Peacock, Carol Antoinette. Red Thread Sisters.
16 October 2012, Viking Juvenile
Wen is very happy to be leaving the Chinese orphanage where she has lived since her mother, who didn't have enough money for two children after Wen's brother was born, left her there. The one sadness she feels is leaving her good friend Shu Ling. She promises that she will find a home for Shu Ling and they will be together in the US. Wen likes her new family well enough, but has some trouble believing that her parents and sister Emily really love her and will not abandon her, especially when the father loses her job and the family cuts down on "extras". If bacon and lessons are extras, is Wen? She improves her English quickly, and makes new friends, but she still longs for Shu Ling. When she finds out that Shu Ling is almost too old to be adopted, she makes many efforts to get her friend a family, from contacting the online web site promoting her friend to taking flyers door to door and asking people if they would like another daughter. The US has so much, and the orphanage doesn't even have enough heat or food. Can Wen persuade someone to adopt her friend so her promise will be kept?
Strengths: This was a very engaging book, and I think that for many girls in the US who were adopted from Chinese orphanages, this could be very powerful. The plight of older adoptees is well drawn, and the details of why the adjustment is so difficult make this a book that anyone who deals with children adapting to a new culture will find interesting.
Weaknesses: The cover is HORRIBLE. The girls maybe look Oriental, but what's with the fashionable, high school aged clothing? I would rather see a cover that had a ripped photo showing Shu Ling in the orphanage, and Wen in her new clothing in the US. Something showing the orphanage, surely. Since I got the ARC of this in June, I'm hoping the cover will change.