Book Reviews

Review: All the Ways Home by Elsie Chapman

All the Ways Home just hit my sweet spot. Talk about a character in a middle grade that has made mistakes, is struggling, and figuring out his family.


Sometimes, home isn’t where you expect to find it.

After losing his mom in a fatal car crash, Kaede Hirano–now living with a grandfather who is more stranger than family–developed anger issues and spent his last year of middle school acting out.

Best-friendless and critically in danger repeating the seventh grade, Kaede is given a summer assignment: write an essay about what home means to him, which will be even tougher now that he’s on his way to Japan to reconnect with his estranged father and older half-brother. Still, if there’s a chance Kaede can finally build a new family from an old one, he’s willing to try. But building new relationships isn’t as easy as destroying his old ones, and one last desperate act will change the way Kaede sees everyone–including himself.

This is a book about what home means to us—and that there are many different correct answers.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I am utterly smitten with All the Ways Home. Talk about a book that hits all my sweet spots: a complex family relationship, a main character struggling with his mistakes and forgiveness, and the concept of what home is. If you’re searching for a book that will evoke all the emotions on the spectrum, All the Ways Home is the one.

I’m almost overcome with emotions about how much I adored All the Ways Home. Kaede is struggling with grief, after losing his mother he lashed out, made mistakes, and hurt people he cared about. But he’s processing his grief after losing his piece of home. So when he is in danger of failing the seventh grade, he is tasked with one final assignment – create a journal about what home is to him.

What is home?

What a question for anyone, but for Kaede it seems insurmountable. He’s lost his home, has been living with his grandfather, and is not jetting off to Japan to reconcile with his father who he hasn’t seen in years. What could home possibly mean to him?  But who does he find when he steps off the plane, his half-brother and so begins his summer journey grappling with family, grief, and forgiveness.

Some things that resonated with me is how for some people, there isn’t a moment where it kind of clicks. There are some people who are just who they are, and we can either accept that, or adapt. Along with the theme of family, Kaede struggles with both forgiveness of others, and himself. And isn’t that something we all are really struggling with? All the Ways Home is a tender and profound middle grade. I can only recommend it to absolutely everyone because I think it is touching beyond words.

Find All the Ways Home on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite character who struggles with grief? If you’re searching for some YA fantasy then I have to recommend Reign of the Fallen.

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