Two Things That Make Us Whole

Romance - Comedy
199 Pages
Reviewed on 08/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

J.J. Coby is a new author publishing his very first novel. The father of one, he resides near Everett, Washington with his wife Jeannine, and writes books in his free time.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Two Things That Make Us Whole by J.J. Coby, Jaylee Brianna Hastings was once a vivacious woman who tackled any negative situation in her stride. But having suffered the loss of another baby, whom she named Jenna, her life seems one huge uphill struggle. She has tossed her best friend out of her life, along with anyone that tries to come close, and now her marriage to Jared is also taking a downhill turn. To make matters worse, Jared's estranged father, Kevin, is about to descend on them. When Kevin arrives, he turns Jaylee's life upside down. His brash, brutal sense of humor irritates her and Jared seems to be spending most of his day trying to avoid her. But when Kevin receives some devastating news, Jaylee realizes that he is the emotional rock she needs. As their relationship deepens, Kevin suggests how Jaylee can step out of the dark clouds that loom over her and maybe learn how to love and trust again. With time running out, can Jaylee accept his advice and realize happiness has always been within her grasp?

Two Things That Make Us Whole by J.J. Coby is a beautifully written novel that will draw you into the world of the characters almost immediately. The twists and turns in the plot were amazing and are a great example of what can happen when people draw into themselves and stop communicating with those closest to them. I really resounded with Jaylee as a character, her pain and feeling isolated was relayed with utmost perfection; the subject of miscarriage and stillbirth was obviously researched well. Jared's emotional exhaustion and feeling helpless was heartbreaking. My favorite character had to be Kevin. His political incorrectness and straight talking combined with a brilliant sarcastic wit were hilarious. The author cleverly showed another side to his personality too; a caring individual who has a sixth sense for knowing exactly how to lift people's spirits. His banter with Jaylee was hysterical. I think they both met their match with one another. The sub-plots were many and as strong as the main storyline. This novel is far more than a romantic comedy; the plot covers many sensitive issues and will have you reaching for a box of tissues by the end of the story.

Risah Salazar

Jaylee Hastings had lost it after three miscarriages and one stillborn child. Even when her husband, Jared, was there for her throughout her crises, she had long stopped loving him and herself. Right now, she is barely living and mostly just existing -- drifting through life -- and on the verge of divorce. But everything changes when Kevin Hastings, her father-in-law, suddenly steps into the scene. While he has not been the perfect father figure to Jared, he is equipped with wisdom that Jaylee definitely needs. Jaylee and Kevin grow from annoying frenemies to treasured friends. They plan and help each other out in building on the two things that make them whole.

J.J. Coby’s Two Things That Make Us Whole is a short but heavy read. With great imagery and a compelling tone, the story starts with pain and ends with hope. This debut novel may not be perfect but it has the power to tug at the reader’s heartstrings. There’s a good balance between drama and humor, and this book can bring out both sad and happy tears. Not everyone may have experienced Jaylee’s plight, but J.J. Coby’s storytelling has a nice flow and hits right in the feels. The writing quality brings out raw emotions. The characters are interesting and their motivations are deep. Jaylee and Kevin, in particular, have such cute father-daughter dynamics. A story of second chances, Two Things That Make Us Whole is perfect for fans of complicated but heartwarming stories.

Soumya Sreehari

Losing a child is one of the most traumatic events one can experience. In Two Things That Make Us Whole, J.J. Coby explores the aftermath of such an event in a marriage. After 3 miscarriages, Jaylee and Jared Hastings await the birth of their miracle, Jenna Hanna. When the baby is stillborn, their life is overturned. Jaylee becomes a ghost of her former self and the tragedy saps every bit of energy from their loving marriage. Enter Kevin Hastings – Jared’s estranged father. In the most unexpected turn of events, Kevin prods Jaylee out of her deep abyss. Meeting Kevin for the first time, Jaylee is put off by his crude behavior. However, they form a strange friendship that turns out to be exactly what both need to fight their own demons.

Jaylee’s desperation at the lost opportunities of being a mother comes across strongly at the beginning of the book. Starting from tragedy, J.J. Coby sails through the messy recovery process with a combination of brutal honesty and in-the-face humor. As the story unwinds, Two Things That Make Us Whole made me appreciate the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The characters of Jaylee, Jared, and Kevin are all thoroughly relatable in the range of emotions they display. Personal tragedy can affect not just primary relationships, but an entire social ecosystem. The story emphasizes the strength of love and family. When desperate, it is easy to lose sight of what matters most. With determination, it is possible to emerge on the other side of devastation with hope.