Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
March 07, 2017
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A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.
Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about.
Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.
Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.
Natasha Friend's last novel, Where You'll Find Me was a book I really loved and which had me looking forward to The Other F Word. This really is a, "timely YA novel," like the description says. What I love most about the book is that, like in Where You'll Find Me, it shows us that not all families are that supposedly normal, not 2.4 kids and two heterosexual, married parents - or even two divorced ones.
Hollis and Milo have always known that half of their genes come from a sperm donor and half from one of their moms. The amount that man was a part of their lives (or at least the idea of him was) and how much they wanted to know varied quite dramatically between the two. Milo has always felt more curious about who his 'father' is.
I thought the author did a fantastic job showing readers the different ways in which the teens thought of the man who gave them half of their DNA and the different ways having that unknown has affected them. It seemed very realistic that they didn't see everything the same way or always want the same things out of Milo's search.
Natasha Friend does a superb job demonstrating through Milo, Hollis, Frankie, Suzanne, Leigh, JJ and the others that family is not always (or even often) cookie cutter or what you expect. I love that she shows us characters who are grieving, characters who are 'numbing,' confused characters, hopeful characters, funny characters and loving characters that seem to all find a way to bring their stories and their lives together.
This book really does help its characters and readers to discover the true meaning of family.
thanks to the publisher for the digital review copy, received via NetGalley