Tag Archives: Adoption

Michael Morris. Slow Way Home. New York: HarperOne, 2004.

Brandon’s life has always been full of uncertainty. Whether he is trying to navigate his mother’s erratic, alcohol-fueled moods or to protect himself from her abusive boyfriends, Brandon is always on the edge. That all changes when, at the insistence of his mother’s latest mate, Brandon is sent to live with his grandparents near Raleigh. Although he feels abandoned at first, Brandon deeply appreciates his new stable home life and his grandparents’ undying love.

Uncertainty follows him to the Triangle, however, when his mother returns demanding Brandon. His grandparents are unwilling to place him back in her unpredictable care, and they initiate a custody battle. Although Brandon’s mother arrives late and disheveled to visitations and legal meetings, the judge rules that Brandon should be returned to her. Brandon’s grandparents cannot bear the thought of parting with him, and seeing no other options, they decide to abscond with Brandon to Florida. They change their names, their appearances, and their stories and start life anew.

Brandon has a chance to start over in Florida, but he brings one aspect of his previous life with him: fear. He and his grandparents bristle at the sight of police officers, and Brandon panics on a field trip when he mistakes a stranger for his mother. Although they find a happy life in Florida, Brandon’s fears are realized when their secret is uncovered. He is sent back to Raleigh to live with his mother, and his grandparents are sent to prison.

Although Brandon can anticipate that his mother will prove to be an unfit mother, he has no intuition about who will save him. One individual’s benevolence allows Brandon to let go of his fears and to be reunited with his grandparents. Feeling free at last, Brandon maps out his destiny.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Morris, Michael, Piedmont, Wake

Diane Chamberlain. Summer’s Child. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA, 2010.

Daria Cato thought of Rory Taylor as her best friend.  Their family had summer houses on the same cul-de-sac in Kill Devil Hills.  Daria and Rory would run on the beach together and play all kinds of games. Rory, three years older than Daria, told himself that he was “letting”  Daria win, but she was a spirited and feisty child who could hold her own against her fun-loving playmate. But when Rory became a teenager, their relationship changed.  Daria developed a crush on Rory just as Rory gravitated to friends his own age.

Daria briefly had Rory’s attention–and everyone else’s–the morning of her eleventh birthday when she found a newborn baby on the beach.  This shocking event had the community abuzz for weeks.  When the baby’s mother could not be found, Daria’s parents adopted the child.  As the girl, Shelly, grew, it was evident that the circumstances of her birth affected her development.  Daria, always protective of Shelly, moved with Shelly back to the Outer Banks since that is where Shelly is most at ease.  At twenty, Shelly works for the local Catholic Church, and Daria is a carpenter and EMT.  It’s a comfortable, if not joyful, life that Shelly upsets when she contacts Rory, now the producer of a hit television series, True Life Stories. Shelley wants Rory to uncover the truth about her birth.

Rory’s arrival back in Kill Devil Hills unsettles Daria, her sister Chloe, and other locals.  Daria worries that Shelly will not be able to absorb the truth, if Rory finds it, but Daria should be worried about herself.  Daria is struggling with guilt over a failed rescue and with sadness at the end of a long-term romance.  Daria needs someone to confide in, but those closest to her have secrets to hide–both in the past and the present. Those secrets eventually come out but the passage of time allows most of the characters to forgive the mistakes of youth–their own and others.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Dare

Monique Truong. Bitter in the Mouth. New York: Random House, 2010.

All of her adult life, Linda Hammerick has been asked “what it was like to grow up being Asian in the South.” Linda, adopted at the age of six by a white couple in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, has always given the following response: “You mean what was it like to grow up looking Asian in the South.”

The dissolution of her engagement, a job demotion, and a bout with cancer were all events that Linda could deal with on her own, safely in her New York City brownstone. However, it is the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle, Harper, that brings Linda back to Boiling Springs as a thirty-year old, twelve years after leaving for college at Yale. On this visit, without the gentle, insightful perspective of Harper, Linda has to come to terms with her childhood–her strained relationship with her mother, DeAnne, her understanding of her synesthesia (a neurological condition that makes Linda associate tastes with words, like Lindamint and Jesusfriedchicken), and the circumstances of her adoption. Revisiting her memories of the different people and stages in her life, Linda finds that although there are no easy answers to the questions of her youth, exploring them helps her grow.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cleveland, Piedmont, Truong, Monique

Sarah Addison Allen. The Girl Who Chased the Moon. New York: Bantam Books, 2010.

Coming home can be a difficult process if the reasons you left in the first place were painful. Coming home to a small town like Mullaby, North Carolina where everyone seems to know all about you can be very awkward. Coming home to a place where there is a gentle giant, men who glow in the moonlight, and people can see and follow the smell of cake, can be wonderful.

For Emily Benedict, coming to Mullaby after the death of her mother is a homecoming of sorts. Although this is her first time in the town and the first time she meets her grandfather, Emily feels a strange connection to the people as well as the place. As she learns about why her mother lost touch with her grandfather, a giant, she discovers a town full of animosity towards her mother, animosity which extends to her too. Only when she befriends a strange boy, Win Coffey, whose signature outfit is a white summer linen suit and who glows in the moonlight, does she understand the truth of why her mother left. The history shared by Emily and Win’s families could complicate their budding relationship, but they are determined to write a new story for themselves.

Julia Winterson has returned to Mullaby after the death of her father. She planned to stay in Mullaby for two years to claim her father’s estate and to expand his barbecue restaurant so that when she sells it she will make a profit. Julia wants to move back to Baltimore to open a bakery, leaving the painful memories of Mullaby behind. However, people who hurt her in the past – mean girls, an impossible stepmother, and a boy, Sawyer, who claimed to love her but wanted her to get an abortion when she became pregnant at sixteen – once again become important figures in her life. When Sawyer expresses his true feelings for her, Julia admits to giving birth to their daughter and putting her up for adoption. Julia realizes that she cannot leave Mullaby because it is and always was her home. Although she and Sawyer have no way of finding their daughter, Julia bakes cakes as a way to try to call her home – a method Sawyer’s mother used to reach him.

Maddie Davis had never been to Mullaby when she traveled there to find her birth mother. For her entire life, she has been able to see the ingredients in cake – flour, sugar, vanilla – in the air, and this sixth sense draws her to the dessert and to the baker. Maddie has finally found the source of that scent that has been reaching out to her for her entire life. And in traveling to Mullaby to meet her birth parents, Maddie comes home.

While each homecoming is not without unpleasant moments, the results are comforting – and magical.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Allen, Sarah Addison, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Doris Buchanan Smith. Moonshadow of Cherry Mountain. New York: Four Winds Press, 1982.

Greg and Moonshadow, his black Labrador Retriever, have lived on Cherry Mountain for six years, ever since they were adopted by the Rileys. They both love roaming the mountain, drinking from its crystal-clear streams and searching for wildlife. The two are inseparable. That is, until Clara is adopted into the family. Greg and Moonshadow are initially delighted to have another family member. However, when Clara’s allergies force Moonshadow from the house, both boy and dog must deal with their feelings of resentment toward the newcomer.

Just as Moonshadow’s familiar territory indoors has been taken away, she finds that parts of “her” mountain are now off-limits as well. New neighbors have moved in, building houses, altering the terrain, and bringing new dogs that threaten her space.

This novel shows both the human and the canine perspective of coping with alterations to a familiar way of life.

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Filed under 1980-1989, 1982, Children & Young Adults, Clay, Mountains, Smith, Doris Buchanan

Clay Carmichael. Wild Things. Honesdale, PA: Front Street, 2009.

Zoë and Mr. C’mere approach people the same way.  Both are skeptical and skittish of others.  Both are fiercely independent and would be more than happy to live alone.  Both have been described as “feral.”  However, there is one distinction: Mr. C’mere is a cat, as one might assume, but Zoë is an eleven-year old girl.  Zoë Royster’s short life has been full of uncertainty and instability.  Her mother, who has just passed away, was mentally ill and neglectful, and Zoë never met her father.  When her paternal uncle Henry (who Zoë had never even heard of) comes to the hospital in Farmville to take her home with him, Zoë is distrustful of the new adult in her life.  However, Henry, a renowned sculptor and former successful naval cardiologist, is different.  While he does make her go to school for the first time, he also provides her with a secure home life and compassionate grown-up friends.

This new home includes Mr. C’mere, who wearily befriends Zoë, although it takes time and coaxing.  Zoë’s explorations of  the woods behind Henry’s home leads her to a forgotten cabin and a mysterious boy who roams the forest with a beautiful, rare albino deer that he calls “Sister.”  The bizarre boy watches over Zoë and his desire to protect her gets them both into some trouble, but it ultimately teaches Zoë the value of family in ways she’s never imagined.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Carmichael, Clay, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Pitt, Scotland

Lori Foster. Say No To Joe? New York: Zebra, 2003.

Joe Winston is the type of guy that girls flock to.  He has no problem with getting his pick of the litter until he meets Luna Clark.   Luna knows better than to fall for Joe’s usually irresistible charms and, of course, this drives Joe crazy.  He pursues and she ignores until Luna finds herself the new guardian of her two young cousins.   Now Luna needs Joe’s help to protect the kids.   The group becomes an instant family as Joe and Luna grow closer, realizing their true feelings.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Foster, Lori, Romance/Relationship

Sandra E. Bowen. This Day’s Madness. New York: iUniverse, 2000.

Trapeze artist Frankie is the young, orphaned star of the Doub Circus. When Frankie’s parents died they left her in the care of the circus owner and he and the other performers became her family. That Frankie is African American does not matter to them, but since she can pass as white, it is kept a secret in order to avoid controversy. On the circus’s first trip into the South, Frankie’s background is revealed and she is taken from the circus by members of the Granston, NC community. She is placed in an orphanage but after standing up for herself to a cruel authority figure, she is moved to a reform school. Eventually she is adopted, renamed Thomasena, and allowed to finish growing up outside institutions, but it is more than six years before she is free to leave Granston again.

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Bowen, Sandra E., Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Louis Pendleton. Corona of the Nantahalas. New York: The Merriam Co., 1895.

Mr. Pendleton must have read the Bard of Avon because this book has many of the elements of a Shakespeare play: mistaken identity, confused lovers, a kidnapping, a child rescued from danger and raised by guardians. As a toddler, Corona is saved from death by the mountaineer Gideon McLeod. She grows up, happy, with the McLeod family in Lonely Cove until a journalist who’s touring the mountains plays with her heart and spreads lies about the family. One consequence of the journalist’s visit is that the botanist Edward Darnell hears about the flora, fauna, and family in Lonely Cove. Darnell, who was also adopted, is taken with Corona. As the plot unfolds, they find that they have much in common.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1890-1899, 1895, Macon, Mountains, Novels to Read Online, Pendleton, Louis

Dana Sachs. If You Lived Here. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.

Wilmington resident and mortician’s wife Shelley Marino desperately wants a child and after several miscarriages and failed domestic adoptions, she begins trying to adopt a little boy from Vietnam. While this strains her relationship with her husband, it helps her forge a new friendship with Mai, a local woman who fled Vietnam in the late 1970s. The narration switches between the voices of Shelley and Mai, both as the women get to know one another in the United States and later when they travel to Asia.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, New Hanover, Sachs, Dana