BETWEEN FRIENDS

Kristy Kiernan

Her fiction is “beautifully told,” says Lorna Landvik; Jacquelyn Mitchard calls it “good and true and real.” Now Kristy Kiernan presents her latest and most emotionally provocative novel in Between Friends.

There was a time when Ali Gutierrez would have been forced to give up her dreams of motherhood. But thanks to modern reproductive technology—and the gift of her best friend’s eggs—Ali is now the mother of fourteen-year-old Letty.

Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks her best friend’s permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away,

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Her fiction is “beautifully told,” says Lorna Landvik; Jacquelyn Mitchard calls it “good and true and real.” Now Kristy Kiernan presents her latest and most emotionally provocative novel in Between Friends.

There was a time when Ali Gutierrez would have been forced to give up her dreams of motherhood. But thanks to modern reproductive technology—and the gift of her best friend’s eggs—Ali is now the mother of fourteen-year-old Letty.

Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks her best friend’s permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away, awaiting this decision. But Cora has a secret that could not only change Ali’s plans for the future, but tear apart her life right now.

In this thoughtful, complex novel, Kristy Kiernan shows us two women struggling with life-changing decisions—and explores both timely moral issues and timeless truths about the definition of family.

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  • Berkley
  • Paperback
  • April 2010
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780425233474

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$15.00

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About Kristy Kiernan

Kristy Kiernan was born in Tennessee and raised on the beaches of southwest Florida, where she lives with her husband.

Praise

“A new star in contemporary women’s fiction.”
—Sun Sentinel
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)

“A compellingly talented writer.” —Florida Today

Praise for previous novel, Catching Genius
“Will leave readers of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve clamoring for more from this talented author.”
Tasha Alexander, author of Tears of Pearl

“A moving novel about forgiveness and the fragility of family.”—Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

The author has used alternating points of view in her previous novels as well as in this one. Why do you think she makes that choice here?

Benny and Ali’s relationship takes a nasty turn during the long drive out to northeast Golden Gate to pick up Letty. Do you think Benny has issues with the decisions that Ali has made as a mother and a wife? What are they, if so?

Discuss Ali’s strong desire to have a second baby fifteen years after her first child. Is it selfish for one spouse to adamantly oppose having another child when it’s clear that the other truly wants to have one?

Benny tells Ali, “I’m willing to at least talk about it if you really want another baby.” Do you think he is being earnest or is this a manipulative ploy to get Ali to return home?

After Letty hears her parents talk about having another baby, she accepts Seth’s invitation to go to Venice Beach. Do you think her decision to skip school with Seth is partly motivated by a need for attention from her parents? Does Letty strike you as a typical fifteen-year-old girl?

Do you think it was appropriate for Ali to hold off sharing the news with Benny that their daughter has been sexually? How would you handle a similar situation?

Would you want to know if you or your child has a gene that carries a life-threatening disease?

Ali admits, “I wanted to believe that I brought something to the table, and I thought I’d gotten the opportunity. The only person in the world who could have stopped me from lying right down on the table and insisting they take my kidney now was Letty.” If you were given a gift like the one that Ali received from Cora, short of giving her a kidney, would you feel like you could never fully repay your friend?

Cora says about Drew’s proposal, “If I were going to commit to a friend, then I had a friend with a tighter grip on my heart and history than Drew.” Do you think she would feel the same if she were truly in love? And is she thinking of Ali or Letty? Which one of them holds the tighter grip on Cora’s heart?

Letty tells Cora, “[Mom] is right. He was there because of me. I asked him to go. This is, I mean, it really is my fault. It’s my fault.” Do you think Letty will carry this guilt forever? Or do you think she’ll most remember her last conversation with her dad?

At the conclusion of Between Friends, what is revealed about Cora and Benny’s relationship?

The struggle for control is a constant theme throughout this novel. What do you think is the author’s final message on this topic?

Aside from Ali and Cora, what other friendships illustrate the book’s title?