cover image Becoming Us

Becoming Us

Robin Jones Gunn. Multnomah, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-9075-4

Gunn (Father Christmas) brings together characters from her Sierra Jensen and Christy Miller series in this sweet story of young women finding friendship at a Christmas party. Emily Winslow; her husband, Trevor; and their 10-year-old daughter are recent transplants to California. Attempting a fresh start away from Trevor’s imposing family is not as easy as they thought it would be; the used car dealership Trevor’s uncle sold him is barely keeping food on the table. Emily, a restaurant hostess, deals with a demanding geriatric customer base and a cantankerous boss. But things start to look up when she meets Jennalyn and is invited into her close circle of friends. Among them is Christy Miller, a welcoming local whose father is the manager of Emily’s apartment complex. At a rousing get-together dinner that frames the story, Emily is also introduced to Jennalyn’s friends Sierra and Tess. By trading stories and scriptural verses to be referenced throughout the year, Emily becomes emboldened to tough it out in her new community. As Emily and her family resist mounting pressure from Trevor’s family to return to North Carolina, they must decide what is right for their family, rather than what suits Trevor’s. Gunn’s portrayal of the delicate bonds of new friendship and the realistic struggles facing the Winslows makes for a ruminative, intelligent story about the process of reimagining what is valuable in life.[em] (May) [/em]