Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: Somewhere Out There

Somewhere Out There
By Amy Hatvany
Published: March 1, 2016

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 review:

Natalie and Brooke had very different childhoods. After their birth mom Jennifer got in trouble with the law and gave them up for adoption, Natalie was adopted right away but Brooke had a turbulent life in foster care and group homes. The novel looks at who they are as women now and how their childhood affected them. It also explores the new relationship between Brooke and Natalie and Brooke's fears about becoming a mother. Jennifer's perspective is also included. She wasn't a good mom to her daughters but she did love them and it tore her apart to let them go. She had some rough years and now has moved past her mistakes.

Natalie was fortunate as a baby to be adopted into a nurturing family and her own family life is pretty happy though not without its challenges. Brooke on the other hand had a much more hardscrabble childhood and she has trouble trusting people and letting them into her life. Although it was Brooke I really felt for (and Natalie to a lesser degree), I was surprised to feel sympathy for Jennifer too. The author shows how Jennifer struggles to change her life and find peace. 

I think all three characters are well developed and given depth. There are no easy answers here and I think that makes the novel much more realistic. Somewhere Out There would be a fantastic novel for book discussion groups. It is the first book by Amy Hatvany that I've read and I definitely plan to read more. 

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking that this book would be perfect for a book club/discussion group. I have been seeing this one around a lot lately and was curious, so thanks for your review. Have a great weekend!


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