What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Monday, November 3, 2014


is one of those books that I have seen on the shelf forever and had no interest in reading.  Just like Hatchet, The Witch of Blackbird Pond and the Bridge to Terabithia.  All three I finally did read and loved.  Now I must read Kira-Kira because Half a World Away was just so excellent.  Cynthia Kadohata wrote them both!  Jaden was adopted by American parents at the age of four from Romania.  I am not sure when the book takes place, but it must be before 2001 because international adoption of Romanian children was banned.   Now if one parent has a Romanian passport but are living in the US, adoptions can proceed.
Jaden is a troubled kid, he remembers his mother and is still wondering why she gave him up.  He doesn't seem to be able to feel love for his parents, he still has social difficulties.  His parents, Penni and Steve are now seeking to adopt a child from Kazakhstan.  They travel to Kazakhstan to bond with the baby.
Some of the most memorable parts of this book are between Jaden and Sam, the man who drives Jaden's family around while their are in Kazakhstan.  He and Jaden bond, Sam calls him out as a hoodlum, but one he likes.  He says this to Jaden, "What have you thought your power would be?  You will find something that makes you fly and then your life will be settled."
This is so so so true.  I have known many young people, and older people who are struggling with what to do with and in their lives.  I was like that, too.  I totally understand.  And what it took me to get settled was indeed, finding what made me fly.  For me it was a deep passion for service.  For me it was wanting to be Christ-like to and serve and uplift  all of the people I meet in a day.  Do I do it all the time?  No.  I fail a lot. A LOT!  But I try, try, try and it is so important to me that it is my passion and service is what makes me fly. This book leaves a lot up in the air, yes, but I do think that Jaden found something that has made him fly. This book is painful and hopeful and wonderful.
This is also on Anderson's Mock Newbery 2015 list and I won't be sad if it is an Honor Book, not sad at all. Still man, The Crossover is THE ONE!

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