As tectonic plates shift underneath San Francisco, 11-year-old Marin rearranges the spaces in her own heart for the woman who wants to be her mother.
A ward of the state since her birth mother abandoned her at age 4, Marin Greene has finally become adoptable. And Dr. Lucy Chang really hopes to adopt her. Marin has always believed that the mother she barely remembers would return and the I Ching would connect them. But it’s not the three cast pennies used in I Ching divination, it’s Marin’s own detective work that leads up to their meeting and her devastating discovery that what she’d been told was true: Summer Greene didn’t and doesn’t want to be a mother. An out-of-the-box solution, the interracial adoption of a white child by a single woman, a lesbian, Asian-American doctor, is the right one. This moving story is carefully crafted, woven together in short, short chapters focusing on different characters: Summer, Lucy, a rules-following social worker, a Confucius-quoting owl, and the tectonic plates underlying California. As they meet and rub against each other, tension mounts. The imminent earthquake and the threat of another failed placement add further suspense to a moving narrative that, at its heart, considers family bonds. The inclusion of Owl will alert readers that this tale is not entirely realistic, but it is entirely satisfying.
A beautifully written and thoroughly modern family breaking-and-making story. (Fiction. 9-12)