Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Relative Strangers by Paula Garner - NO

Garner, Paula Relative Strangers, 360 pages. Candlewick Press, 2018. $18. Content: Language: R (41 swears; 50 “f”)  ; Mature Content: R; Violence: G. 
Jules asks her mother for a baby picture for her senior yearbook, but is confused by the lack of baby pictures.  She decides to snoop and discovers that when she was a baby for a year and a half she was in foster care because her mom was an alcoholic.  The family who cared for Jules loved her and wanted to adopt her, but Jules mother cleaned herself up and since Jules was a baby never told her she was in foster care.  Jules decides she wants to connect to the family who cared for her and in the process she falls for her foster brother Luke. 
I hated this book.  If I had to describe it in one word it would be-yuck.  The overall premise was super frustrating because Jules couldn’t see how courageous her mother had to be to overcome addiction to raise her, instead Jules wanted a family who knew her for a short time when she was a baby.  Jules spent most of the book comparing her life to everyone else’s -at one point she calls herself a “chronic malcontent” and that is an understatement. Then she obsessively crushes on her foster brother who sees her as a sister which is just awkward and weird and she has zero self control so she kisses him.  Also Jules’ best friends talk Jules into drinking and smoking pot when they know both of her parents struggled with addiction (Jules father actually died from an overdose). I could go on and on, but story line wise that’s what I didn’t like about this book.  The other half of my dislike is the content which is out of context overuse of the ‘f’ word; underage drinking and drug use; technical and descriptive explanations about sex and penises. And my very least favorite part of the whole book is an explanation of young kids exploring each other’s bodies which was just yuck.  Hard pass on this book. 
HS – NOT RECOMMENDED.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.       

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