Annie Dalton has paired up with her adopted daughter to create this inventive if uneven dual portrait of a British teen trying to find where she belongs among family and friends; and her birth mother, who gave the child up for adoption after delivering her on her 16th birthday. Written in the alternating voices of the teen and her birth mother, the novel opens as Carrie-Anne celebrates her 16th birthday with her adoptive parents and muses, ""This day, my birthday, reminds me that there is a woman out there, and by bone and by blood I belong to her. I am that woman's shame and regret."" Naomi, the teen's biological mother, first recounts Carrie-Anne's birth, then flashes back to her own childhood. Naomi lived with a needy, eccentric mother, who repeatedly glommed onto individuals she-usually mistakenly-perceived as ""soul mates,"" only to return her attention to her daughter when they let her down. Describing this pattern, Naomi perceptively notes, ""When did she get to be the child, causing mayhem, while I'm stuck with playing responsible adult?"" Carrie-Anne meanwhile struggles with her own volatile relationship with her adoptive mother, and the situation worsens when the teen tells her that she wants to find her ""real mum."" Curiously, Naomi's account of her young life is more compelling and immediate than Carrie-Anne's present-day narrative, which occasionally borders on melodrama. Yet these two threads weave a variegated fabric, revealing the complexities of loss, of finding one's place and of the mother-daughter bond. Ages 14-up.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006 Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 179 pages - 978-0-09-943338-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 108 pages - 978-0-440-23929-1