Author: Amy Hatvany
Published: March 2016, Washington Square Press
Format: ARC E-copy, 368 pages
What happens when two sisters who were torn apart when their young mother abandoned them—and grew up in tragically different circumstances—reunite thirty-five years later to find her? For readers who love Jodi Picoult, acclaimed author Amy Hatvany fearlessly explores complex family issues in her gripping, provocative new novel.
Natalie Clark knew never to ask her sensitive adoptive mother questions about her past. She doesn’t even know her birth mother’s name—only that the young woman signed parental rights over to the state when Natalie was a baby. Now Natalie’s own daughter must complete a family tree project for school, and Natalie is determined to unearth the truth about her roots.
Brooke Walker doesn’t have a family. At least, that’s what she tells herself after being separated from her mother and her little sister at age four. Having grown up in a state facility and countless foster homes, Brooke survives the only way she knows how, by relying on herself. So when she discovers she’s pregnant, Brooke faces a heart-wrenching decision: give up her baby or raise the child completely on her own. Scared and confused, she feels lost until a surprise encounter gives her hope for the future.
How do our early experiences—the subtle and the traumatic—define us as adults? How do we build relationships when we’ve been deprived of real connection? Critically acclaimed author Amy Hatvany considers controversial and complicated questions about childhood through the lens of her finely crafted characters in this astute novel about mending wounds by diving into the truth of what first tore us apart.
My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Amy Hatvany and I can say with absolute certainty that it will definitely not be my last...OMG this book was quite the emotional roller coaster. I was captivated from the first page and totally engrossed throughout.
I loved the way this story was told. It starts with Jennifer, the birth mom and why she signed her rights away to her two girls. Then it begins to alternate between Brooke and Natalie thirty-five years later, in the present, interspersed with chapters of Jennifer as she deals with what happened to her after giving up her girls. After being put in foster care, Natalie was quickly adopted, while Brooke ended up going through many foster care families and finally became a ward of the state. Natalie doesn't learn about her sister's existence until she starts digging into her past.
This is a story about the choices we make and the ripple effect those choices have not only on our lives, but on the lives of those we love. Jennifer learned that lesson over and over again, but is there ever redemption in that one choice she made? Natalie grew up in a loving home, but when she finds out that her adopted parents kept her sister a secret from her, can she ever forgive them? Brooke has felt abandoned and unloved. Can she not only put these feelings aside to forge a relationship with her sister, but also with her mother?
This book had me hooked from the beginning. I was completely invested in all three of the characters, rooting for all of them to find some type of peace or resolution that best fit each of the individual characters and I really think Amy Hatvany nailed it. As I said earlier, this was the first book I've read by AH and I am definitely going to be checking out her back list...what do you suggest I pick up next?
Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany is one of BookSparks "My Winter is Booked" reading selection picks.
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