When Jaden and his parents must go to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby, Jaden feels worse than ever. Adopted at age 8, Jaden doesn't know why or how his parents love him: he has rages, starts fires in the house, and is always seeing a new therapist. Yet as things go wrong and become increasingly strange abroad, Jaden starts to see himself--and the new baby-- in a different light. Moving and heartwarming, this is an excellent story for tweens and teens looking for a more moving read. Fans of realistic fiction and family stories will love it. — Aubrey Restifo
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.
About the Author
Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and PEN America Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, Half a World Away, Checked, APlace to Belong, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her dog and hockey-playing son in California. Visit her online at CynthiaKadohata.com.
“Kadohata’s stunningly intimate narrative reveals a complex boy, as self-protective as he is a danger to himself, but oh so clear about the true nature of things.” — The New York Times
"[Q]uietly powerful." — The Washington Post
"If literary genius is composed, at least in part, by an uncanny ability to enter other worlds, then 'Half a World Away' proves Cynthia Kadohata's genius - not that there was any doubt." — The Boston Globe
"Kadohata creates an inspiring story that celebrates hope and second chances." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
"Thought provoking and emotionally engaging, this is wholly satisfying." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW