Half a World Away
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2014
Duration: 4 hours 32 minutes
From National Book Award and Newbery Medal winning author Cynthia Kadohata, 11 year old Jaden's adoptive parents are traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby. All Jaden sees is him being replaced. To him, he has only ever been an epic fail to his parents with his stealing, hoarding, fire lighting, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing. Not a thing when it comes to them.
But when they get to the Baby House, they find that the infant they've agreed to adopt has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden couldn't be less interested. More interesting are the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, who, despite being three years old, can only utter a word or two, spies Jaden, and begins to barrel over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn't pure blinding fury, and there's no way to control it, or its power....
From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, the detailing is finely wrought and authentic. Cynthia Kadohata once again finds that one small story that speaks volumes, and introduces us to a world sealed to most of us, a world we'll find ourselves returning to again and again in our minds, wondering, what if, what if?