Half a world away

Cynthia Kadohata

Book - 2014

Twelve-year-old Jaden, an emotionally damaged adopted boy fascinated by electricity, feels a connection to a small, weak toddler with special needs in Kazakhstan, where Jaden's family is trying to adopt a "normal" baby.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers [2014]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
225 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781442412750
1442412755
Main Author
Cynthia Kadohata (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Jaden is fascinated by electricity, which always relaxes him. And relaxation is important to the 12-year-old who was abandoned by his mother when he was 4 and adopted from Romania when he was 8. He has been told by doctors that he is a textbook case of a troubled, older adopted child: he has set fires, hoards food, steals, lies, sleeps on the floor instead of in a bed, and, worst of all, seems incapable of feeling love. And now his American parents are taking him along as they fly half a world away to Kazakhstan, where they plan to adopt a baby. How is Jaden to feel about this? And, once there, what will happen after he bonds not with the baby but with a special needs child at the adoption facility? Newbery medalist and National Book Award winner Kadohata has written a remarkable, insightful study of a troubled boy, the challenging circumstances in which he finds himself, and his painful journey to bonding and, perhaps, to love. Along the way, she has given readers a candid and often disturbing look at the adoption process in a remote country, while her memorable novel is further enriched by the depth of her characterizations; even minor characters come alive on the page. Thought provoking and emotionally engaging, this is wholly satisfying. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Romanian-born Jaden knows fear and anger but has trouble feeling love and trust. He was abandoned by his biological mother at age four, then shuttled to several foster homes before being adopted by an American couple. Now 12, Jaden thinks his adoptive parents must not be "satisfied" with him because they want another child, and they expect Jaden to go with them to Kazakhstan to meet and bond with his new adoptive baby brother. In this candid novel about three individuals struggling to become a family, National Book Award–winner Kadohata (The Thing About Luck) offers a rare insider's view of a boy with attachment difficulties searching to find security and purpose. While visiting the orphanage in Kazakhstan, Jaden is drawn to a special-needs toddler, even as he has trouble feeling anything for the baby his parents plan to adopt. Jaden also forms an unexpected and eye-opening friendship with the family's outspoken hired driver. Without sugarcoating the complexities and mishaps that can accompany overseas adoption, Kadohata creates an inspiring story that celebrates hope and second chances. Ages 10–14. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Twelve-year-old Jaden, an emotionally damaged adopted boy fascinated by electricity, feels a connection to a small, weak toddler with special needs in Kazakhstan, where Jaden's family is trying to adopt a "normal" baby.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Believing himself to be an "epic fail" when his family travels to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby he thinks will replace him in his parents' affections, 11-year-old Jaden witnesses their wrenching choice when they are offered six children to adopt, one of whom captures Jaden's heart.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award.Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing.But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, Half a World Away is Cynthia Kadohata’s latest spark of a novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award.Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he's an 'epic fail.' That's why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby'to replace him, he's sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing.But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they've travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn't pure blinding fury, and there's no way to control it, or its power.From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, Half a World Away is Cynthia Kadohata's latest spark of a novel.