Half a World Away
Jaden is eleven, and he has been adopted by American parents. He feels like an "epic fail" in all the ways that count, especially now that his parents want to go all the way to Kazakhstan to adopt a new - possibly better? - baby to add to the family. When they arrive, though, the baby they were promised is gone, and the family is pressured to select a new child in a short time frame.
This is a moving story that gives insight into the perspective of each of Jaden's parents, in addition to his own. He befriends a driver in Kazakhstan whose belief systems and values are offered in the role of a sage, which is a little contrived, but also something Jaden is desperately seeking. The story contains lots of pain and choices and exploration about love and how people treat each other within families.
"The first time Jaden had heard Penni crying in bed was when he'd cut up several sweaters she'd bought for him. After that, she'd cried a lot. She about had a nervous breakdown when he burned his teddy bear's face. It was the first thing they'd given him when they met him at the airport." p. 60
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