Jaden is obsessed with electricity. It is one of the few things in his life that makes him feel calm and happy. One of his many psychiatrists taught him to focus on it whenever his mind wanders to the bad parts of life, like his Romanian mother giving him away at age 4 or his adoptive parents, Steve and Penny, who “pretend” to love him, even though he's "troubled". How can he believe that they really love him now that they are adopting a new baby from Kazakstan? When the initial adoption fails, Jaden hopes that they can just return to the United States, even though, after 4 years, it still doesn’t feel like home to him. But then he meets Dimash, a toddler with special needs, and wonders if maybe it wouldn’t be so horrible to have a little brother. Maybe having a brother would finally allow him to feel love?
Why It's Worth Reading:
Jaden's emotions really shine through and touch the reader. I was both sympathetic to Jaden and frustrated with him at different points in this book. There aren't a lot of books from the perspective of an adopted child, especially one who was adopted internationally. I was able to put myself in Jaden's shoes and understand how hard it must be to wonder if you fit into your own family. As a parent, I wanted Jaden to see how much Penni and Steve really love him, but I can understand why he would be confused. Half a World Away opened my eyes to the some realities of international adoption that I was unaware of and opened my heart to those who, like Jaden, have a hard time connecting with the people around them.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Source: Library Media Connection review copy
Do We Own a Copy? on order