- Hardcover: 450 pages
- Publisher: Harperteen (5 November 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062693166
- ISBN-13: 978-0062693167
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 535 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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The How & The Why Hardcover – 5 Nov 2019
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"Hand explores adoption's multiple dimensions with great insight and sensitivity. Inclusive and illustrative: an engaging lesson in timeless family values."--Kirkus Reviews
"Beautifully rendered and superbly shaped. Hand has crafted an absorbing novel that focuses on family, friendship, teen pregnancy, adoption, personal choices, and serious health issues. Give this exquisite novel to readers seeking an emotionally intricate story."--Booklist (starred review)
"The novel's great strength is the emotional depth of its characters and the complexity of their relationships. A heartfelt and hopeful story about coming of age as an adoptee."--School Library Journal
"This compassionate story rings true."--Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the Unearthly trilogy, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, and My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows). She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, who loves typewriters as much as she does, two cats, two kids, one crazy dog, and a mountain of books. Visit her online at www.cynthiahandbooks.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
However. I didn't hate this book at all. I figured this would be emotional as it was about adoption, family, and also likened to FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway — another story that I'm pretty sure I remember made me cry a lot.
This one is told in two timelines of a sort; via present day Cassandra and the letters being written by her birth mother, eighteen years before, while she was pregnant and waiting to give up her baby for adoption.
There was such a richness to this story, both in the various situations where people were adopted, and also the reasons that lead to them, but also just family in general — both those of your blood and those you choose.
I honestly have so little to say about this book despite loving it so much. I think mostly because I'm still a little stunned by the ending. I was loving this book, solid four, but the final chapter? I mean.. sure, maybe it's a little bit incredulous, a little bit unlikely, maybe even fantastical, but that.. oh my god, I'm just.. yeah, hello, this gets a bump for that. But honestly, ending aside, this book is so great.
THE HOW & THE WHY packs a lot of punch but I think it also does it in a smart way. There's romance but it's not the focus. There's strong enduring friendships that aren't without realistic jealousies and natural speedbumps. And I love the focus on the bright, miraculous, even luminous moments in life, even amongst all the sadness or tragedy that we still experience. Sometimes things do work out. Sometimes we overcome our pasts. Sometimes we say the wrong things but are forgiven. Something we make a fool of ourselves but get something good out of it in the end.
Sometimes that's just the how and the why of life.
Sorry for the cheese.
This story is written with two points of views...The first is Cass, a typical high school teenager in Theater with a great group of friends. She is starting to plan for college, in a way being indecisive like every teenager...thinking she would love a boyfriend, and starting to wonder about her birth mother....while having guilt about her mother's illness. The second is "S" a sixteen year old girl living in a home because she is pregnant, and trying to come to terms with her decision of giving her baby up for adoption. This is written in letters to her unborn baby.
I LOVED how this story was written....just absolutely beautiful, emotional, and flowed like a lazy river.
There is so much to learn from this story, however I thing the main one is communication....communication is key...and not just by text...or letters...use your actual voice. So much can be lost through a text or letter....or not a letter...*wink wink*
The characters are amazing....true to themselves personalities that draws you in deeper into the story. And I have a feeling the author pulled a lot of that personality and emotion from her own experience. "S" is a strong, tough character...she has to be...however through her letters, she starts to soften....the hardest decision of her life makes her mature right before your eyes.
The How & The Why will put you through a lot of emotion..I'm not gonna lie, It will make you cry...it will make you angry, it will make you just sigh....but when you get to the end....that AMAZING ending....that my friends, will be what causes this story to way heavy on your mind. It's beautiful...you feel the words....you feel every one's pain....happiness, jealousy..
A contemporary that you need to read....
Cassandra is adopted and has never known her biological parents. She has had the incredible fortune of being raised by two amazing parents. Now that Cass is eighteen and starting her senior year, she should be focusing on college applications, but she has other issues that are more pressing. Cass’s mom lives in the hospital full-time while she waits for a heart transplant, so even with good health insurance, their family is dead broke which severely limits her options.
Feeling lost about herself, Cass decides it’s time to find out information about her biological parents. Cass learns that there was a program where mothers wrote letters to their babies that they gave up for adoption which could be requested when the child turns eighteen. Gripped with both fear and intrigue, Cass fills out all of the paperwork in hopes to finally get some answers.
The story alternates between present day Cass and the letters that her birth mother wrote when she was sixteen and pregnant. The letters were incredible. They were packed with so much honesty and emotion.
This book tackles a myriad of topics and issues, and honestly, I just loved all of it. I loved the family dynamics, Cass and Nyla’s friendship, Cass’s parents and their unconditional love and support, the letters, Bastian and his character arc, the theatre. There were definitely times that this book was utterly heartbreaking, but one thing that continues is to never give up hope. Also, the epilogue of this book is incredible!
Thank you to Wunderkind PR for providing a finished copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.