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
Buy it: Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes & Noble.
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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.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
If you were adopted would you want to find your birth parents?