Forever or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter

Published by HarperCollins

Summary:  Flora and her brother Julian don’t believe they were born.  After years of foster care, some of it bordering on abusive, they have only dim memories of their past and have come up with many theories of how they came to be.  Each chapter begins with one of their theories.  For the last two years, they have been in their “forever” home, reassured by their parents that they will never have to move again, but it’s hard for them to really believe that.  Julian still sneaks food and hides it in his closet, and Flora frequently has trouble talking.  With the help of a therapist, their parents decide the best way for them to move on is to face their past, and so they go on a trip, starting with a visit to their most recent foster home, then working backward.  As they gradually uncover the people and places from their early childhood, they find reasons to be sad and angry, but also grateful; and they learn that only by facing the past can they can begin to heal and move into the future.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A powerful book that was hard to put down.  Flora narrates the story; readers see events unfold through her eyes and learn of the past through her incomplete memories.  The characters are memorable and realistically portrayed, and the story seems heartbreakingly real.

Cons:  I skipped reading most of the  kids’ chapter-opening theories about how they came to be.

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