Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short stories, and brings them together in one anthology from a diverse range of celebrated Young Adult authors. The all-star roster includes Edgar-award winner Mindy McGinnis, New York Times bestselling authors C.J. Redwine (The Shadow Queen) and William Ritter (Jackaby), and acclaimed YA authors across all genres, like Adi Alsaid, Lauren Gibaldi, Sangu Mandanna, Karen Akins, and many more.
This Collection is a Gift
WELCOME HOME: AN ANTHOLOGY ON LOVE AND ADOPTION features stories by some of the best voices in YA literature (or at least some of my favorites), and the stories revolve around adoption in all of its forms. Edited by Eric Smith, the collection covers a range of genres, and they're beautifully jarring in ways that are as diverse as their characters. What doesn't change from story to story is the search for love, acceptance, and Home--whatever that means--and while these are adoption stories, I think they will resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. Ultimately, we're all looking for a place to call home, but some paths are different than others. WELCOME HOME's shifting perspectives and eclectic characters ensure that every reader will make a connection somewhere in the collection.
Every single story in this anthology gave me some sort of gift as I read. Whether it was a character who will haunt me (hello, sweeet, broken Zeke from David Connis's "A Kingdom Bright and Burning") or the one with whom I felt a bond (CJ Redwine's Bellana--the lover of stories), I felt a connection with almost all of the people I met in the pages of this book. There were also gorgeous lines that resonated for many reasons. In "Peace of Paper," for example, Courtney Stevens summarized my approach to taking on my non-biological sons and daughters in "Some kids aren't born to you. Some kids just arrive." That's just one line... there are many more for readers to gather and contemplate long after the book is done.
Not every story in WELCOME HOME is perfect, but there are some exquisite ones here. I highly recommend this anthology to adopters and adoptees, to anyone who knows someone involved in adoption in any way, to those who are looking for a home, and to all lovers of good stories. This collection definitely has something for everyone.
My thanks to Eric Smith for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Important anthology with powerful emotion
WELCOME HOME is a collection of stories about adoption from a number of perspectives, from teens who are meeting their birth parents for the first time to ones choosing whether or not to have their own children up for adoption. There is a wide variety of authors from C.J. Redwine to Eric Smith (also the editor of the collection) to Sangu Mandanna.
Anthologies are some of the hardest books to review, particularly in this case. The voices, genres, and perspectives range across the board, bound by the common theme of adoption. There is certainly a gap in the field from varying adoption perspectives, and WELCOME HOME provides a great opportunity for readers to find themselves represented. While I think the different genres included (contemporary, fantasy, scifi, etc.) are fascinating, sometimes the switch in genre between stories is jarring.
My favorite stories are C.J. Redwine’s, which features a mother and newly adopted daughter bonding with both awkwardness and kindness; Julie Eshbaugh’s, which brings up visible genetic attributes (webbed feet), something that can be a constant reminder of biological parents; and Eric Smith’s story of weighing risk and consequences. Caela Carter’s also features a strong voice and intriguing snapshot.
Without a doubt, those who read WELCOME HOME will find themselves eager for more from many of the writers and more stories of adoption and the many nuances within blood and chosen families.