Book Selection

2020 Selection: This Is How It Always Is

About the Book

Cover image for This Is How It Always Is

This is how a family keeps a secret...and how that secret ends up keeping them. This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated. This is how children change…and then change the world.

When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it's another baby boy. But at least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect.

But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn aren't panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes.

"This Is How It Always Is" is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it's about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again; parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts; children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don't get to keep them forever.

Source: This Is How It Always Is -

About the Author

Author Laurie Frankel

Laurie Frankel is the New York Times-bestselling, award-winning author of three novels. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher's Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. She is the recipient of the Washington State Book Award. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and all three have been optioned for film or TV. A former college professor, she now writes full-time. She was recently named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle where she lives with her family and makes good soup.

Source: About Laurie -

Past Titles

There are over 15 years of Whidbey Reads titles. Below is a list of past selected books.

2020 – This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

2019 – Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

2018 - Before the Wind by Jim Lynch

2017 - The 100 Year Miracle by Ashley Ream

2016 – The Wind is Not a River by Brian Payton

2015 – The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

2014 – Little Century by Anna Keesey

2013 – West of Here by Jonathan Evison

2012 – Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

2011 – School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

2010 – All Roads Lead Me Back to You by Kennedy Foster

2009 – The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch

2008 – Midwives: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian

2007 – Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

2006 – This House of Sky by Ivan Doig

2005 – Works of Elizabeth George

2004 – Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose (Stephanie Ambrose-Tubbs)

2003 – Bellwether by Connie Willis

How Books are Selected

Each year the Whidbey Reads committee reads dozens of books before selecting one to recommend for the author presentation in the spring of the following year. In January, the committee announces the selected title along with a list of related events. Learn more about the Whidbey Reads selection process in our blog.

What will we Read Next

We are looking for our next Whidbey Reads title and you can help! Please share your suggestion for our next community read, given that we're looking for the following:

  • Content that will spark discussion
  • Plot or setting that is relevant to our current society and/or our local area
  • Accessible/readable in a reasonable period of time (less than 400 pages)
  • Well-written, compelling language

Use the following form to submit your suggestion.

Book Suggestion
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