Review: Welcome Home: An Anthology on Love and Adoption

Title: Welcome Home
Editor: Eric Smith (An anthology)
Publisher: Knopf Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Published September 2017

Summary: Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short stories, and brings them together in one anthology from a diverse range of celebrated Young Adult authors. The all-star roster includes Edgar-award winner Mindy McGinnis, New York Times bestselling authors C.J. Redwine (The Shadow Queen) and William Ritter (Jackaby), and acclaimed YA authors across all genres, like Adi Alsaid, Lauren Gibaldi, Sangu Mandanna, Karen Akins, and many more.

I received a copy of Welcome Home in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so glad that I did, because I loved this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into it, since I'm not usually big on reading anthologies (too many stories all crammed together sometimes confuse me a bit), but I ended up being treated to a delightful, surprising set of stories that contained so many emotions, from love to loss and everything in between.

There's a lot going on in this book, and the stories vary greatly, all in the best way. There are contemporary stories of adopted children searching for their birth parents or trying to fit in at school alongside sci-fi and futuristic stories that deal with adoption in some way. There are uncanny circumstances that led to these situations, and some are pretty often heard of. Each story is different and brings something new to the table, and all together creates a beautiful, diverse anthology that goes really, really well together. 

There were so many stories in this anthology that I can't even pick a favorite! A lot of famous authors such as Nic Stone, Adi Alsaid, and C.J. Redwine appear here, as well as a story from Eric Smith himself, and tons of others! What I appreciated most about this story was how every story wasn't centered around adoption itself. In some stories, adoption was the motivator behind the plot, but in others, a character may have been adopted or given a child up for adoption, but a majority of the story was focused on something else. It widened the scope on these stories and made things so much more complex, which I really enjoyed reading.

Another thing I appreciated about this anthology was how short each story was, because they were easy to read on a quick commute and they also pulled you into the book and made it much easier to keep flipping pages. I was tearing through the stories so quickly because in just a few short pages I was getting something emotional, gripping, intense, and -- somehow, even though it was short -- complete. If you don't have the time to sit down and commit to a heavy novel right now, that isn't a problem with this book. Each story is short, sweet, and to the point, but it still packs a totally emotional punch as if you had just finished a full-blown novel. And a lot of those stories left me wanting more!

One last thing I appreciated about this book (even though I still have so much more to say!) was that it gave me insight into adoption that I hadn't ever known before. I'm pretty unfamiliar with the process, being that I wasn't adopted and nobody in my family was, either -- I know a few friends and classmates who have been adopted, but I haven't ever learned anything beyond the basic facts. This book gives a glimpse into the complexities that come along with the process, with everything from remaining/losing contact with birth parents to the damaging experiences in foster homes to the heartbreak of having an adoption plan suddenly fall through. There's a lot of important things going on in this book that I hadn't expected but was delightfully surprised to read and learn about. There really wasn't anything negative I could say about the entire thing! Even the stories that weren't super gripping and action-packed left a mark on me emotionally in one way or another.

Overall, I really, really loved Welcome Home. If this book isn't on your TBR yet, it definitely needs to be, because it's full of quick stories that you'll find yourself devouring faster than you ever expected, and you will finish this book with a full heart and lots of tears (in the best of ways). I'm so grateful that I found out about this book and was lucky enough to receive a review copy -- and who knows? Maybe I'll be passing it on to someone else. ;-)

Great job to Eric Smith and all of the other incredible writers that took part in these stories -- together, you have created something amazing that we are all lucky to read.

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