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Summary: It's a week before Christmas and Min is on the move again. After her (probable) father's girlfriend abandoned her at the Canadian National Exhibition (museum) to protect her from abuse, Min has been in four foster homes, each worse than the last. She saw little reason to talk and has mastered the "stone face" so no one could see her feelings. Min is once again back at the Children's Aid office. She calls it the recycle bin. Knowing that she was orphaned not adopted, Min is starting to believe what the bullies at school say: she is garbage girl, her parents (whoever they were!) just threw her away. When Dr. Jessica Hart overhears Min's newest foster parent spewing lies about Min, she "kidnaps" her ... Min could have a real Christmas, with a real family. Or it could be just another stop. This young adult novel focuses on themes of family, adoption, and bullying. This is a high low title.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, middle grade reader, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 9 to 13
Reading Level: 3.7
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a wonderful story. It is told in the third person, but you are as close to Min's experiences as if she is telling you herself. Min's story is a little predictable, as it becomes clear early on that she will become Jessica's daughter. Still, there are other pieces that add depth to the story. Jessica is herself an orphan, Min has to learn how to be a friend to Jess' godson, and she finds and cares for an abandoned, abused dog.
Pros: Girls, in particular, will find a friend in Min and an engaging story. Throughout the book the reader discovers other children's books about kids in foster care and adoption.
Cons: I wish the list of other books was included at the end.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book to treasure. The story is lovely, and you will want to share it with your friends. This is an EXCELLENT choice for adoptive families when the child is older.
Educational Themes: There are themes of self esteem and personal growth; animal abuse and neglect; friendship, and family dynamics, not only for Min but also for Toby. With regard to foster care and adoption, there is information about the process, as well as Min's personal story.
Notes: The Reading Tub requested a publisher donation for this title.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, adoption, bullying, holiday
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2010
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.