What I Carry – Jennifer Longo

 What I Carry – Jennifer Longo, Random House Books , 0553537725, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review): 4

Genre:  Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? The book explores the experiences of Muir, a foster child. All her life Muir has practiced sheltering herself from the emotional and physical attachment that some children experience in foster care. She tried her hardest to be the “perfect” foster child in order to keep a clean record. However, each time a foster family seemed like they were getting close, the moment for a potential family quickly disappears from her grasps. Muir who has been in the system since birth was just waiting until she was 18 so that she could age out of the foster care system. Yet, the complete opposite seems to happen when she moves to her last placement. Muir not only makes friends, she gets a steady job and begins to build a relationship with her last foster parent, Francine. Francine in the most delicate way brings Muir into a place where she feels loved, where she can call home. Yet, Muir throughout the story fights the internal battle of many foster children. She has internalized the thoughts that she is not lovable, that she is a problem that others have to handle and that she doesn’t deserve joy and love. In the end of this beautifully written book we watch as Muir embraces the new journey she will embark on in a place she is finally able to call home. There are very few times when reading a young adult book that I get emotional but the author does an excellent job helping us see the vulnerability of a population of children that we often do not talk about.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Some of the language was a lot more vulgar than I thought it would be i.e. swearing or the use of some stereotypical phrases to describe racial instances. It does feed into the realistic narrative of the characters’ experiences in the book.

To whom would you recommend this book? Teenage readers (due to some of the language I would recommend this for high school aged children)

Who should buy this book? High schools

Where would you shelve it ? YA fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes because it explores the experiences of foster children which is a perspective we do not normally read about as young readers.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston Ma

Date of review: March 30th, 2020

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