Saturday, March 21, 2009

My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel

I really enjoyed this book. It deals with an unusual topic: having a father who is just a sperm donor. Leah told everyone that her father lived in Europe until she was in the fourth grade and her mother told a new friend the truth about her parentage, and the friend told her daughter, who was a friend of Leah's. That's when she gained the nickname "Science Experiment." So when her mother and stepfather tell her that they're moving to a new city to live, Leah realizes it's the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. The new school is good, she makes friends right away, and her new friends even like having her little brother, Charlie, around. Leah is an interesting character, because even though she seems so independent, her desire for people to like her and not find out the truth about her background makes her willing to go along with her friends plans even when it gets her in big trouble with her parents. She also finds herself drawn to a website she discovered: Lyon's Sibling Registry. It's a website that connects the children of sperm donors from the Lyon's Sperm Bank. She uses her mom's credit card to join, and learns about a girl who has the same father. In secret, Leah becomes friends with her and even goes to visit her without her parents knowing. I'm not sure how believable the story is, but it doesn't really matter. I like the resolution: Leah finds out that her parents and her new friends are a lot more accepting and understanding than she thought they would be. Review by Stacy Church

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