Half a World Away

Cynthia Kadohata. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-442-41275-0
Romanian-born Jaden knows fear and anger but has trouble feeling love and trust. He was abandoned by his biological mother at age four, then shuttled to several foster homes before being adopted by an American couple. Now 12, Jaden thinks his adoptive parents must not be “satisfied” with him because they want another child, and they expect Jaden to go with them to Kazakhstan to meet and bond with his new adoptive baby brother. In this candid novel about three individuals struggling to become a family, National Book Award–winner Kadohata (The Thing About Luck) offers a rare insider’s view of a boy with attachment difficulties searching to find security and purpose. While visiting the orphanage in Kazakhstan, Jaden is drawn to a special-needs toddler, even as he has trouble feeling anything for the baby his parents plan to adopt. Jaden also forms an unexpected and eye-opening friendship with the family’s outspoken hired driver. Without sugarcoating the complexities and mishaps that can accompany overseas adoption, Kadohata creates an inspiring story that celebrates hope and second chances. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
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