REVIEW: SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, BY AMY HATVANY

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Jennifer Walker was a young and struggling single mother, barely able to feed her four-year-old daughter Brooke and her 6 month old baby Natalie. They are even living in their car, and the desperation of those circumstances catapult Jennifer down a risky path, leading to incarceration and the loss of her two children. Sadly, Natalie was adopted, but Brooke spent her childhood in foster care, tossed about from home to home.

Somewhere Out There, set in and around the Seattle area, is a story that weaves the past and the present together into a web of family dysfunction, showing us what happens when those familial bonds are broken. Bits and pieces of information are revealed in sporadic increments, bringing the story forward, until finally the whole is complete.

Jennifer narrates her tale in the first person voice of the past, and we see her back when she first loses the girls, and how those mistakes informed her life for many years. Brooke and Natalie take us into portions of their past with their narratives, bringing us into their present, and watching as they finally learn what happened to their family.

Will each of these lives reconnect? What hidden facts will come to light? Will it be too late for them to find a sense of family?

I love this writer’s style which kept me turning pages, wondering what would happen next. Not really a mystery so much as a collection of secret facts that eventually came to light, bringing this reader a sense of satisfaction…and even closure. The characters were flawed, struggling to find their way, and I felt a great sense of empathy for them. This is a story that reminds each of us how fragile family bonds can be, and what happens when connections are severed at an early age. Having spent years working with parents and children separated from one another, I could not help but feel sad at the impact of these huge losses, not just to the families, but to society. But I also felt hopeful…as sometimes the past can be healed. 5 stars.

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