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Forever, or a Long, Long Time

by Caela Carter

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18014154,554 (4.24)1
Having shared so many foster homes that they are unable to trust that the family that has adopted them will last, Flora and her brother, Julian, are assisted by their new mother on a journey to resolve their past so that they can build a future.
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
A moving book about the inner life of Flora, a girl who grew up in multiple homes through the foster care system. She is permanently adopted, along with her younger brother, at the age of nine. Flora and her brother Julian don't believe they were ever born. They think they never had a biological family. Now Flora is eleven years old and trying really hard to trust her new mom and believe that she and Julian will be with her forever. But she is held back by her ignorance of her own origins.

The subject matter is important and the writing is mostly very good, but I struggled with the length. There were a lot of unnecessary paragraphs. I'm generally a patient reader, but I skimmed big chunks of this that didn't seem relevant to the plot. I was eager to find out about Flora and Julian's past. The meandering pace left me frustrated.

I was ambivalent about the italicized interstitial "Theory #" pieces. Yes, they were lovely pieces of writing. But they weren't in Flora's voice. They were lyrical, poetic. They were in the first person plural, speaking for both Flora and Julian. I think they might have worked better in third person because it felt like the author's own voice taking over Flora's.

I also never understood why no one had access to Flora and Julian's birth certificates. I understand why they didn't have originals, but copies of birth certificates can be obtained from government records. It seemed like an obvious way to prove to Flora that she was born and to find the names of her birth parents. I kept waiting for someone to go there and no one did. Frustrating. Was there some mention of this that I missed?

The best part of this book, I think, is that it explores an experience that is sadly common but not represented well in children's literature. The book is certainly critical of the foster care system, but didn't feel overly didactic (though it did tread close when they got to Jeannie the meanie). I think young readers will sympathize with Flora (even when she punches someone) and Julian (even when he's hiding food in his closet). Definitely a worthwhile read. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Convincingly told story of two children overcoming the trauma of foster system life as they settle into their adopted reality. 4th grader and little brother, they’ve always been each other’s only constant thing. She struggles to speak sometimes and he hoards food and neither of them believe that they were ever born. In parts poetic, in parts strictly focused on the day to day routine, always coming back to a child’s point of view, and how different from the adult understanding of reality that can be. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Sometimes just difficult to read, sometimes intensely hopeful. A great read, but also a sophisticated emotional ride. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Flora and Julian are adopted out of the foster care system. They are biological siblings and live with their mom and dad. They have lots of struggles because of the trauma of the foster care system - and with their mom they try to find out the story of their past. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
4.5 stars. This book was heart breaking at times but very insightful. I do have to agree with some of the comments that at the end it did seem to be pushing an obvious lesson in Person's questioning and dialog. On the flip side, I can see how someone in her shoes would be very frustrated and would be grasping for answers to make some kind of sense of what she was learning. It's said that the system is broken. I did love the writing, especially in Flora and Julian's theories. ( )
  slittleson | Mar 19, 2020 |
This book is as beautifully written as its cover is in design. Written from the perspective of fourth grade, Flora, it tells the tale of a broken foster system and young siblings journey from their adoptive home back to their beginning. This is art brought to life and it will split open your heart. It will make you ask, “what is family?” And “how do we learn to love?” And so much more.
I have friends who’ve experienced fostering and being adopted and I have friends who’ve fostered and adopted. I’ve felt for a long time the little tugs on my heart to do the same. This book has only opened my heart even more toward this possibility. Every child needs a “person.” ( )
  NikiKropf | Feb 18, 2020 |
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Having shared so many foster homes that they are unable to trust that the family that has adopted them will last, Flora and her brother, Julian, are assisted by their new mother on a journey to resolve their past so that they can build a future.

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