I am very pleased to be able share my thoughts about The Other F-Word by Nastaha Friend with you all today!
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The Other F-Word
by Natasha Friend
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.
Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about.
Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.
Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.
Natasha Friend is the award-winning author of Perfect, Lush, Bounce, For Keeps, My Life in Black and White, Where You'll Find Me, and The Other F-Word. When she isn’t writing, she is building forts and making chocolate-chip pancakes. Natasha lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband, three children, and dog, Beckett.
Title: The Other F-Word
Author: Natasha Friend
Format: Digital ARC
With an interesting subject, The Other F-Word is one of the most unique books I've read this year.
Even though they were not raised together, Hollis and Milo are half-siblings thanks to the same sperm donor. Both raised by lesbian mothers in different states, their lives couldn't be more different. Milo, who is allergic to almost everything, has grown up with both of his overprotective moms, while Hollis is being raised by a single mom who hasn't gotten over the death of Hollis' other mother.
When Milo decides to track down their donor for medical reasons (and his own curiosity), he enlists a reluctant Hollis to assist him. Both are unsure of what they'll find, but their search brings them closer together as they learn more about each other as well as about themselves. As they search, they discover some surprising details that change everything and affect both them and their search.
The whole concept of this story fascinated me for some reason. The author took what could have been a really heavy topic and added some humor and lightness to it. It's tough enough being a teen as you try to discover who you are, but when you add in a search for a biological father, things can definitely get more interesting and complicated. It's a lot to deal with for all of those involved and I enjoyed seeing how everything progressed and how each character handled everything that happens as they redefined what makes a family.
Both Milo and Hollis are interesting characters and I loved how they discovered some of their own similarities along the way as well as their differences as a brother-sister bond forms between them. However, their actions and personalities did not really fit their age to me at times. Occasionally, Hollis comes across a little bratty and immature (especially about the death of her other mother and her mom's reaction to it. It's not like Hollis never met the woman, she was her mother for half her life, but Hollis acts like she was a stranger) and then there are other times she seems older than her fourteen years. In fact, even Milo seems like he should be older than he is in the book sometimes.
As for the main characters' moms, they are also fascinating and very different characters with different reactions to their kids' decisions. The author did a nice job of conveying all sides of the search and its impact. It all felt very real to me and I couldn't help but think of the real children as well as the parents out there in this situation. Having never dealt with anything remotely similar to what happens in the book, I cannot imagine how I'd react to any of this.
I also have to say that the story ends a bit abruptly. I can't say a whole lot about what the siblings discover or how it all ends because I don't want to spoil the story, but I could definitely have used a little bit more to tie up some loose ends.
Overall, this was an entertaining contemporary story that felt current and realistic and I enjoyed reading it.
*I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.*