The Leavers by Lisa Ko (5 out of 5)

Whoa, Nelly. This is a beautifully written, heartbreaking book. It’s about loving and leaving, learning and yearning, sacrifice and survival. Deming is 11 years old when his mom Polly goes to work one day and vanishes. Deming is devastated and scared, but his world changes when he’s adopted by a married white couple who are professors, and he moves into a new neighborhood. Growing pains AND abandonment issues? In spades! Deming’s name is changed, and he grapples with getting older, adjusting to a whole new culture, his new name, and all the while wondering what happened to Polly. The other half of the story belongs to Polly, who is an undocumented Chinese immigrant who’s expecting when she vanishes after leaving for her nail salon job. Things aren’t as you think. Some part of the book you want to punch her for running out on her kid, until you realize the circumstances behind her actions. Spoiler alert: the wording in the first few chapters makes it very easy to guess what happened. So don’t flip your wig, Geraldine, if you do. However, reading what Polly goes through after she leaves Deming on his own? It completely changes your animosity. This is a truly poignant tale at the heart of Deming and Polly’s separate journeys, ending at a place where hopefully the young man can move on. This is one of those books that will stay with you for awhile, so don’t pick it up if you can’t devote your heart to a spinning gem of a novel. Lisa Ko has done a wonderous service bringing this story to the masses. 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 18, 2017.

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