Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Year of Mistaken Discoveries
Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Friendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel.
As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared — they were both adopted.
Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact, until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom — but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.
Then Avery learns that Nora over-dosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…
Publishes in US: January 27th 2014 by Simon Pulse
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Simon via Edelweiss
Series? No.

Buy it: Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes & Noble.

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook

    I wanted to read Year of Mistaken Discoveries because books about friendships that go sideways interests me, because along the way I know that I have drifted apart from friends, and sometimes I know why and others I don't. But the idea if they approached me and then took their own life makes me think--what would or could I do to honor their memory, would I feel guilty and other such questions. 
    On a journey with Avery as the narrator definitely answered the questions from her perspective. I think that she is an emotional teen, but the way that she grieves is so realistic, that she doesn't overdo it for drama as some, and she has an older soul that makes her look at it in a different light that some of her other classmates, or ones that didn't used to be close to Nora. 
    Nora herself is an enigma, because we only get to know her through Avery's memories, and also through Brody. I completely adored him by the way. He was weird in the perfect way, nothing perceivable that is so different but he doesn't exactly fit in the predefined circle of niches in school. He has real conversations, a quick wit, and he is easy going and giving in his friendship. At times, when Avery makes bad decisions she seems so unworthy of his friendship, but aren't we all. We all make mistakes and I would love to have a friend like Brody on my side because he is understanding and forgiving. But he doesn't sugar coat, he says what he's thinking, though with tact, but he doesn't just leave it unsaid. And he is so supportive it makes me want to hug him. 
    Avery's journey to find her birth mom, and hopefully to her, create a senior project to wow Duke, her chosen dream universary at the same time. And at first, she says more than feels that it is a tribute to Nora to get Brody to work with her, but I think that she begins to see the changes in herself, in the friendship with Nora, and about the search and about hope along the way, that she ends up completing something that Nora would be proud of. 
    In this book, we see the many different ways that family can look. Nora and Avery were adopted, and even their adoptive parents look different. Brody lives with his aunt and uncle. When Avery finds her mom she finds lots of things she didn't expect but she takes things that could be painful and ruin her if she let it, and turned it into discovering more about the love her adoptive family, and even her mom had as well as figuring out things about herself. 
    I appreciate the sequences of events and how this story stayed realistic. I think that I was all prepared for a slightly disappointing too easy happily ever after, but was pleasantly surprised by the messy but beautiful way that they figured out how to wrap it up. Still giving Avery a good name and managing to show what she learned along the way without her being a jerk and able to patch things up, and still hope that things could come together for her in some aspects and then already starting to click and we see how they will go in the near future for her. 

Bottom Line: Avery was a good main character with a lot to discover about herself and I liked her more and more as she realized who she wanted to become.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
If you were adopted would you want to find your birth parents?

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  1. This is such an interesting topic - I always feel like if I found out I was adopted I'd be torn about what to do. On the one hand I'd be a little curious, of course, but on the other hand I'd feel like I was betraying my currently family. Also, since I love being a part of my family and I love our dynamic I'm not sure I'd pursue trying to find my birth parents. Like, in some ways it wouldn't seem important to me since my family is my family, you know?

    Great review! :)

    1. Yes, def know. It would be such a split and I know what you mean about hurting family, but I think if you adopt, you would have to understand that this is a big possibility that the child will want to know

  2. Wow, it would be so hard to be in Avery's shoes after Nora's death! Glad you enjoyed this one.

    I think if I found out I was adopted, I would like to find my birth parents out of curiosity.

    1. it would be hard to be in her shoes and the feelings of could i have done something differently

  3. I haven't come across this one before, but I'm glad to hear you liked it overall. Sometimes neat happy endings don't match a story very well, so I'm glad that the author didn't force one here. And I have no idea how I'd react if I knew I was adopted! I'd probably be curious about my birth parents, but I'm not sure if I'd try to track them down. :)

    1. I don't know if I would either, unless open adoption which seems more common now than even 10-15 years ago

  4. I love it when books show families in all the ways that they can exist.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  5. I'm glad you found the narrator realistic in many ways and that this novel provides different family formulas.

  6. I have a book by this author, I really need to try it!

  7. I've not heard of this one before, but I'm glad you found it pretty good. Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  8. I hadn't heard of this book before, but I do love the author, and it sounds like Avery is a wonderful character. Glad you enjoyed it overall. :-)

  9. This sounds deep and interesting! I'm glad it was messy and realistic, but also beautiful. It sounds enjoyable!

  10. To answer your question, ever tried to fill out your medical history and not know anything about your mother or father? I have to draw lines through everything and say ADOPTED DON"T KNOW. Yes, I'd like to know and in fact I have searched for and found my birth mother and so know who my birth father is. It isn't all rainbows and unicorns. It's very messy and complicated either way. There is a lot to think about when you look for your birth parents, but at the very least, it would be good to have your medical history.

    I'm really curious as to how realistic the search and reunion was.
    I might have to read it as I obviously have very strong feelings on this subject. Thanks for the review.

    1. I don't think that the search itself was very realistic because her adoptive parents weren't completely onboard, but I think that the reunion was because it wasn't sunshine and roses.
      I can't imagine the medical history aspect! Hopefully for more recent adoptions at least they include that even in closed

  11. humm sounds interesting. am curious myself how far the realism in this story goes. Agree with the person below, most of the stories from people I know did not end ever in a good note so.. But, love that the characters go through self discovery in that one. Overall sounds very enjoyable. Don't see many books like this one ;)

    1. Great point, a lot of times if mom doesn't want to be found, it prb doesn't really have a happy ending.

  12. This sounds very interesting and different from a lot of other books I've read. You ask a great question and I honestly dont know what my answer is. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  13. I'm always interested in books with lost friendship too.
    About the search. I have shops friend who's adopted snd she wants to find her birth parents to gain medical history. She's never gotten the results she needs, and it's incredibly frustrating.


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