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4.1 27
by Chandra Hoffman

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In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and birth parents, with devastating results.

It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against a fluorescent-lit


In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and birth parents, with devastating results.

It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against a fluorescent-lit delivery-room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of the Chosen Child's domestic-adoption program, happy while juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of both adoptive and biological parents.

But the very job that offers her refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains soon becomes a battleground involving three very different couples: the Novas, well-off college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing—except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what he or she really wants and where it all went wrong.

Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hoffman's middling debut explores the darker side of open adoption, as seen through the eyes of Chloe Pinter, a young social worker at a Portland, Ore., adoption agency. Juggling the insecurities of the wealthy and infertile Francie and John McAdoo with the increasingly strident demands of the contracted and impoverished birth parents, Penny and Jason, Chloe starts to question her own beliefs and motivations. When Chloe sees that Penny has bought a basinet, she warns the McAdoos that the adoption might not go through, inadvertently setting off a chain of events that eventually puts a newborn in danger's path. Hoffman seems to want the reader to understand the dilemma of birth parents confronted with the need to give up a child, but Penny and Jason and their family are too damaged and destructive to elicit any empathy, and the McAdoos, on the other end of the class spectrum, never fail to fall into stereotype. There is a whisper of a solid story about the way poverty, yearning, opportunity, and loss can play out, but with characters so weakly realized, it's tough to see this as anything more than a good-intentioned but inexpert exercise. (Sept.)
Los Angeles Times
“Unbearable tension. . . . Chandra Hoffman’s unflinching and suspense-filled account of the pleasures and perils of domestic adoption . . . is a wrenching portrait.”
USA Today
“A shocking ending.”
“[Hoffman’s] sparkling debut fully engages the reader with Chloe’s altruistic dreams and the predicament in which she unexpectedly finds herself.”
Ann Hood
“This riveting debut novel from Chandra Hoffman will keep you on edge until its final glorious pages. Enlightening, terrifying, and big-hearted, Chosen is a terrific book!”
Juliette Fay
“Gritty and suspenseful, Chosen draws us into the obstacle-strewn path of domestic adoption. Hoffman’s characters are complex and sympathetic in strikingly different ways, even those who appear at first glance to be irredeemable.”
Therese Fowler
“Chandra Hoffman’s Chosen is a finely tuned page-turner. . . . There is no perfect happiness here; instead, there is the unexpected grace of discovering that getting what we want is so often less ideal than wanting what we get. This is an outstanding debut.”
Liza Gyllenhaal
“With sensitivity and keen insight, Chandra Hoffman’s absorbing first novel Chosen explores the demanding, uplifting, and emotionally explosive world of adoption. Touching, immediately involving, as well as propulsively readable, Chosen heralds a powerful and distinctive new voice in contemporary women’s fiction.”
Leonard Chang
“In one of the most self-assured debuts I’ve read, Chosen takes the charged and important issue of adoption and spins it into a gripping story that will keep readers captivated. Chandra Hoffman, a superb artist and storyteller, has written a beautiful and compelling novel.”
Library Journal
The Chosen Child Agency specializes in private adoptions between well-to-do couples and birth parents from the wrong side of the tracks. Social worker Chloe Pinter handles clients who are rapidly causing her to lose her idealism, such as the case matching the wealthy McAdoos with ex-cons Penny and Jason. Chloe must field spoiled Francie McAdoo's incessant complaints while deflecting the desperate demands of Jason and simultaneously navigating between a failing relationship with her surf bum boyfriend and a simmering attraction to a former client whose wife has just given birth. When a child goes missing, the lives of all the characters collide in a gripping denouement that raises serious questions about the adoption process. VERDICT Debut novelist Hoffman, who has worked as an orphanage relief worker and headed up a domestic adoption program, has written a page-turner that rings true. Despite technical flaws (Francie is too whiny and Jason too skanky to be truly sympathetic), this engrossing read will appeal to fans of domestic fiction luminaries Jodi Picoult, Sue Miller, and Chris Bohjalian.—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY
Kirkus Reviews

Gripping tale of an open adoption that spurs a kidnapping, from debut novelist Hoffman.

Chloe Pinter thinks she's found her ideal job: caseworker for Chosen Child, a private agency that matches impoverished birth mothers with upper-middle-class, often middle-aged infertile couples longing for a child to nurture. Chosen Child arranges lodging and medical care for the mothers, and supports them for six weeks after they've delivered their children into the hands of the adoptive parents. Jason, the ex-con boyfriend of Penny, also an ex-con scarred by meth use and a horrific rape, is ambivalent about giving up his and Penny's child to Silicon Valley retiree John and his brittle wife Francie, mainly because the payment won't be enough to realize Jason's dream of escaping dreary, overgentrified Portland, Ore., to live in Mexico. Worse, when Penny gives birth to son Buddy (renamed Angus by John and Francie), she lapses into severe post-partum depression complicated by grief. Jason blames Chloe for his predicament, wrongly assuming that she is benefiting financially from the adoption. Chloe has her own relationship woes: Her fiancé Dan, an extreme sports nut, is not ready to settle down in Chloe's bungalow on the fringes of one of Portland's tony neighborhoods. He heads off to Maui to start a kite-boarding business, daring Chloe to follow. Meanwhile, Chloe finds herself dangerously attracted to former client Paul, who, with wife Eva, considered adoption before Eva gave birth to their son Wyeth. Exhausted and sleep-deprived from the unexpected 24/7 schedule of newborn care, Eva momentarily leaves Wyeth unattended in her car. Through a set of coincidences that Hoffman manages to render believable, Jason snatches Wyeth thinking he is Buddy, and the action accelerates. Although it takes too long for the major players (Chloe and Francie have both been threatened by Jason) to connect the dots, the strong descriptions of these driven characters trump occasional lapses in plot logic.

Despite a distressing number of dangling modifiers and comma splices, a heartfelt story well told.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Chandra Hoffman has been an orphanage relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short-order cook in a third- world hospital, the director of a U.S. adoption program, and an event planner for Philadelphia’s Main Line elite. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and their three young children. Chosen is her first novel.

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Chosen 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
SerraBerra More than 1 year ago
To me, this book was full of suspense and I had a hard time putting it down. I carried it with me everywhere I went around my house just to devour another few pages every time I got a free moment. I have never had experience with adoption but I have had friends who have had a hard time conceiving a child. As a mother, I found the story of these couples (in all aspects) to be very emotionally moving. In the end, I feel so blessed to just have my kids the conventional way and thank god I can afford to raise them. Personally, I felt sorry for Chloe, having to juggle so many aspects, and scandal. Social workers are so underpaid for the service they provide to humanity, and they are sorely under appreciated, so with that being said it is hard for me to judge what I would do if I were in her shoes, but I do think I would have been meaner. I will be recommending this book to my friends who enjoy high suspense fiction.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
Adoption. It¿s about making a family. Chosen by Chandra Hoffman is a rollercoaster ride of the people behind those faces on adoption brochures. Social Worker, Chloe Pitner at Chosen Child Adoption Agency loves her job¿well most of it. She believes in what she is doing. It¿s about bringing the right people together. She has a great reputation on the adoption messaging boards and a photo book of happily ever after stories. Chosen is a story about four couples whose lives are intertwined. Two babies born--lives forever changed. One couple relishing in finally having their dream baby; another couple has to wait and see and a young couple not sure what the right choice is. Chandra Hoffman examines the what if you get everything you always wanted and found out it wasn¿t. When a baby goes missing it pushes everyone to question what they really want. Paul and Eva finally have their dream child, but parenthood isn¿t as pretty as they thought it would be. Eva struggles with postpartum depression and Paul throws himself into building his business to be the biggest in the state. John and Francie have suffered years of disappointment while trying to have a child. When they finally have one in reach will he be lost to them forever? Can their marriage withstand the dramatic change in who they are? Jason and Penny have nothing but criminal records and a baby to offer. Jason loves Penny and wants to give her the life he believes she deserves at any cost. Reading along I found my heart beating faster and at other times with tears running down my face. Due to the content of the story you would think it would be so easy to love some characters and hate others, but truthfully I didn¿t. All the characters were really well developed. Even though Chloe is the main thread in the novel, Hoffman gives her readers access to almost all the characters private thoughts and motivations. I would add there is some adult language and themes, but I truthfully believe it added to the raw and grittiness of the story. I absolutely recommend Chosen! Once you start reading you won't want to stop till the very last page! Chandra Hoffman is an author to watch!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it interesting because i have been involved in an adoption and so many feelings are what they say..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gardengirl1 More than 1 year ago
It makes you understand more of what goes into adoptions from private agencies. Enjoyable !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Chloe Pinter has what she would consider the "best" job and at times, the "worst" job. She is the director of Portland's Chosen Child domestic adoption program and she is the case worker that helps families find just the perfect child for them to adopt, fitting birth mothers and adoptive parents together. In a sense, she helps build families for parents who can't have children through conventional methods. The downside of this, is that often times, birth mothers wait until the last minute to decide that they want to keep their baby, leaving the adoptive parents with nothing but heart break and the time spent waiting once more to find a birth mother to have a child. In Chosen by Chandra Hoffman, Chloe is working with three very different sets of parents. One couple who have been childhood sweethearts since college despite twelve miscarriages and a dozen fertility problems are now finally expecting their own baby, praying that this one will carry to term. Another set of parents, are wealthy and can afford the expense that the adoption process carries with it, yet despite their ages, they are finally hoping that they can find a birth mother who will be willing to offer them a child. The final couple are the birth mother and her boyfriend who are having difficulty coming to an agreement over what they want to do. The boyfriend wants to make as much money as possible on the baby and the mother is considering keeping the child. This is a very compelling look into the different sides of the adoption process from the case worker, to the birth mother to the adoptive parents. Each with a different set of motives, the reader is drawn into each couple's unique set of circumstances and is torn with their emotions over how difficult the entire adoption process can be. I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and really enjoyed this one. Like I stated before, for those who have never realized all the work that goes into a successful adoption, this gives you a fictional account of the ins and outs of the process through three different families. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and it does contain some sexual content and profanity as a caution to some readers.
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Marceelf More than 1 year ago
A little too neatly wrapped up but still good.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In Portland, Oregon, Chloe Pinter is a social worker and director of the Chosen Child's domestic adoption program. Her current clients, the recipients wealthy Francie and John McAdoo and the impoverished donor birth parents Penny and Jason, have different demands of Chloe especially when the social worker notices the bassinet in their home. She fears they will not come together in this open adoption. Chloe warns the McAdoo couple not to count their chickens before they are hatched as the adoption may not occur. Her admonition leads to a series of missteps that places the baby in jeopardy and has Chloe reconsidering the merits of open adoptions that she thought were the best way to exchange a child. Chosen is a fascinating contemporary tale that focuses on the economics behind adoptions; as the impoverished donor couple struggle to make ends meet while the affluent pair can afford the child. The couples are overly stereotyped as the poor family (including Jason's brother) are abusive and threatening while the wealthy pair is snooty nouveau riche. Ironically a third couple and Chloe are the sympathetic characters. Still in spite of the hyperbole of the exchange couples, Chandra Hoffman provides an interesting 360 degree look at how several people feel about adoption. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a pretty cool story so far...keep up the good work Emris!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Again, this is awesome! Continue continue continue!