Something Like Home

Random. Sept. 2023. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593566183.
Gr 4 Up–Everything in Laura’s life is wrong, and it is all her fault. If she hadn’t called 911, then the police wouldn’t have found her parents on pills, and she wouldn’t have been sent to live with an aunt she doesn’t know while her parents are in rehab. Haunted by her guilt and lack of autonomy, Laura is struggling to find a place in a new school and in a house with rules she doesn’t understand when she discovers an abandoned puppy and sets out to train him as a therapy dog. Maybe he will be the key to visiting her parents so she can apologize and they can all go home together. Extraordinarily honest and sensitive, this novel in verse tactfully and gracefully deals with foster and kinship care and some of the many emotions involved. Laura and her aunt are both Puerto Rican, although Laura doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, and some simple Spanish phrases are included through their dialogue. The verse format and word choice make this a more accessible option than some other books on similar topics. Throughout the story, Laura learns to accept that her love for her parents does not make her responsible for their actions, and to allow herself to have space in her heart for all those who love and care for her. An author’s note supplies more information for readers who are not familiar with foster/kinship care, as well as encouragement to those who have experienced it firsthand.
VERDICT So much affirmation, exploration, and positivity for those in similar situations are packed beautifully into these verses, making it a solid addition to collections.

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