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.
I loved almost all the stories in 'Welcome Home'. A lot of the stories ended on a cliff hanger. I'm not sure if this is an intentional theme or if the authors meant to leave us waiting for follow-up stories. Either way this left me wanting more from most of the authors.
This is a great anthology for anyone who has been touched by adoption.
1.Carlos and the Fifteen-Year-Old Heart-Definitely unique but a little too silly for me (2 1/2 Stars)
2.Strong Enough-Super Hero story (3 Stars)
3.The Sign-Cute LGBT (4 Stars)
4.Up by a Million-One of my favorites about a mother in prison (5 Stars)
5.Mama's Eyes-Seemed like a TV movie script and a little over the top (2 Stars)
6.A Kingdom Bright and Burning-Really nice story fantasy/reality story (4 1/2 Stars)
7.The Inexplicable Weight of Mountains-Simple story about finding birth parents (3 Stars)
8.Webbed-Magical and Sweet (4 1/2 Stars)
9.Life:Starring Tallulah Grey-Ok story about a movie star teenager (2 1/2 Stars)
10.Salvation-A look at the underbelly of adoption (3 1/2 Stars)
11.Twenty-Seven Days-A Look at Friendship and Adoption (4 Stars)
12.Ink Drips Black-A fable type story (2 1/2 Stars)
13.Upon the Horizon's Verge-Wonderful Story-Magical and lovely and one of my favorites-I plan to read more from this author (5 Stars)
14.Lullaby-My least favorite story-a sci-fi that only touches on adoption (1 1/2 Stars)
15.Census Man-Love this one-historical fiction-also one of my favorites (5 Stars)
16.Invited-Also,loved this one-a look at different POV of adoption (5 Stars)
17.Empty Lens-Nice story about an girl with an blog but not very memorable (3 Stars)
18.A Lesson in Biology-Ok predictable story about making a family tree (3 Stars)
19.Tunneling Through-A LGBT point of view (3 1/2 Stars)
20.These Broken Stars-Usually not a big fantasy person but this one is simple and lovely and I loved it (5 Stars)
21.The Snow Covered Sidewalk-Cute story about relating to other people (4 Stars)
22.Deeply-Fantascy and not really my thing but I loved the ducky (2 1/2 Stars)
23.Meant to be Broken-Great story. Looks at how adoption affects a range of people. (4 1/2 Stars)
24.Moving the Body-Totally different and unexpected and disturbing (4 Stars)
25.In Pieces-Also a sci-fi and very Star Trekish (2 1/2 Stars)
26.Peace of Paper-A look at adult adoption (4 1/2 Stars)
27.Happy Beginnings-A look at a teenage adoptee issues effecting others (2 1/2 Stars)
28.The Take Back-A look at the emotions surrounding adoptions (4 1/2 Stars)
29.Jar of Broken Wings-Cute story about the magic of childhood (3 Stars)
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.
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.