Saturday, January 19, 2019

Emily Out of Focus

Franklin, Miriam Spitzer. Emily Out of Focus
February 5th 2019 by Sky Pony
E ARC from Edleweiss Plus

Emily and her parents go to China to bring home the little girl they are adopting. Emily isn't crazy about the idea, since she fears losing her parents and having a lot of her time taken up by her sister. She is interested in photojournalism, since her late grandmother was a rather prominent photographer, and she has brought her grandmother's camera with her. While staying at the hotel, she meets Katherine, who was herself adopted from China and who is hoping to find her mother while her family is back in her homeland adopting another baby. The two girls are bored and a bit angry, so armed with Katharine's quest, they take off together, despite the warnings of their parents to stay close to the hotel.
Strengths: Since Spitzer has been through this process, the details of traveling to China to finalize an adoption are first rate, I especially liked the detail in scenes like the one where Emily's family goes to a big box store to get baby supplies! Emily and Katharine's relationship is so typical of girls thrust together by circumstance or parental meddling, and middle school readers will definitely see the truth in it! The adventure is solid. This has a similar vibe to Peacock's Red Thread Sisters (2012) and will appeal to readers who have impending changes in their families about which they are not thrilled.
Weaknesses: Neither Emily nor Katherine seemed particularly likable to me, although this improved a tiny bit as the story progressed.
What I really think: This is a more adventurous yet tween-angsty version of Kadohata's Half a World Away. Sadly, I can't get this one to circulate, so will probably pass on this one, especially since I've spent all of my book budget for this year. If I come across a copy through my review sources, I might pick it up. The cover is good.

Ms. Yingling

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