This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I read Laurie Frankel’s This Is How it Always Is without knowing anything about the story. I absolutely love it when this happens. Somehow books are always better in my mind when I have no expectations. I would love for readers to approach this story in the same way so I am going to do my best to review this book without giving away too much.

This Is How it Always Is is a family story. A love story. A story of secrets. And a fairy tale. As the story opens we fall immediately in love with Penn and Rosie who fall immediately in love with each other. In fact, they both say it was love even before first sight and somehow, in Frankel’s hands, this is not a super cheesy fact. As a reader, I loved Penn and Rosie and wanted them to be happy forever. The beginning of the book pulled me right into the family, quirks and all.

Slowly, a truth emerges to both the family and the reader. The writing during this part of the book was amazing to me. Time appeared to slow down and I really felt as if I was in the character’s minds, thinking and feeling with them in real time. As the family struggles with this truth in their community and then decides to hide the truth, as a reader, I could feel all the emotions they were experiencing.

I will admit that toward the end of the book, I began to panic. I only like to recommend books at Great New Books that are pretty nearly perfect. Our site is called Great New Books after all. I will admit to not loving how this story ends but after much thinking, I decided to go through with the review. The whole point of This Is How it Always Is (or at least how I interpreted it), is that there is no right way. Therefore, if I didn’t love sections of this book, other people still might. The story that Frankel tells is important and I believe lots and lots of people should read this book. The message it tells is both universal and incredibly timely. I hope that many of our readers will challenge themselves to read this story and come back and tell us what you think.


Stacey Loscalzo is a reader and writer living outside of New York City with her husband and their two daughters.

She writes for various local parenting publications and blogs at and Stacey loves to read anything at all from adult novels and memoirs to picture books. Stacey can be also be found on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (all @staceyloscalzo).

Have you read This Is How It Always Is? We’d love to hear what you think — please share in the comments below. Thanks!

Link to buy This Is How It Always Is at your local independent bookstore (we love them!) or at Indiebound by clicking here.