story was so well told. The dual POV was such a brilliant choice and you really get the whole story. The characters are so complex, flawed, and relatable. Even with the serious subject matter, it was such an enjoyable read. I felt the subject matter was very relevant to the times and written with the sensitivity and care it deserved. Fantastic book.
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Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr is by far, one of the most complex novels I’ve ever read on motherhood. I had to pause and sit with my thoughts multiple times while reading this story. It brings SO many questions, emotions, and perspectives to the surface. As the synopsis suggests:

“𝙏𝙬𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣. 𝙏𝙬𝙤 𝙚𝙜𝙜𝙨. 𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚-𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙘𝙝.”

At an IVF clinic, the eggs of two women are switched. One woman gives birth to her daughter, but sadly, the other woman’s child is stillborn. Nearly two years later, the truth is revealed, a scandal breaks out, and the big question is asked: Exactly who does this child belong to? Morals, science, and empathy all play into answering that loaded question. At the very beginning of the book, the author includes a content warning, which I greatly appreciated. She mentions infertility and pregnancy loss as triggering topics discussed in the novel, so please keep that in mind if this one is on your radar. 

Carr’s writing skills are evident as she delivers a steady-paced storyline with deeply layered and well-developed characters. The novel felt action-packed and suspenseful, yet extremely character-driven throughout. I inhaled this book last weekend, and found it very difficult to put down. I emphasized with both women and could never pick a side. They’re in an unthinkable and nightmarish situation—how can you not feel for them both? This story is emotional, unique, thought-provoking, unsettling, and heartbreaking. You’ll experience an abundance of emotions while reading it, trust me. 5/5 compelling stars for Hold My Girl! I highly recommend this novel, but please use caution regarding the trigger warnings before you pick it up.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the eARC.

This book deserves all the hype, the praise, and more. Charlene Carr and written a story that is just tremendous. Read it.
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Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr is a passionate story about women who are mothers and what some of these women go through to be mothers. Very heartfelt and enlightening.
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Thank you to the author, Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a book full of emotions and secrets - and yet I felt as though it did not go into any great depth unpacking the characters. The two main female characters were portrayed as starkly pitted against one another, and yet both made bad choices again and again. I found both annoying to unbearable. Yes, I can certainly empathize with the longing for a child, and the despair of not being able to conceive (not to mention the vast amounts of money IVF involves). However, I wish there had been a bit less repetition, the book would have profited from a stringent edit, and a bit more development of the actual plot (embryo switch).
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