A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.
Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about.
Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.
Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published: March 7th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Three and a half stars: An interesting book that explores what it means to be family as a group of half siblings seek out their sperm donor.
Milo is allergic to practically everything. In an attempt to get to the bottom of his condition, Milo's doctor suggests that he seek out his biological father. Milo has spent his whole life wondering about the man who donated his sperm to create him. Milo has long wanted to know more about his father, especially since he lives with his two lesbian mothers, and has never had a father figure. Milo doesn't want to do it alone so he decides to reach out to his half sister, Hollis, whom he met once when he was seven years old. Hollis, at first, wants to have nothing to do with his search, but after the two reunite and then connect with two other of their half siblings, they decide to find the man who created them. What none of them expect is that they will discover they have more in common than they would have thought, and that family means so much more than they dreamed. Can they be a family?
What I Liked:
- The Other F Word was an interesting read. I enjoyed exploring the different issues and themes presented. This book takes on many topics that I haven't really considered before. I like that it featured two protagonists who were raised in a non traditional family and grappling with self identity issues. The author presents many intriguing questions that I liked thinking on. This is a great book to start a conversation, and also a wonderful book for teens who come from non traditional families.
- I liked that both Milo and Hollis were reared by two moms. Yes, they have their issues with their moms, just like any kid has with their parents, but no matter their differences, when it matters, they are family. I liked how supportive the moms were to the kids, and I also liked getting to know the moms and see their own insecurities. I also liked that the author incorporated some of the difficulties these kids and their parents encounter. It was especially heartbreaking to learn that Hollis and her mother couldn't see her other mother when she was terminally ill because they weren't considered family in the eyes of the law. I appreciate the author called attention to these topics. This is a novel that explores all kinds of feelings and emotions, and I liked that.
- I loved watching the relationship unfold between the genetic siblings as they connected and discovered all that they had in common. It was heartwarming and fun to see them bond. It brought so much more meaning to the term family.
- Even though I was slightly disappointed in the open ending, I felt that the novel ended in a good place, and I had hope for the kids in the future.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest disappointment with this book was the way it ended. It felt too abrupt and open and there were many things left unfinished. Even though I liked that the author kept it real, I wished there was more. I think there needs to be a sequel because I want to see JJ's story unfold. I want to learn about Josh and see if he will finally connect with his siblings. I also want to know what will happen with Will. I need more.
- One turn off was that there was a mean girl theme and some bullying. I didn't like the way that Hollis handled the bullying situation. However, there was a resolution at the end, and I was pleased the way it settled out. I am never a fan of mean girls.
- Josh was a conundrum for me. I wish that he had a bigger part as I wanted to understand him better.
- The book didn't have the humor that I was hoping for. In fact, I didn't find it funny at all, so I am not sure why it is being billed as a humorous book.
The Other F Word is a book that explores what it is like to grow up in a non traditional family. I enjoyed learning about the difficulties kids growing up in a non traditional household face and how they handle their situation. This is a book that brings new meaning to the word family, and it goes to show that family comes in all different forms. This is a great book to read and start a discussion. The only reason I didn't rate it higher was because I was disappointed in the open ending, and I didn't like the mean girl theme. Still, this is definitely a book to try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
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