The Best Part of Us by Sally Cole-Misch

In the award-winning The Best Part of Us, Sally Cole-Misch ties readers to Great Lakes roots, charting the story of a young girl torn between her natural history and urban realities. Explore what shaped the story, and Sally, below before reading more about the adventures of Beth.


Beth cherishes her family’s summers on a pristine Canadian lake, where she revels in the sweet smell of dew on early morning hikes, the loons’ evening trills across the lake’s many bays and an unshakeable bond with family, friends and nature on their island of granite and pines.  

When that bond is threatened and then torn apart, first as her family’s rights to the island are questioned and then by nature itself, Beth creates a new life in urban Chicago. She erects a solid barrier between the past and present, no matter how much it costs her — until her beloved grandfather asks her to return to the island to determine its fate. Will she choose to preserve who she has become, or will she risk everything to discover if what was lost still remains?

The Best Part of Us immerses readers in a breathtaking natural world, a fresh perspective on loyalty and an exquisite ode to the essential roles that family, nature and place hold in all of our lives.

Book Discussion Guide



Photo by Susan Adams

Sally Cole-Misch is a writer and environmental communicator who advocates for the natural world through work and play. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in environmental education and international water policy from the University of Michigan, and a certificate in fiction writing from Stanford University. Throughout her career, she’s focused on communicating our essential connections with nature — particularly the Great Lakes — and the role each of us can play to restore, protect and enjoy all that nature gives to us. Sally lives in Michigan and enjoys hiking, skiing, kayaking, sailing, gardening, reading, a hearty laugh with friends, the wonder of surprise and the optimism that nature’s beauty always provides.

Learn more about Sally and The Best Part of Us at

If you’d like to have Sally join your group’s conversation about the novel, please email her at or or call (248) 961-0052.


The Best Part of Us by Sally Cole-Misch. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2020.
ISBNs: 163152741X, 9781631527418, 9781631527425

The book is now out as an e-book (see links on Sally’s website) and an audiobook. The audiobook is available from: Audible,, Rakuten kobo, and Google Play, or via links on Sally’s website.

For Institutions, the audio and ebooks are available via Hoopla. The ebook is available via Overdrive.

Book cover credits:
Cover Art: (c) plainpicture/Glasshouse/Eric Schwort; Design: Tabitha Lahr, She Writes Press

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