I picked up Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters during one of my several trips to various Big Lots in North Alabama in the last few weeks. (They must've bought out the stock of some bookstore that went out of business or something, because they have a ton of books which they were selling 2/$1.00.) I had never heard of her, but the book was a National Book Award Finalist, so why not?
Apparently, Peters has written quite a few young adult books that have been critically acclaimed, and this wasn't her first National Book Award finalist, either. I looked her up and found out that most of her books are for children or young adults and deal with gay/lesbian/transgender issues.
Between Mom and Jo fits right in with Peters' other books, as it's about a kid named Nick who is growing up with two moms. Erin, who Nick calls "Mom," gave birth to Nick after being artificially inseminated. Jo is Nick's "other" mom and Erin's long-time partner. As you can probably imagine, it's not easy growing up as the kid of two lesbians. Nick is tormented at school because everyone knows about his non-traditional family. Although the family has their share of problems, including Jo's struggle with alcoholism, Nick is happy. Then, his happiness is ruined when their family is broken apart. Nick finds out that life without two moms is even harder than life with two moms.
Peters is a very talented author who manages to capture the attitude of a "tween"-age boy perfectly. Nick goes through various emotions, -- from elation to misery -- and you can feel each one of them as you read. Your heart breaks when his does. It's a very touching story, and a great piece about "non-traditional" families. I can certainly see this book reaching out to a kid in Nick's position and giving him/her hope. I will definitely be reading more of Peters' books. Adding her to my (ever-growing) list of authors I look for when I'm at the bookstore.
Read from June 20, 2010 to June 23, 2010