The Opposite of Fate (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
The Opposite of Fate Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews

Mallie has it all, or at least she has all she needs. A supportive brother, a boyfriend she loves, a chosen family and a larger than life glow that everyone around her basks in. But then IT happens. One night while she is waiting to give her brother a ride home Mallie is attacked, raped, and suffers a terrible head injury. Mallie is deep in a coma she may never wake from when her family discovers that her rapist has left her pregnant. What follows is a terrible decision that tears her family apart and divides the town. Mallie wakes to a world gone mad and the aching knowledge that she will never be the same. This story is beautifully rendered and asks hard questions about choice, right and wrong, and the power of  forgiveness. Mallie’s story is not about fate. It is about what happens when a person refuses to give up.


— From Chrissy's Recs


Who gets to choose? When a young woman emerges from a lengthy coma-like state she must face the decisions that were made about her body—without her consent—in this powerful novel of reclamation and hope.

Twenty-one-year-old Mallie Williams—scrappy, headstrong, and wise beyond her years—has just landed on her feet following a tumultuous youth when the unthinkable happens: she is violently assaulted. The crime leaves her comatose, surrounded by friends and family who are hoping against hope for a full recovery.

But soon Mallie's small community finds themselves divided. The rape has left Mallie pregnant, and while some friends are convinced that she would never keep the pregnancy, others are sure that a baby would be the only good thing to come out of all of this pain. Who gets to decide? How much power, in the end, do we have over our own bodies? Mallie, her family, and her town find themselves at the center of a media storm, confronting questions nobody should have to face. And when Mallie emerges from the fog, what will she think of the choices that were made on her behalf?

The Opposite of Fate is an intense and moving exploration of the decisions we make—and don’t make—that forever change the course of our lives.

About the Author

ALISON MCGHEE’s best-selling novel Shadow Baby was a Today Show Book Club pick, and her picture book for adults, Someday, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. She is the recipient of many fellowships and awards, has three grown children, and lives a semi-nomadic life in Minnesota and California.

Praise For…

One of Parade's "20 Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020"
One of Working Mother's "20 Most Anticipated Books of 2020" 
One of Beyond the Bookends' "New Releases for Winter 2020"

“Alison McGhee’s The Opposite of Fate plunges fearlessly into the core of the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate…staggering…[McGhee] maneuvers the weight of this tight-rope topic with grace and unwavering symmetry…[The Opposite of Fate] teaches us that at the end of the day the story of our lives comes down to our choices. Even when we are dealt a bad hand, a hand beyond our control, the decision of how we carry on is still up to us. We always have the option to keep moving forward as best we can.”
Paperback Paris

"McGhee uses thoughtful language and rich, meditative imagery to paint a picture of one young woman facing a difficult new path ahead."

 “This is, at its heart, a novel about family—including chosen family—autonomy, and identity…Thoughtful and moving.”

"The Opposite of Fate dives deep into one of the more terrifying—and yet hopeful—questions of life. How do we choose when we don't know the right answer? Alison McGhee is a fearless writer, full of love for humanity and a tender touch with words. You'll love this book." 
—Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder 

"Alison McGhee’s The Opposite of Fate is, like everything she writes, as close to poetry as prose gets, full of metaphor and imagery and lyrical repetition. I was driven to turn page after page to find out what would happen—Would Mallie reassemble her life? What would “the whole truth” look like when it was pieced back together?—but I also wanted to slow down and savor each beautiful sentence, each image. The Opposite of Fate is a story about stories: the ones we tell ourselves in order to bear the unbearable, solve the unsolvable, and live."
—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

 "Mallie Williams wakes from a year-long nightmarish sleep like a princess in a fairy-tale; but in Alison McGhee's novel, the princess takes control of her narrative and her future. The Opposite of Fate shows the ways in which imagination can sometimes save us. This is a powerful and beautiful book."
—Julie Schumacher, author of The Shakespeare Requirement

 “The Opposite of Fate is a story for our times, for many of us who are concerned about the future of our bodies, afraid for a return to a place and time when women had no say over our reproductive rights, our ability to make decisions for ourselves and our livelihoods. This is a powerful book about family, love, faith and the will to survive.”
—Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Song Poet

"After a sexual assault left her comatose and pregnant, 21-year-old Mallie Williams lies in the hospital, unable to make a life-changing decision about her own body. With her loved ones in charge of making determining the baby’s fate, Mallie awakes to a new world and the chance to build a new life."
Parade, "Set Your Reading Lists! These Are the 20 Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020" 
Product Details
ISBN: 9781328518439
ISBN-10: 1328518434
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: February 18th, 2020
Pages: 272
Language: English