Josh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready
Publication date: 25 January 2022
Josh and Gemma Make a Baby follows the journey of Gemma, a thirty-something divorced woman suffering from infertility, and Josh, her brother’s best friend and the guy who’s been a “houseplant” in the background of her life since she was young. Lacking any boyfriend prospects but really wanting a baby of her own, she asks Josh to be a donor for her upcoming IVF cycle.
I grabbed this ARC because I was enchanted by the premise, and thought it would be a fun read. Which is was, for the most part. It was a cute, predictable, brother’s-best-friend, slow burn romance. But here’s the thing: I really wasn’t a fan of our heroine for large parts of the story. She has some really unlikeable qualities. She’s extremely self-centered and judgemental, which are not qualities I think lend themselves to being a good parent. Speaking of parents, it’s kind of easy to see where Gemma gets her judgemental side from, because her family is awful. On the surface they seem loving, but the non-stop fat-shaming of Gemma goes unchecked and unchallenged for the majority of the book, and from what I can gather she’s not even really fat. They also bemoan her lack of a boyfriend and it seems like the entire town knows about the condition of Gemma’s uterus. I doubt Gemma told anyone other than her family about her endometriosis, so that means the people who are supposed to love her the most blabbed her business to anyone who would listen.
For the most part, I think Gemma’s IVF journey was done well. I’ve never had fertility issues so I cannot speak to the veracity of her experience, but it seemed like an honest portrayal (except for the part about being able to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist online for the very next day – ummmmm…no). Although it does seem a bit unrealistic that she would embark on this major medical procedure with very little forethought and research. I mean, she seems surprised at the first support group meeting to learn that many IVF cycles fail. That really seems like basic information someone should know before committing thousands of dollars to an invasive medical procedure like this.
So in a nutshell, your enjoyment of this book will probably depend upon the degree to which you are willing to suspend disbelief on a number of fronts. If you’re good with overlooking some flaws in pursuit of just being entertained by a sweet love story, you’ll probably like this book. I recommend it for anyone looking for a romance with a unique storyline and a happy ending.
CW: infertility, pregnancy loss, death of a parent, fat shaming
Thank you to NetGalley and Swift & Lewis Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.