Jennifer Gilmore is the author of five novels including The Mothers (Scribner 2013) which is currently being adapted to film and, most recently, If Only, a novel for teens (Harper 2019). She teaches creative writing at Lafayette College and lives in Easton with her husband, son and very sweet puppy.
Acclaimed author Jennifer Gilmore’s intimate and achingly beautiful novel deftly explores the role that chance and choice play in shaping the lives of two teenagers who are separated by sixteen years, but whose lives are intertwined. BEFORE: When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant. With just a few months until she gives birth, Bridget must envision an entirely new future—one for her baby. But as she sifts through the many paths and the many people who want to parent her child, she can’t help but feel that there is no right decision. AFTER: Ivy doesn’t know much about her birth mother. She knows that she is now the same age Bridget was when she placed Ivy for adoption. She knows that Bridget was the one who named her. And she knows that fifteen years ago Bridget disappeared from Ivy’s and her adoptive moms’ lives. Ivy wants to discover more about herself, but as she goes to find Bridget, she can’t help but feel that the risks might far outweigh the benefits of knowing where she comes from and why her birth mother chose to walk away.