Title: Just Like Me
Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: Hardcover; 256
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Content Screening: Nothing of note.
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are looking for true-to-life characters that are dealing with their same issues.
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Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They sing Chinese love songs on the bus to summer camp, and I pretend like I don’t know them.
To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Woods in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a campout and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.
Just Like Me chronicles the story of Julia, a girl who is lost in a sea of labels. This story doesn't shy away from the fact that adolescents deal with a lot of this in their lives, even from adults. If Julia was adopted from China, that makes her Chinese. Or at least it does in the eyes of everyone around her. Nevermind that she doesn't feel like that is her heritage, and wants to find her own place in the world. Nancy J. Cavanaugh takes us on a journey of self-discovery, and it's sweet.
I admit, Julia wasn't my favorite character at first. She's obstinate as an adolescent can be, especially when it comes to anything to do with her cultural background. However, as the story went on, I slowly started to see where Julia was coming from. To live in a world that tells you over and over again that you should identify as Chinese, when you were raised as anything but that, is definitely tough. This book deals a lot with the expectations that others push on us, and how they can sometimes feel stifling.
Truth be told, there's a lot of great lessons in this book. It pulls in characters who are adopted, fostered, and even children whose parents have split. I forsee a lot of young readers really connecting with this story. If it seems a bit juvenile in narrative sometimes, it's only because Nancy J. Cavanaugh really channels the adolescent age. A time of growth, and a time of turmoil,
This is a sweet read, that goes by quickly! I see this as a fabulous mother/daughter read too, since there's so much to talk about.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.