Author: MacLachlan, Patricia
Nora and Ben's younger sister, Birdy, loves to keep secrets. One day Birdy watches her mother spit into a tube, ready to send it off to find out more about herself and where her family came from. Birdy spits into a tube, too, when no one sees her. When the test results come back, where did Birdy come from?
Kirkus Reviews (-) (08/01/21)
School Library Journal (09/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2021 With simple, repetitive language, much of it offered as dialogue, MacLachlan's latest is perfect for readers just transitioning into chapter books with slightly more narrative depth. This story of a happy, artistic family centers around a secret seemingly at odds with the family's openness. Nora, twin sister to Ben, narrates. When her younger sister, Birdy, secretly sends in her DNA as part of an ancestry test, the results Nora and Ben intercept reveal that Birdy is not related to them. Suddenly her Scandinavian looks make sense, but they don't know what to make of the secret their parents (with Irish and Italian roots) aren't sharing. Their mother's visits to a local graveyard; a picture of their mom's best friend, Linnea, at their parents' wedding; and papers hidden in a locked cabinet all seem to point to information the twins think their parents' should share. Familial concern about honesty gives the twins' questions weight, and a resolution about adoption that ties up happily works well for the target audience. A sweet look at what really makes for a family. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 Gr 4–6—MacLachlan examines the question "What makes a family?" in her latest middle grade book. White-cued twins Ben and Nora Rossi uncover a family secret when a DNA test kit reveals that their younger sister, Birdy, is not Irish like their mom or Italian like their dad, but Swedish. Ben and Nora quickly conclude that Birdy was secretly adopted, but they don't understand why their parents would conceal such important information. MacLachlan's lyrical writing emphasizes that love is what makes a family. This short novel is immersed in love—between friends, within a married couple, between siblings, parents and their children, and even in the devotion for a favorite teacher. However, while the relationships and writing are beautiful, the novel shows an idealistic, best-case scenario of acceptance from all family members when the secret is revealed. VERDICT With a warm message and gorgeous prose, this story grounded in fact and love nevertheless comes off feeling a bit too much like fantasy.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libs., OH - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.