By: Amy Hatvany
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
What happens when two sisters who were torn apart when their young mother abandoned them—and grew up in tragically different circumstances—reunite thirty-five years later to find her?
For readers who love Jodi Picoult, acclaimed author Amy Hatvany fearlessly explores complex family issues in her gripping, provocative new novel.
Natalie Clark knew never to ask her sensitive adoptive mother questions about her past. She doesn’t even know her birth mother’s name—only that the young woman signed parental rights over to the state when Natalie was a baby. Now Natalie’s own daughter must complete a family tree project for school, and Natalie is determined to unearth the truth about her roots.
Brooke Walker doesn’t have a family. At least, that’s what she tells herself after being separated from her mother and her little sister at age four. Having grown up in a state facility and countless foster homes, Brooke survives the only way she knows how, by relying on herself. So when she discovers she’s pregnant, Brooke faces a heart-wrenching decision: give up her baby or raise the child completely on her own. Scared and confused, she feels lost until a surprise encounter gives her hope for the future.
How do our early experiences—the subtle and the traumatic—define us as adults? How do we build relationships when we’ve been deprived of real connection?
Critically acclaimed author Amy Hatvany considers controversial and complicated questions about childhood through the lens of her finely crafted characters in this astute novel about mending wounds by diving into the truth of what first tore us apart.
A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC iin exchange for an honest review.
Talented Amy Hatvany returns following (2014) Safe with Me landing on my Top Books of 2014 List with another complex, emotional, and riveting novel, SOMEWHERE OUT THERE. A gripping page-turner.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” –Cynthia Occelli
Amy’s sixth book is a powerful tale of a mother’s love—crossing generations, from biological to adopted mother---and the fall out, two sisters separated at a young age. One, adopted; now a mother of two, and her older sister, never adopted and lost in the system; endless foster and group homes--spending a lifetime waiting on her mother to return for her.
Jennifer is a desperate mother. Her girls: Brook, four- years- old, and Natalie, only six months, by two different fathers. They have no place to go. She is out of friends, family, and favors. She does not have enough gas to keep driving. Every cell of her body is telling her to get out, and run. Pretend the last five years never happened. But she can’t. She has the girls. If not, she would be free.
She had fought so hard to keep them. Her own mother, who wanted her to have an abortion. No, she would be a good mother. Then Brooke’s father gone. No education. No money for day care to work. No family. A car serving as home for the last three plus years. Begging on the streets. A hungry baby. A four year-old who deserves better. She had to leave them in the car while the baby slept, for a few minutes, so she could slip inside the market to get a few things…and (take) a few, in order to keep her babies from starving. Survival.
The unthinkable. She gets caught. Her fourth count of petty theft. What about her girls? Jennifer would have to do time. She loves them desperately, but she cannot do this. She cries for them. Her heart is ripped apart. How can she go on without her girls?
Signing away her rights. A battle of tug-and-war rages inside of her, agonizing between what she wants and what she knows is right. She had to think it wasn’t about her. It was about her babies. About giving them a good home, the kind of life she could not provide. She had done her best and it wasn’t good enough. Maybe they would be better off without her. Someone will adopt them and raise the two girls together.
Flashing back and forth, we hear from the voices of Jennifer, Natalie, and Brooke. Now thirty-five years later.
Natalie is now grown, adopted, a great education, a former lawyer, a nice home, and married with two children of her own. She now has her own catering business. She knows she was adopted; however, her adopted mom was very sensitive, so she curbed the urge to find her biological mother. She had no clue she had a sister. Until now.
Her older sister, Brooke was not so fortunate. Your heart goes out to her. She had a difficult time in foster care and group homes. Separated from her baby sister, and a mother who deserted her. Now, she is single, hardworking, a job waiting tables, and dating a married man. She has lived keeping her emotions at a distance. Does not allow anyone to get close. Torn with a decision of her own, she does not want history to repeat itself.
When Natalie’s children start talking about family trees, she decides it is time to find her biological mother. Why did her mother leave her? Then she discovers she has a sister. She has to find her sister.
However, old wounds go deep. Lives cannot go back to the same. There are unrealistic expectations. Sometimes love is not outward. Sacrifices have to be made for others. Sometimes we have to break and crack,, in order for the light to get in.
Can the notes and the letters provide the girls an explanation—giving them the truth, as imperfect, ugly, and unfair as it could be? Sometimes this is all there is. A way to forgive yourself and let go of the past.
What a poignant story! SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, is an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Similar to Jodi Picoult, Hatvany is never afraid to tackle controversial issues and delve deep into human lives, relationships, tough decisions, and family. Thought-provoking; does our childhood experiences define us as adults?
Hatvany's character development is superb! Hoping we will see more of these three—the characters are too good-- to say good-bye.
Buy the Book
Amy Hatvany has made her mark with novels that deftly explore sensitive, socially relevant issues and emotionally complex characters. Her writing has been hailed as “exquisitely rendered” (Caroline Leavitt), “compelling” (The Seattle Times), and “visceral” (Emily Giffin).
"It's no secret that Amy Hatvany is a master of creating compelling, beautiful, flawed characters. This time around, Hatvany has reached new levels of aching honesty and brilliant empathy. A daring, compassionate, and deeply human story, Somewhere Out There is Hatvany at her very best. The women of this book will open your mind, break your heart, and stay with you long after you've turned the last page." (Taylor Jenkins Reid, Author of Maybe in Another Life)
"Gripping and emotionally honest." (Stephanie Evanovich New York Times bestselling author)
About the Author
Amy Hatvany graduated with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist.
“In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on her passion: writing books.”
Her background in sociology inspires and informs much of her writing as she tackles timely and controversial issues in her novels including mental illness, domestic abuse, and alcoholism. She is the author of BEST KEPT SECRET, OUTSIDE THE LINES (a Target book club pick in 2012 and a Costco Pennie’s Pick in 2013), THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, and HEART LIKE MINE. Her latest novel, SAFE WITH ME, was published in March by Washington Square Press/Atria Books. Read More Twitter