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This Is How It Always Is

Laurie Frankel collage

Telling our stories and secrets is hard, scary...and sometimes dangerous. But we must do it anyway. Our pick for February is the warm, touching and bittersweet This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry - and see the world differently.

All happy families are alike. But happy can be complicated...

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl. As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

"A very special book about a family with a secret. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think" Liane Moriarty, author of The Husband's Secret

"Heart-warming and funny... I found this both unputdownable and enlightening. I'm so glad I've read it - I know so much more about life now" Katie Fforde

Laurie Frankel lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter and border collie. Before becoming a full-time writer, she taught literature, writing and gender studies at a US university. Her previous novel, The Atlas of Love, has been highly acclaimed.

This Is How It Always Is is published by Headline. If you do receive a free copy, we need you to add your questions and comments to the thread, where you can read a personal letter from Laurie, by the end of February.

I feel I'm failing them - feeling lost

Is this a normal thing? - neighbour using wifi

Only telling GN pals - secret talent