Half a World Away

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Cynthia Kadohata’s book Half a World Away, tells a heartwarming story of the transformation of a twelve-year-old boy named Jaden.

Cynthia Kadohata’s book Half a World Away, tells a heartwarming story of the transformation of a twelve-year-old boy named Jaden. Adopted at age eight, Jaden struggles to find his way in his new family.

 

Abandoned as a baby in his home country of Romania, Jaden struggles to overcome the scars of this experience. Hard as he tries, he cannot seem to emotionally connect with anyone, especially his American adoptive parents, Penni and Steve. This lack of connection leads to a troubled childhood for Jaden that includes bouts of pyromania, extreme fits of anger, and the feeling of being lost and alone.

 

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Jaden’s parents decide they want to adopt a second child, this time from Kazakhstan. They drag Jaden half way around the world to meet his new baby brother. As expected, when Jaden meets the baby, he can’t connect with him either. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, Jaden meets a young boy whose life story is similar to his own.

 

Four-year-old Dimash was abandoned as a baby and has been at the orphanage his entire life. Jaden knows what Dimash is going through and tries to help the boy as much as he can. Thus begins their friendship. Just when Jaden is starting to feel like a normal kid, it’s time for him to return to the United States. Now Jaden must face his biggest fear, losing the only friend he’s ever had.

 

Although the book starts off a little slow, the suspense at the end of the book more than makes up for it. The adventures Jaden embarks on will keep readers engaged throughout the novel. The recommended age level is ten and up, but there is nothing in the story that would be inappropriate for younger readers.

 

Overall, Half a World Away is a good read that is perfect for anyone who loves an uplifting story.