Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com
The loss of a child is always a terrible shock to a family, but Leah is profoundly affected by the accidental death of her older adopted brother, Luce. She questions her parents' love for her and how she compares to her near perfect brother. Did his birth parents know what they have missed....did Luce ever wonder about his birth parents? The very shy and introverted Leah decides to try to find out about her brother's biological parents and about the adoption.
Mom seems to be lost in her own world and locked away with the memories of her beautiful boy. Leah's father is coping with the loss much better, and her grandmother, Bibi, helps Leah to accept this turning point in her life most of all. Leah decides that knowing more about Luce's birth family and perhaps finding them will help her to cope with her loss. Her best friend and Luce's girlfriend aid in her search, and when her parents realize what her goal is, they begin to share the details of the adoption with her. Did Luce ever want to find his birth parents? Should she look for them?
Sandra Belton writes with sensitivity about a difficult subject, and her characters are believable and sympathetic. In her first-person, present-tense narrative, Belton expresses Leah's intense feelings in heartbreaking prose that shows her sorrow, jealousy, anger, and love, and defines a "real" family.
This would be an especially meaningful story for any teen who is adopted, or has adopted siblings, but the tragedy of losing a loved one is universal, and the message of parental love in this story is one that will long live in your memory.