Welcome Home is a YA anthology of short stories in which every story has something to do with family and adoption. The stories’ genres are all over the map, from contemporary to fantasy and science fiction. There’s also quite an intersectional range of authors and topics here. Some stories cover teenagers giving up their babies, some cover adopted children finding birth parents, and some cover the foster care and correctional systems. All define family in different ways, but a running theme is that family absolutely does not have to be only blood.
I really loved this collection a lot. It hooked me in from the very beginning, with a story about a teenager in Mexico whose parents are perpetually stuck in 1985, written by Adi Alsaid. I already felt like the anthology was doing something unexpected for me by starting out in a genre other than contemporary. As I read, I found all kinds of emotions throughout the pages of these books. I sympathized, I cried (maybe sobbed), and I laughed. For me, adoption isn’t a part of my personal life. However, I have worked with students entrenched in the foster care system, and those who have been adopted, and I feel like I have come to a new understanding of the lives they lead and the emotions they probably feel. No story in this book gives clean, cut and dry answers, but that’s because adoption is a complicated topic.
While it is a complicated topic, all the authors here handle it with beauty and grace. There’s beauty to be found in most of the stories here, and some of them hold more tragedy than grace. They feel realistic and they run the gamut of experiences of children in these situations. I definitely see myself returning to these stories over and over, and trying to find more and more meaning and understanding. There is a power to all of these stories that will draw you in.
If you are a YA reader, you’ll also be pleased at a lot of the names who are writing here. Ones I recognized right off of the bat included C. J. Redwine, Tristina Wright, Stephanie Scott, Nic Stone, Courtney Stevens, and William Ritter. I also discovered a lot of new authors and added a bunch of new books to my TBR. Whether this is a topic that interests you, or one you may be only tangentially interested in, I highly recommend this anthology to you. It’s powerful and beautiful and tragic and wonderful all at once. I found myself picking it up to read one story when I had a few minutes (and those few minutes generally turned into 2 or 3 stories). I’m very appreciative that I read it.
Note: I received a copy of this book from editor & contributing author Eric Smith in exchange for a fair and honest review (thank you!).
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What other YA anthologies do you love?? Let me know in the comments!