Half A World Away

Half A World Away

Book - 2014
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Baker & Taylor
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.

& Taylor

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.

Simon and Schuster
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.

Publisher: New York :, Atheneum Books for Young Readers,, 2014
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781442412750
Characteristics: 225 pages ; 22 cm


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Mar 20, 2016

As someone with long-term issues, I found I could relate to Jaden quite a bit. The writer took me for an emotional roller coaster ride which at the end left me feeling relieved and happy at its most desired ending.

This book won't be for everyone -- but for me it did feel very meaningful. Yes Jaden - I will try too.

Jan 20, 2016

Kept me hooked. Read it in under 24 hours. Although I can't say it was a life-changing book for me or anything like that, the story was heartfelt, enthralling, and uniquely, emotionally honest. Jaden's struggles are deep, real, and challenging, but he shows growth throughout the book. Although the story wrapped up a little too neatly, it has that slice-of-life element in every sense of the genre. I'm pretty sure there isn't a sequel, and I kind of like that. Based on the ending, the reader forms their own opinion of what happens next, and in my case it was a positive one.
Quite an interesting read that makes you ponder the deeper meanings of love, family, and belonging. I enjoyed it.

This was a tough one for me. It will have its reader, but it won't appeal to everyone. Adopted as an older child and moved to the US, Jaden struggles with trust and loving and is a challenge to his parents. When his family goes to Kazakhstan to adopt a second child, a baby this time, Jaden examines his feelings and learns the importance of loving. Kadohata weaves an interesting electrical connection into the story. Thought provoking. Introspective. Complex. Challenging. Rewarding. Grades 5-7.

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