Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

How I Heard About It:  I can't remember in what source, but I read a glowing review of this novel published for adults.  As I was browsing through Hoopla (audio app via my public library), this title popped up and I downloaded it.  I listened to it the last few weeks during my commute to and from work.  I just saw in our Sunday paper that the author will be speaking here in Minneapolis this week.  I'm not sure I have the time to go, but it sure would be cool to hear her speak.  

What It Is About:  Deming is a young boy when his Chinese "undocumented" immigrant mother disappears.  This leaves him alone with other Chinese "friends/family".  They are living in a small apartment in the middle of New York City.  Deming and the others just keep waiting day to day for his mother Polly to return.  But she doesn't.  A friend of Polly's takes Deming to the "authorities" in New York, and after a time he is adopted by a couple from upper New York.  They mean well, but life for Deming and the adoptive parents isn't easy.  He is renamed Daniel and begins a life trying to fit in.  Daniel/Deming always wonders where his mother is and what actually happened the day she disappeared.  As a young man, Daniel ends up back in New York city as a college student and musician.  His adoptive parents aren't always happy with the choices he is making.  Daniel can't quite shake the feeling that his "real" mother is out there and begins a "quest" to find her.  Some of the answers he receives validate his "feelings", but others will shake him to his core.  

What I Thought Of It:  I enjoyed the audio version of this novel.  The plot was strong.  The characters were real and believable.  The relationships were touching and intense.  As the reader, I was reading to find out what had happened to Deming's mother that day, and it was fun to finally find out.  I must say that I was completely off base on my prediction.  I enjoyed how the story was told from both Daniel's and his mother's point of view.  This technique worked well for the book.  Not only was the story enjoyable to listen to, but I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and being an immigrant in our country; specifically New York City.  

Who Should Read It:  The novel was reviewed in the Minneapolis Sunday paper today so I'm learning it is getting a lot of "buzz".  This would be the perfect novel to read over the summer of 2017.  It is definitely a novel published for adult readers.  This book has lots to offer so give it a try.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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