Friday, June 4, 2021

The Half Orphan's Handbook by Joan F. Smith


THE HALF-ORPHAN'S HANDBOOK is a young adult book about grief. The heroine, Lila, has just lost her father to suicide and isn't handling it well. (Which is totally understandable.) When she finds out her mother has sent her to grief camp, she feels betrayed (also understandable). They work out an agreement that she has to stick it out for a week and then she can leave. Lila grudgingly goes and ends up striking up an acquaintance with some of the campers that makes her realize that things are better if you don't have to endure alone.

There's nothing really wrong with this book. I just didn't really like the style all that much. It felt a little bland, and maybe that's just because the heroine was numbed from her grief but I'm not quite sure it was, because even the more emotionally intense scenes rang a little hollow for me. I think it was just a stylistic incompatibility. It's compared to Emily X.R. Pan and John Green's works and I don't really care for either of those authors because I find them both bland and kind of obnoxiously twee and precocious, so maybe that's the issue.

I did love the author's note at the back of the book and recommend reading it, as it puts the work in perspective. For the right person, this will be a work of solace and comfort. It just wasn't that book for me.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars

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