Thursday, March 17, 2016

Julie's Review: Somewhere Out There

Author: Amy Hatvany
Series: None
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 386
Obtained: friend
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Strong character driven novel about how early experiences shape who we are
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: What happens when two sisters who were torn apart when their young mother abandoned them—and grew up in tragically different circumstances—reunite thirty-five years later to find her? For readers who love Jodi Picoult, acclaimed author Amy Hatvany fearlessly explores complex family issues in her gripping, provocative new novel. 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.  

Review: Somewhere Out There is a story that will rip your heart out and slowly sew it back together. It is about finding out something about yourself and not letting it define you. It is about building yourself up so that your past doesn't always haunt your present and your future. It is about family and figuring out what that means to you.

Natalie is a married mother of 2 when her daughter's family tree project causes her to seek out her birth mother. Obviously this brings up long buried feelings for both her and her parents. Her mother especially. Her dad is more pragmatic about it.  She's nervous about finding her mother and how it will impact her life and her family's life. She's full of questions on why her mother gave them up.

Brooke has always found a way to survive. She relies on no one but herself and has a major wall up. Who can blame her since she was 4 when her mom signed away her rights to be their mother.  Now she has the chance to be a mother herself and she questions her abilities to do it right.

Jennifer was scared and alone with her girls. Barely surviving and scavenging to scrape by for the girls. Then she gets arrested and knows that the best thing for her girls will be the most painful thing for her: giving up her parental rights.

What Ms. Hatvany does is create characters that you feel for that you can identify with and want to see be happy. You want Brooke, Natalie and Jennifer to be ok but that will be different for each of them. I really enjoyed the ending. I liked that you got the sense they would all be ok but it wasn't wrapped up in a nice, neat bow. I liked that it was something that would happen in real life and real life is messy.



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