Will she murder her husband to save her daughter?

Fiction - New Adult
353 Pages
Reviewed on 05/30/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I have worn many hats during my career: father, teacher, counselor, businessman, truck driver, and New York City cab driver, but writing has always been my true love. Though it has never paid the bills, it was always my life raft during some of life’s storms.

I love studying people and my stints as a cab driver and truck driver were enlightening in that regard, but not as enlightening as my 20+ year career as a teacher in both high school and college. I always resonate with kids and their stories, and that helped form the foundation of Choices.

What I love about writing fiction is that I can change reality with the metaphorical stroke of a pen. The world we live in today is complex, oftentimes frustrating, and many times, sad. I can’t change any of that, but in my writing I can.

I have begun working on the seqel to Choices, working title, Evolution, with most of the characters continuing their journeys.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Choices is a work of fiction in the coming-of-age, cross-cultural writing, and romance genres. It is best enjoyed by mature young adult and new adult readers. Penned by author Gary Markman, this interesting and engaging novel weaves mystery and romance, centered on Harper James, a teacher deeply affected by his students' struggles. Harper recalls Arianna, a brilliant Iranian girl who vanished, and Devi, passionately in love with her, as well as Eddie, a former NBA player. Their intertwined lives reflect Harper's teachings on acceptance and love. Despite his efforts, Harper questions the impact of his lessons as he faces an eerie, surreal journey that blurs reality and introspection, raising questions about the choices his students will make in a troubled world.

Author Gary Markman uses a natural gift for character development to craft an evocative novel, and I found myself hooked from the sensational opening right through to the end. Harper's journey through the abstract initial setting felt suitably surreal and gripping. I loved the narrative style with the strong, confident presentation of the narrator as he observes the lives of others. The multicultural dynamics and Harper's efforts to instill acceptance and love in his students is an abiding and resonant theme that consistently grows throughout the novel. The character-driven scenes are packed with dialogue brimming with emotion for us to read between the lines. This subtlety plays well into the drama, and the contrast between Harper's ideals and the harsh realities his students faced was a great foil for tension that is sure to keep readers engaged. Overall, Choices is a poignant novel that highlights the universal struggle for understanding and belonging. I would recommend it to fans seeking an accomplished blend of literary fiction and new adult coming-of-age stories.

Christian Sia

Choices by Gary Markman presents a gripping blend of mystery, romance, and coming-of-age themes written in an ingenious style. Set against the backdrop of Washington Heights, this novel explores the lives of a diverse group of characters whose paths intersect unexpectedly. It begins with Harper James, a beloved teacher struggling to understand the disappearance of his students, particularly Arianna, a troubled girl from Iran, and Devi, whose unrequited love for Arianna drives him to the brink of despair. Devi receives news from his friend, Eddie Johnson, that their mutual friend, Harper, has been killed. Devastated, Devi tries to dissuade Eddie from seeking revenge but ultimately realizes Eddie's determination. Meanwhile, Harper drifts into an afterlife realm, embarking on a journey of self-discovery that challenges his perceptions of life, death, and the choices that shape our destinies.

Throughout the narrative, Markman explores multiple storylines that converge surprisingly, keeping readers guessing until the final pages. From Devi's struggle for justice in the face of injustice to Arianna's quest for freedom in a world defined by cultural expectations, each character experiences the consequences of their choices and the impact on their own lives and the lives of others. Choices explores complex social issues, including prejudice, identity, and the quest for meaning in a chaotic world. Through vividly drawn characters and richly detailed settings, Markman invites readers to confront their biases and preconceptions, challenging them to consider the power of empathy and understanding in bridging cultural divides. Harper's frustration with societal divisions and injustices surfaced during a conversation with his friend Charlie, a police officer, and his interactions with his students. Billy MacGregor expresses xenophobic views, leading to a confrontation with his brother, Robby, who unexpectedly finds his voice against bigotry. Gary Markman has crafted a remarkable novel with vital lessons for contemporary readers on inclusion and tolerance. The setting is in the vividly drawn and evolving neighborhood of Washington Heights, which has seen waves of immigrants over the years, each contributing to its rich tapestry of culture and community. This novel packs in so much for readers — psychological struggles, emotional tensions, and physical rows experienced by young characters at the crossroads.

Pikasho Deka

Choices is a young adult drama by Gary Markman. Harper James is a high school history teacher with a close relationship with his students. Devi Levin is a Jewish boy who excels in basketball, and Arianna Kalail is a first-generation Iranian American who feels suppressed by her father's strict conservative Islamic values. When Arianna's father discovers Devi and Arianna have feelings for each other, he is ready to take her back to Iran, forcing her mother to send her away to her cousin Yusra's home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meanwhile, Devi is charged with assault for standing up to the bully Billy MacGregor, whose influential father has used the DA to put him behind bars. But Eddie Johnson, Devi's best friend, finds a way to provide him with protection in prison. Will Devi and Arianna reunite? What will happen to Harper?

Choices is a coming-of-age story with heart that celebrates diversity and humane values. Gary Markman sheds light on some relevant social issues, such as racism, bigotry, and institutional corruption, with this moving drama that is bound to tug at your heartstrings. The characters in this tale are so well-realized that they make you feel you may have met them in real life. Markman gives his characters distinct personalities with varied backgrounds to ensure readers can pick up the narrative's themes. The story has its moments of heartbreak and tragedy, but the underlying themes of hope and faith in humanity are equally prevalent. I particularly enjoyed the different relationship dynamics in the novel. Harper, as a mentor, is a role model for teachers everywhere. If you enjoy slice-of-life stories centered around real-world issues, this is what you're looking for.