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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

27 / 51 books. 53% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

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2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

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2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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58 / 109 books. 53% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Warm-Hearted Adoption Novel Intimate, Insightful, and Discussion Worthy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A planner by nature (and profession), Tabitha Basnight is determined to turn her unconventional clan into a real family. She wants her 7-year-old twins to maintain a close bond with their biological siblings, even though the children are spread out between three different households. The families' frequent (but hurried) gatherings aren't enough for Tabitha, who longs for a close sisterhood with her fellow adoptive mothers. To that end, she has organized an activity-filled, two-week stay for the entire crew at a vacation home in Aspen, Colorado. Tabitha just knows the time together will finally cement the bonds between them in the rock solid way she's been dreaming of. 

Elizabeth Evans isn't quite as thrilled about her upcoming vacation. After five years of miscarriages and IVF treatments, she and her husband couldn't wait to adopt infant Violet. John is absolutely enthralled with fatherhood, but Elizabeth? Well, she kind of hates it. Weighed down by guilt, exhaustion, and heavy debt from her infertility treatments, Elizabeth is already on edge. How is she supposed to keep it together while in such close proximity to Tabitha, the perfect mother? 

Although Ginger Kowalski, an introverted technical writer, never intended to have children, she's delighted with her adoptive daughter. She's less enamored with Tabitha's determination to create one big, happy family. By living in a different city than the other parents, shy, private Ginger is able to keep a little bit of distance. She knows Tabitha doesn't agree with her choice and she's not looking forward to spending two weeks feeling suffocated and pressured by the bossy planner.  

When Brianna, the kids' flighty birthmother, calls to let the families know she's pregnant again, it lights a match to a fire already stoked with a dangerous mix of anxiety, resentment, guilt, jealousy, doubt, and feelings of inadequacy. Will the family be able to rise from the ashes of the ensuing inferno? Or will the vacation that was supposed to bond them forever tear them apart for good?

I hadn't heard of Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown before seeing it advertised at a local bookship with a note saying, "Everyone connected with adoption should read this book." I'm an adoptive mom who's always looking for a compelling read, so I picked the book up (from the library, because I'm also cheap). The story immediately sucked me in, not because it's action-packed, edge-of-your-seat kind of stuff, but because the characters are so relatable. I saw different elements of myself in each of the three moms at the center of the book. All three are complex, sympathetic, well-actualized characters. I cared about them, their children, and what was going to happen to their unique family. This is very much a character-based novel, but there's enough tension in the plot to keep things moving along. In fact, I zipped through Any Other Family in a day. It's a warm-hearted read that made me smile, sympathize, and think about adoption as a whole and about my experience with it in particular. The author is an adoptive mom herself, so the novel feels authentic, intimate, and very personal. Whatever your experience with adoption, Any Other Family is an engrossing, insightful book. I enjoyed it.

If you're looking for a book club read that asks discussion-worthy questions, look no further. Any Other Family explores lots of intriguing questions like: What makes a family? What (if anything) do adoptive parents owe to their child's birth family? What kind of adoption is healthiest for a child? How does being adopted affect a child's psyche and well-being? What questions are appropriate/inappropriate to ask an adoptive family? How does the experience of motherhood differ for each mother? No matter your own experience (or inexperience) with adoption, these are probing questions sure to inspire an interesting book club discussion.

(Readalikes: Reminds me of Far From the Tree by Robin Benway and How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. I saw this one on Goodreads and thought it sounded good. Knowing you liked it so much makes me glad I put it on my TBR list. I like that the author shows so many different views of adoption, not just one mom/family.

    1. I agree. I didn't mention this in my review, but the book also has sections that tell even more adoption stories from different perspectives. It was a touch confusing, honestly, until I realized these sections didn't relate directly to the story. They were just giving more perspective, which I thought was great. It added an extra something to the novel, even though it's a little confusing at first.

  2. I have very little connection to adoption. Corey and I wanted to adopt, but due to financial strain from medical hardships, we never were able to. My BIL was adopted and started looking for his birth mother when he was in his 50s. And, one of my friends is adopted. I know she'd love to visit her birthplace and find out more about her birth mother, and she doesn't want to make her adoptive mother feel bad or unworthy.

    Because of these small connections, I know adoption is messy and rewarding. I'm glad you thought this book was realistic. It sounds very intriguing and I'd like to give it a go. Thanks for your review.

    1. Very true. Adoption can be expensive and tough and devastating. We were lucky to be a little older when we adopted so we had the money to hire a private lawyer to facilitate everything. That made things go faster and smoother.

      Navigating things with birthparents is another tricky thing. I know people who have very open adoptions and others who have no interaction at all with the birthparents. Ours is a closed adoption, by the birthmother's choice, so we haven't seen or communicated with her since our daughter was born.

  3. I'm an adoptive mom too, and I also really enjoyed this story. I liked how the author showed different adoptive stories, and feelings about adoption.

    1. Oh, are you? I didn't know that. How great! Yes, I also loved how the author showed so many different perspectives, too. Adoption isn't always perfect, obviously, and parenting an adopted child is just as tough as with a biological child, even more so sometimes.

  4. You’ve convinced me. I’m going to request this book from my local library. :) Good review!

  5. I think this sounds like a really good book and I am glad it resonated with you.


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