Kadohata, Cynthia Half a World Away, 225 p. Antheneum Books for Young Readers, c2014. $16.99 Language: 0 swears; Mature Content:PG ; Violence:PG
It’s hard to give love if you hadn’t been given it. Jaden was given away at age 4, and lived in foster homes until he was 8, in his native Romania. Penni & Steve flew from the United States to adopt him 4 years ago. Jaden has been a handful, to say the least, but when he started lighting fires in the house, psychiatrists became involved. Now at 12 he questions why his adoptive parents have to fly to Kazakhstan to adopt a baby brother? While Steve & Penni bond with the baby, Jaden does his own bonding with a 3-year old disabled boy.
The theme and setting in this book leads one to place it a tad above a G-rating. One of the characters smokes, the babies being adopted are not healthy normal ones, a toddler is left out in the cold all alone. There is a chapter describing an eagle capturing a hare and eating it alive. Having experienced Kazakhstan through my husband’s 6 month working experience there, I would say that the descriptions of people, buildings and law are very true. The plot itself is very slow.
EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Sandra Doehler, MLIS, Oquirrh Hills Middle School