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Parents Wanted

George Harrar

Parents Wanted
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Reviewer: Allison Martin

Twelve year old Andy is a foster child who desperately needs and wants a loving home; yet Andy struggles with his past and the emotions evoked by his new life with his adoptive parents. Parents Wanted is a real page turner and once you start it you won't want to put it down. Almost immediately the reader is drawn into Andy's world, where adults are not always reliable and a kid has to work hard to survive. Andy is a very likable young boy and we experience the story of his adoption through his eyes as he grapples with his new life. Andy's misadventures and reactions to his world are juxtaposed with the assumptions of the adults surrounding him, in humorous and affectionate prose.

When we first meet Andy, his birth parents are alcoholics and his father is in jail. As Andy relates, "The truth is, I was a lot better being the kid in the family than she and Dad were being parents." Andy passes through several foster families until he resides in Brighton Boys Home, eligible for adoption. Andy has ADHD, although apparently it is well in check by his medication. Through his eyes, we learn about Andy's time in the Brighton Boys Home and his attempts to acclimatize to his new home, school and neighborhood. Andy teeters on the balance between being a child and becoming a teenager. Like a young boy, he is emotionally attached to a number of stuffed animals and to his new cat. However in his new home, he is in almost constant trouble, stealing money, damaging mail boxes, and even eating worms. In his daily interactions at home and at school, he vacillates between immaturity and responsibility and between fear and affection. When Andy almost loses his new home after falsely accusing his beloved adoptive father of molestation, he begins to realize how much he has gained and fights to remain with his new family.

It is a joy to read a positive mainstream fiction book about building families through adoption. In a very endearing way, Parents Wanted reminds us of the real reason for adoption - that kids deserve and desperately need safe homes with loving parents.

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