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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock

I am not a crier, but I must tell you Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock made me cry. I read this wonderful middle grade novel in one sitting, one late night actually, because no matter how late it got I could not put it down to go to sleep. This is a very sweet novel about adoption; it is never trite, often both sad and inspiring, and it tells the truth about adoption, especially adoption of older children.

Wen is an eleven year old girl who has spent most of her life in a Chinese orphanage. She has waited for years to be adopted and when it finally happens she is overcome with ambivalence. The idea of leaving her home, the younger children she provides care and much needed affection for, and most of all her best friend Shu Ling, terrifies her. Shu Ling is not only an unwanted daughter, she is crippled. It is a simple and terrible truth to both girls that Shu Ling will not be adopted due to her physical disabilities.

What makes this book so special is the devotion the girls have to one another. When Wen makes it to America, she vows to get Shu Ling a family. As Wen struggles for her friend, she and her family are working to understand each other. The awkwardness, confusion, and missteps on both sides is described wonderfully by Peacock. As a reader, you ache for this family, but you also believe in their ability to meld into a loving family unit.

This is a fantastic book for middle readers. It is honest about the difficulties of adoption and the problems people often have relating to and communicating with one another. Peacock has written a novel about resiliency and hope, but even more importantly, about the undying strength that comes from the bonds of friendship.

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