The Other F-Word

272p. Farrar. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374302344.
Gr 8 Up—Hollis Darby-Barnes is furious about a lot of things, including the death of one of her moms. It doesn't help that she's getting nasty texts from the girlfriend of the guy with whom Hollis is hooking up. The last thing she needs is an email from her half brother, Milo, asking for her assistance in tracking down the sperm donor who fathered them both. Milo has life-threatening allergies, and his doctors think his donor's medical history might give him important clues. He's also curious about what it would be like to have a father. After forming a reluctant partnership, the teens find more half siblings as well as information that leads them to their donor. Hollis and Milo are authentically young adult, both in their voices and in their mixed feelings about their perfectly imperfect families. However, most of the supporting characters would benefit from more depth. Typical teen use of text, email, and video chatting is well integrated into the story and enhances Hollis and Milo's dual narrative. The plot moves along smoothly with well-timed revelations about the mysterious donor and Hollis's anger and grief, and many teens will connect with the questions about identity and the true meaning of family.
VERDICT In a world where many teens' families include diverse and complicated parent and sibling situations, Friend's tale fills a void in YA literature and does it with style.

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