Sunday, July 26, 2020
The How & the Why, by Cynthia Hand
This fairly long novel also includes largely unrelated stories of Cass's attempt to get into the college of her dreams, her adoptive mother's search for a replacement heart as her own is failing, and some interpersonal issues with her best friend (also adopted) and a new boy at school. These fit in, but largely don't add much to the story beyond feeding a very surprising (and slightly contrived) ending that pulls hearts strings but stretches credulity like a Bollywood romance.
There are plenty of novels out there about adoption and the vast majority of them split timelines to try to draw parallels between the lives of mother and daughter. I think this one is more successful for not overdoing the parallels and for respectfully avoiding a forced reunion. Also, never wavering from the conviction that adoptive parents are "real" parents seems truer to the experience and respectful to people who have been adopted. Finally, while I found the subplots peripheral and largely extraneous, I enjoyed them as well.