Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
Audience: All Ages
A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award.
Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing.
But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.
This was a very different children’s book. I liked learning about why Jaden did what he did. I felt like I understood him. Kadohata was very sympathetic to him and did a great job with the characters in this book. Personally, I saw the ending coming but I think children would absolutely love it.
*******MAJOR SPOILER ALERT**********
I was worried that they would lose Dimash to another family while they were gone like what happened with their first choice of child. So WORRIED. What if it doesn’t work out??? I was happy with the family’s decision but YIKES.