The Other F-Word - Natasha Friend | ARC Review

Pages: 336
Format: ARC Paperback
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
How I got the copy: Raincoast Books
Rating: 2/5

A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.

Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about. 

Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died. 

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.

The Other F-Word follows Hollis and Milo through the struggle of not knowing their father and being created by vitro fertilization. Milo wants to find his father for more than one reason and Hollis struggles with wanting to know her biological father and not wanting to know at the same time. Throughout the book readers follow the struggle of being raised by parents that one isn't biological and finding half siblings and learning where they belong in each others lives and creating a special bond. Each character is fighting a different struggle, which gives readers many different issues that can be relatable but at the same time, personally, I didn't feel any connection with any of the situations.

I had never read about vitro fertilization before and I was interested in reading a story that focused on it but while reading The Other F-Word I didn't feel any excitement or curiosity from the plot. As unique as the focus of this book was, I didn't find anything to keep me interested. I guess, what I was expecting from this book was more information about this topic and readers don't necessarily get solid information about being born by vitro fertilization and about growing up with the curiosities. Readers are thrown into the story and I feel if there was more backstory about both of their situations and feelings I could have connected with the main characters more.

However, I was still interested where the story would go and finished the book. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. I didn't get much out of the plot and I wouldn't say this is a strong book to recommend to someone who wants to read about this topic, perhaps if there was less focus on the other character struggles along side Hollis and Milo's struggles I could have sympathized with the characters.

The Other F-Word was pitched as a YA book but I keep seeing other readers connecting this book to middle grade, and to think of it, I'd feel more inclined to recommend this to a middle grade audience rather than a young adult audience.

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