Emily Out of Focus is a book that focuses on Emily’s family as they prepare to adopt a sister from China. It’s a perspective that I have thought about, but the first time I’ve seen in books, and also a middle grade!
Twelve-year-old Emily is flying with her parents to China to adopt and bring home a new baby sister. She’s excited but nervous to travel across the world and very aware that this trip will change her entire life. And the cracks are already starting to show the moment they reach the hotel–her parents are all about the new baby, and have no interest in exploring.
In the adoption trip group, Emily meets Katherine, a Chinese-American girl whose family has returned to China to adopt a second child. The girls eventually become friends and Katherine reveals a secret: she’s determined to find her birth mother, and she wants Emily’s help.
New country, new family, new responsibilities–it’s all a lot to handle, and Emily has never felt more alone.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Emily Out of Focus is a story about choices, loyalty, and taking on responsibility. Thrown onto a plane and visiting China, Emily’s life goes from being an only child, to visiting a foreign and getting a new sister. Emily learns a lot not only about China and her sister’s past, but also about herself and what she is capable of.
I think what I appreciated most about Emily out of Focus is how much character growth Emily undergoes. At the beginning, Emily is focused solely on her expectations about her ‘vacation’, but as the book continues, Emily matures and start to think about her sister and her responsibility to her more and more. Not only that, but Emily’s new friendship forces her to consider her actions and their consequences.