The DNA sequencing Dana secretly obtained for her dad was supposed to be his best birthday present ever—now, it threatens to tear her family apart.
Unlike her Latina mom, blessed with a large Mexican family and rich cultural heritage, biracial Dana’s white dad was raised in foster homes, his ancestry a blank. Injuries ended his dream of a career playing baseball. He was further crushed when Selena, Dana’s athletically talented older sister, abandoned sports in college. Less talented but more motivated, Dana’s a star of her Arizona high school softball team that he coaches but also keenly aware hard work won’t make her another Selena. The DNA report leads to the revelation that their dad fathered a son outside marriage after Selena’s birth. When Dana’s attempts to forge a relationship with their half brother, Brandon, are rebuffed, a chance meeting with his olive-skinned cousin Chase opens a way for Dana to know Brandon vicariously even as she falls for Chase himself. The pace drags when Dana obsesses over when, how, and to whom to tell the secrets piling up, but top-notch characters, including minor players like Samoan Nick, Dana’s admirer whose shyness provokes her affection and guilt, sustain reader interest. There’s love, competition, and jealousy among siblings and friends; the compromises and accommodations of marriage; the petty issues that grate and the messy, mixed motives everyone brings to the table—all unfold in lively, complex scenes.
A smart, heartfelt tale that’s more than its nifty high concept. (Fiction. 13-17)