It’s always wonderful to start an Amy Hatvany novel. As a reader, I know I’m going to deal with some serious issues that aren’t easily solved and then put away in a neat folder. Amy’s novels tend to get complicated and engage readers to think about what’s happening in society, their community and hopefully continue the conversation, after they’ve finished them. I imagine some of her novels may have hit home for readers, like BEST KEPT SECRET, which deals with alcoholism and her latest, SOMEWHERE OUT THERE (Atria) which looks at abandonment, neglect, adoption among other topics. This is real life and it’s tough.
Jennifer is barely twenty. She has two daughters, 4-year old Brooke, 6-month old Natalie and they’re living in their car. They have no food, so Jennifer drives into the market parking lot on fumes and tells her daughters she’ll be right back. But this time, Jennifer is arrested for stealing and endangerment. She sees no way out, so believing the girls will be adopted together, she gives up full parental rights to the state of Washington.
Soon a couple comes to the Hillcrest Home for Girls, but they only want the baby and leave Brooke behind. Brooke is never adopted, her youth is a life of foster homes and institutional housing. She’s angry and counting the days until she ages-out and is on her own.
Natalie is raised by a professional family and earns her law degree. She learns she’s adopted when she’s 10-years old, but doesn’t find out she has a sister until she’s thirty- five. This disrupts her relationship with her mother and her mother’s insecurities come out. Natalie has to reassure her, but she’s still angry and wants to pursue finding her sister.
Brooke is working as a waitress, barely surviving and then finds herself pregnant, but determined to be a single mom, and do it all by herself. She’s determined to be the opposite of what her birth mother was. It’s then she gets a call from the National Adoption Agency wondering if she’s the “Brooke who may have a sister named Natalie.”
Amy was so gentle and sensitive when writing the narrative of SOMEWHERE OUT THERE. She was juggling many emotions, and it could have been easy to have been too sentimental, or tough, but she found the perfect balance. Amy has the amazing talent of telling heart-felt stories that don’t end up feeling fake or cliché. She’s blessed with a brilliant gift for storytelling, and we are the blessed recipients.
For me, the takeaway from SOMEWHERE OUT THERE is forgiveness. The only way to let go of the past, is to forgive yourself.
You can contact Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads or at her website http://www.amyhatvany.com
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