The Name She Gave Me

HarperAudio. Jun. 2022. 434p. $18.99. ISBN 9780063157866.
Gr 7 Up–“Rynn’s story is not my story,” Culley writes in her author’s note, but “my personal experiences inspired the book.” Like Culley, Rynn is adopted; at 16, she’s longing for understanding about her birth origins. When Rynn’s mother refuses to give the permission necessary to access her adoption documents, her friends encourage a personal search. She learns she’ll never meet her birth mother who died four years earlier, but she connects with an uncle and a younger sister. That her birth mother bestowed Rynn her own rare name, Scheherazade, at birth and named her sister Sorella, literally “sister,” convinces Rynn that a sibling reunion must have been intended. Delawari melodically commands most of the narration as Rynn, her youthfully pitched delivery enhancing Culley’s emotional verses. Casting Cordileone for Sorella, however, is an utterly inexplicable misstep; she’s more middle-aged mom than a charmingly confident nine-year-old.
VERDICT Culley deserved better: readers, choose the page.

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