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Release Day Review! THE FAMILY YOU MAKE by Jill Shalvis (Sunrise Cove #1)

The Family You Make cover

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis begins a new series–Sunrise Cove–set near beautiful Lake Tahoe, with a heartwarming story of found family and love.

During the snowstorm of the century Levi Cutler is stranded on a ski lift with a beautiful stranger named Jane. After strong winds hurl the gondola in front of them into the ground, Levi calls his parents to prepare them for the worst…but can’t bring himself to say goodbye. Instead, wanting to fulfill his mother’s lifelong wish, he impulsively tells her he’s happily settled and Jane is his girlfriend–right before his phone dies.

But Levi and Jane do not.

Now Levi’s family is desperate to meet “The One.” Though Jane agrees to be his pretend girlfriend for just one dinner, she’s nervous. After a traumatic childhood, Jane isn’t sure she knows how to be around a tight-knit family that cherishes one another. She’s terrified, and a little jealous. But an unexpected series of events and a host of new friends soon show Jane that perhaps this is the life she was always meant to have.

As Jane and Levi spend more time together, pretend feelings quickly turn into real ones. Now all Jane has to do is admit to herself she can’t live without the man she’s fallen in love with and the family she has always dreamed of.

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A new series by Jill Shalvis? Yes, please!

The found family trope is one that Jill Shalvis does like no other, and it’s a main component of this book, as the title suggests. Levi has a wonderfully quirky family but he’s never really felt a part of it, and after suffering a tragedy has been gone for years. Jane has almost no family left and except for a few too-short years in her childhood, is convinced that a loving family is just not something she can ever have. And a trauma caused Charlotte to leave her family behind, moving across the country. Though Charlotte and Jane are good friends at the start of the book, Jane’s been keeping even her BFF at arm’s length. Levi, a blizzard, and Charlotte’s tenacity will change all of that by the book’s end, however.

Like most of Ms Shalvis’s more recent books, The Family You Make veers more toward the so-called “women’s fiction” side of contemporary romance. Levi and Jane’s romance definitely takes center stage (and it’s lovely, so no complaints about that!) but there’s also a secondary romance here, between Charlotte and her neighbor and coworker Matteo. As much as I enjoyed their storyline, I couldn’t help but think that theirs would have made a great book too–we didn’t get to see Matteo’s POV, and that was a bit of a bummer. Still, this ended up being a 4 1/2 star read for me, so I guess I can’t complain too much. 😉

If you enjoy swoony romance, fun banter, and all kind of families who get all up in your business (OMG, Levi’s entire family’s stealth investigation into Jane was too funny!)–not to mention a dog who also answers to “Stop It!,” “Drop It!,” and “Don’t You Dare!”–then this is the book for you. Knowing that it’s the first in a new series? Makes it even better.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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