The book: When Rachel Blum and Andy Landis meet in a hospital emergency room, about the only thing they have in common is their age: 8. Rachel, born with a heart defect, is the privileged daughter of overprotective Jewish Floridians, while Andy, who is biracial, is the son of an impoverished single mother in Philadelphia. Though they think they will never meet again, they connect on a high-school volunteer trip and fall in love. Who Do You Love follows their relationship — filled with twists and turns — over the next three decades. The book explores the differences between people and also touches on issues of race, class, religion, and the costs of fame.
The author: Jennifer Weiner ’91 is the bestselling author of 12 novels, including Good in Bed, All Fall Down, and In Her Shoes, which became a 2005 motion picture starring Cameron Diaz. She has written for The New York Times and has appeared onThe Today Show and Good Morning America. In an interview on CBS News, Weiner said Who Do You Love was inspired by her own romance.
Opening lines: “I was born with a broken heart. This was a line that got me a lot of sympathy from preschool through sixth grade, when I decided that a congenital heart condition was not what I wanted to be known for, and stopped talking about it at school. My condition was called tricuspid atresia, which meant that on the right side, the valve between the upper and lower chambers of my heart wasn’t formed correctly. Blood that should have flowed smoothly from my heart to my lungs moved instead in a sluggish trickle — a lazy schoolkid who’d overslept and couldn’t be bothered to run for the bus. Not a good thing if you want to, as the doctors say, survive.”
Review: “Weiner’s latest is pure romance and utterly heart tugging,” said Booklist, “showcasing her ability to write characters that readers will instantly connect with, flaws and all.” The Austin Chronicle calls the book “a classic love story, told over the course of two decades, twisted up with modern cultural observations and maybe just a miniature ode to Save the Last Dance and When Harry Met Sally.”