My So-Called Family

Courtney Sheinmel, Author . Simon & Schuster $15.99 (194p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5785-0

When Leah Hoffman-Ross's family moves shortly before the start of eighth grade, she seizes the opportunity to pass for “normal”—in other words, to conceal that in place of a dad she has Donor 730 from a Maryland sperm bank. Everything goes swimmingly—Leah makes new friends easily and gets along with her mom, stepfather and brainy five-year-old half-brother—until she slips up, in a typical 13-year-old's dilemma, and doesn't handle a curfew correctly. Grounded, furious at her parents, she looks up the sperm bank on the Internet and discovers a link for a sibling registry. First-time novelist Sheinmel, a PW reviewer, motivates Leah insightfully and sympathetically—readers will understand her conflicts, both petty and major, as she gets to know another daughter of Donor 730 and keeps it a secret from her disapproving mother (“She's not your sister,” her mother insists when she finds out). As narrator, Leah's voice is right on key, whether describing the give-and-take of family life or revelations about what constitutes family. Smart, original and full of vitality. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/20/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4169-8622-5
Paperback - 194 pages - 978-1-4169-7942-5
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