Cover Image: Something Like Home

Something Like Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really wanted to get to this one, as it seemed interesting. The downfall was that I requested so many ARCs that I could not get to all of them before the book was archived. If I can find this somewhere for a reasonable price, I will try to get it!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley, for an e-ARC of Something Like Home by Andrea Beatriz Arango.
This is a heartwarming story about a girl, a dog, and an aunt that is trying to make life better for all of them. This book is told in short sections which will make it more appealing to struggling readers. Children will also be able to relate to having a pet that helps you through life's difficult situations. Although this book deals with difficult subjects, it offers hope.
Was this review helpful?
Something Like Home was a gut wrenching (but also lifting) novel about a little girl named Laura who is separated from her parents and forced to live with her aunt. The journey is tough, but she finds a beautiful friendship with a dog and lots of healing along the way. This novel was in verse and beautifully written. 4.25 stars. Thank you to #NetGalley and #RandomHouseChildren’s for allowing me a copy in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Andrea’s first book, “Iveliz Explains It All” is one of my favorite middle grade books—one of my favorite books, period—and this sophomore release only further solidified exactly why that is.

The story is tender and hard-hitting in a lot of ways, but it’s also full of hope and light. It’s deeply emotional and doesn’t shy away from topics like child neglect, parents with substance abuse issues, what it’s like to adjust dynamics when a secondary family member becomes your primary caregiver—but it’s done with such care and grace.

I feel like the through-line for Andrea’s books so far is this concept—this truth—that while children don’t always have the power to advocate for themselves, they do in fact have agency, and they do know exactly what they need, even if it might be difficult for them to ask or express. I really appreciate the way she captures these young characters’ rich inner lives, the complexities of how they process difficult things even when they don’t have the context or experience that adults might have, and the nuance of showing how despite that lack of context, they still have every right to their feelings. Like I said, showing kids that they have agency, even in the most difficult of situations when that agency is ignored or undermined, is so incredibly powerful and extremely necessary, and I think “Something Like Home” is a brilliant take on that subject.

Also, while I don’t think the purpose of fiction or the value of fiction is in its ability to educate or inform, this story does shed a lot of light on kinship care, which is actually a form of foster care where a child goes into the care of a family member when they can’t be with their parents in order to minimize trauma and maintain a connection with their families. I think that’s a form of guardianship and a type of family dynamic that a lot of people aren’t aware of—at least in an official legal capacity—and I appreciate how even though kinship care is kind of idealistic in its conceit, the story shows all the complexity of navigating that shift in dynamic.

For me, this story feels like it has a lot of thematic overlap with “The Beautiful Something Else” by Ash Van Otterloo, another incredible recent release, especially in the way it explores how children with abusive or negligent upbringings can take on the burden of their parents’ problems and internalize them as something they have to account for and they have to fix. A lot of the story is Laura trying to make up for that misplaced guilt, feeling responsible for what her parents are going through, and ultimately realizing that it’s possible for her to want something better for herself *and* want something better for her parents. Those are not competing but rather coexisting desires.

As the title implies, this story is really an exploration of not only what it means to have a home, but to *feel* at home, and all the different forms that can take. Laura’s journey is not an easy one, and the story doesn’t attempt to offer any definitive answers or solutions to a situation that has a lot of moving parts, which I really appreciate. This was such a beautiful story, I definitely cried at the end, and I gave it a huge five stars.
Was this review helpful?
Both tender and raw in equal measure, Laura's story makes your heart ache - for her, for families affected by substance abuse, for stray dogs, and for all kids struggling to find their footing in a world full of uncertainties. Small details in this book - like the fact that Laura wears glasses - help to make this story feel lived in. I also appreciated Laura's friend Benson, who has sickle cell anemia. He has a bright, positive attitude, but is not used solely as an "inspiration trope." His experience of friends drifting away when his illness feels like "too much" for them is one that kids with chronic illnesses face all too often. It was great to see it brought up here so matter-of-factly.
Was this review helpful?
Love, love, love!  Absolutely 5 stars.  Written in the most beautiful prose format.  An 11 year old girl calls 911 when her parents are unconscious due to pill/drug overdoses and child services place her in custody with her aunt/Titi whom she has had no prior contact.  (With the 11 year old protagonist/Laura, this book is classified as childrens and/or middle grade fiction.  But this is one of my favorite books of the year.  Seriously!)

As part of the story the 11 year old also rescues a dog she has found in a crate on the side of the road (with "Free Dog" sign) that is nearly dehydrated and she and her aunt get it much needed care.

So many positives in this book, but the strongest are of family, friendship and that not every family is of the cookie cutter mold.

The copy reviewed is the advance read copy via the publisher and NetGalley, around 68 pages.  But Goodreads indicates that the book is 256 pages.  I never do this ... but I have the final published version on order because I want to compare the two versions.  I'm pretty sure that it is just a matter of formatting, but honestly ... I don't want to miss an ounce of this book ... it has grasped my heartstrings just that much.  (I've never done that before, compared ARC to published copy.  And I am so anxious to do so!)  So once again, many thanks to NetGalley for introducing me to Andrea Beatriz Arango and her 4th book.  Thank you to NetGalley and publisher Random House Books for Young Readers.  Publication date is Sept 12, 2023.  The cover is just beautiful as well; illustrated by Katrina Damkoehler.

I'm likely to update once i compare final copy with ARC.  Don't miss this one!
Was this review helpful?
"Something Like Home" by Andrea Beatriz Arango is an incredible children's / middle grade story about eleven year old Laura who, as a result of her parents' drug addiction, is now living with her Aunt Titi as part of DCS's kinship care program. As heartbreaking as her situation is, Laura slowly comes to realize that the healthiest, safest home isn't always one that includes your parents. 

As an educator, I've seen how devastating the loss of or separation from a parent can be to a child. My heart broke for Laura as it has for my students, but I was comforted by the care and attention Arango showed to the kinship foster care system and how it is possible for families to slowly heal from such devastating wounds. I'd highly recommend this book to my fellow educators as well as students of all ages.
Was this review helpful?
It’s been a long time since I’ve cried so much with a book. 😭 I finished it one morning, and at night, I was still trying to find the words to describe all my feelings towards this precious book. I just… I highly recommend it! 💯

The story about Laura and her family (including Sparrow 🐶), touched my heart in so many ways. 🥹🤍 This book is very educational and I love that. Besides learning about foster care and therapy dogs, you’ll also learn facts about birds, reading interventions, and so much more. Every theme was handled with care and love.

Check it out if you are interested in:
📚 Middle grade verse novel
👩‍👧 Kinship care and foster care
💞 Family relationships and friendship
🏥 Chronic illness rep
💊 Addiction and rehab
🐶 Therapy and therapy dogs
🇵🇷 Puerto Rican rep
Was this review helpful?
An absolutely stunning novel in verse! Andrea Beatriz Arango's sophomore novel ranks in my top favorite middle grade books of the year. I cannot wait to share this one with my students.

What I loved:
- Everything
- The thoughtful approach to / representation of foster care
- Laura's evolving relationships with her friends and family (especially her aunt)
- The "voice": the narrative feels so true to the way a middle schooler might act, react, and speak
- The format: verse was a fantastic choice for the content
- The way the story had a happy ending, but not everything was resolved in a "perfect" way

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House for the e-ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, Random House Books for Young Readers, and Andrea Beatriz Arango for the opportunity to read Something Like Home in exchange for an honest review.

A brilliantly written novel-in-verse for a middle grade audience that highlights a situation where a child may not live with their parents. In the world we live in today, this is becoming a lot more common, especially with mandated reporters and the influx of CPS calls that I feel like weren't as explosive in the past. It's important to see this perspective and how a child in this situation feels and experiences their daily life.

Laura has to live with her aunt while her parents are in rehab. To Laura, living with Titi Silvia is certainly not the same as being with her mom and dad. How can an aunt who has never been involved in her life care so much now, or even care on the same level as her own parents? 

No matter what, Laura is determined to get her life back with her parents, seeing her current living situation, her current middle school, and her current friends all just a temporary circumstance. This impacts how she treats herself and others when she has this outlook. Between her aunt, a caseworker, a CASA agent, and writing to her parents in rehab, Laura has a lot to deal with as an eleven-year-old girl.

When she finds a puppy, she takes him in and starts to train him, hoping he can be a service dog and that that would allow her to be able to be let in to see her parents. Laura has a lot to work out, but she also finds there are more people in her life that care about her than just her parents, and that has meaning.

Something Like Home is a novel that teens and adults can enjoy just as much as middle grade readers. The perspective is an imortant educational experience for the reader that shares only one example of the experiences that many youth today may face.
Was this review helpful?
A heartwarming and fast-paced read.  It feels a bit less formal which fits the theme and feeling of the books and helps feel more like you're in the head of the 12-year-old main character.
Was this review helpful?
Laura’s parents are taken to by rehabilitation and she is brought to her Aunt Silvia’s to start temporarily. 

Laura feels a lot of guilt and sadness as she learns to adjust to her new normal. She finds a friend and a dog along the way. Laura’s and Silvia have a lot to work through emotionally. 

This book show how families can be different and how we think negative things are not always as bad as we once thought. 

A very good novel from the viewpoint of an eleven year old girl trying to make sense of her works. I loved it!
Was this review helpful?
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year after reading "Iveliz Explains it All", one of my favorite books I've read this year.

Andrea writes with care when talking about heavy topics such as grief and the waves of feelings and emotions that come with losing a loved one and this book is no different. She makes every word count. "Something Like Home" is a novel in verse (as is the case for Iveliz Explains it All) and there's something special about the way that topics are discussed for middle-grade children to grasp but also for adults to engage with.

Andrea's latest work introduces us to Laura, a sixth grader grappling with one of the toughest choices one can make, calling 911 in order to get help for her parents and at the same time not fully understanding what will happen. She isn't sure when she will see them again.
She is suddenly in the care of her aunt, Titi Silvia, whom Laura had not previously formed a relationship with.

Through Laura's experience, we learn about what it means to have a family, and what it means to have a home. Laura teaches us about birds and we as readers see a parallel between what she is going through and the way that birds take care of each other like a family. Laura finds comfort in taking care of a puppy she found on the streets and there also parallels to her feeling abandoned. The book discusses topics such as the foster care system, addiction and rehab, family dynamics, friendships, therapy and therapy dog training, and Puerto Rico and its diaspora. The representation in this book is so important and not often portrayed in books for children.

Because of the way this book is written, we learn about Laura little by little. We are present to her thoughts and the guilt she feels, and as we read more poems, the way the poems end - they pack a punch. I wish I could give Laura a big hug.

Overall, there is so much to discuss about this book and I hope more people will read it!
Thank you @andreabeatrizarango for writing another amazing book!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this middle grade novel in verse. The voice is authentic middle grade and the character growth arcs of Laura and her aunt were perfectly paced with ups and downs, progress and regressions. Sparrow often stole the scenes and I adored him and how loyal and loving he is. The home situation is emotional and well done in kid-friendly terms; drug addiction and rehab forcing separation of kid and parents felt as if I were living through this with Laura. I also enjoyed Laura's friendship with Benson and how they trusted each other enough with their secrets. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
This is a heart-wrenching and heartwarming novel in verse about a young girl separated from her parents due to their drug use.  She goes to live with her aunt who she previously did not know and has to adjust to a new home, new school, and new friends.  She rescues an abandoned dog who becomes an important part of her life.  This story is beautifully told, terribly sad because of the realities of the situation, and ultimately uplifting and hopeful.  This is a wonderful middle grade read.
Was this review helpful?
I loved Iveliz so I was highly anticipating this one, and I may have loved it even more. Sparrow reminded me of my own dog and he just stole my heart. Laura is living with her aunt after her parents so to rehab, and this rep isn't something I've seen much of in MG books, if at all, and I think it is so important. All families look different. I also loved that her librarian introduced her to graphic novels to help her with her reading.
Was this review helpful?
Arango has taken a difficult situation and captured it in a way that is beautiful, poignant, heart-wrenching, and authentic. Her writing style, in verse, is accessible to all readers and shines the spotlight on the emotions that Laura, our main character feels.
This book explores foster care, specifically kinship care, in a way that I have not seen. While there are situations that are less than ideal (to sugarcoat it) there are many situations where family members do step up and in to care for children and this is where Arango focuses her exploration of what that entails. I thought she captured Laura's emotions and then the outward expression of those emotions so perfectly. Every adult should read this to gain a glimpse into the hearts and minds of kids when they act in ways we frown on.
I also really appreciated that nobody was demonized in this book. She handled the shortcomings of Laura's parents through a gracious lens. [spoiler: When Laura recognizes that those around her think she's better off "now" but all she knows is that she loves her parents, they love her and she simply wants to be home --- what a call-out to society and how judgemental we can be] Laura's (continued) love for her parents is so obvious and I thought Arango was smart to emphasize that children caught in these situations LOVE their parents and that we (society) should do better to acknowledge that as work is done to help parents and keep kids safe at the same time.
[spoiler: The book ends with a letter from Laura's mom and while I get the hopeful element of that being necessary in a middle grade book, my heart also hurt because I know many kids are still waiting for that little piece of hope. ]  I loved the way Sparrow (the dog) was at first a means to an end for Laura and then became more. I loved how her aunt slowly grew from awkward, not sure how to navigate the situation into an aunt who found ways to show Laura she loved her and she was important to her. They both grew as individuals and as family.

I received a dARC from the publisher via NetGalley; this is my honest review. I loved this book so much, highlighted so many bits that I will add a physical copy to my library.
Was this review helpful?
After the release of Iveliz Explains It All, I was excited to continue reading Andrea Beatriz Arango's work. 

Andrea wrote such a great story about found family, And Laura's journey is such an emotional one. Seeing her grow and learn how to accept love and friendship over the course of the book was beautiful. It truly is such a healing journey for Laura and one that I loved to read. 

Thanks to Netgalley & Random House for the arc.
Was this review helpful?
I have followed Andrea Beatriz Arango on Instagram for awhile and have been meaning to read her books. So, when I saw her sophmore novel available on Netgalley I knew I had to request it. 

Something Like Home is a novel in verse about Laura Rodríguez Colón, a middle school aged Puerto Rican girl, who has been placed with her maternal aunt by social services after being removed from her parents' care. 

This book had a lot of moments that felt like a punch to the gut, they hit so hard. Laura struggles with not wanting to make a home in a place that is only temporary. She befriends Benson, who has sickle cell anemia, and a stray dog she takes in, Sparrow, but worries about leaving them when she goes back home. 

I just wanted to give Laura a big hug and make everything alright. I love middle grade books that deal with the problems that real life middle schoolers deal with. Books like this are so important to give kids words to talk about the things and feelings they are dealing with. 

I legit cried multiple multiple times while reading this one. I also loved the way she used the structure of the novel, like the chapter headings and leaving a page blank, to help tell the story. Highly recommend!

Content warnings: foster care, child removal, drug abuse, child hospitalization.
Was this review helpful?
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and the stories of how they come to be are always different. 

Was really surprised with this book! It touches on hard topics with such care, love and respect. You can totally tell this was a well loved piece of work. Totally worth it!

Also: the connection between a dog and its owner, their origin story and how it develops it's the story of a family and home. Thank you Andrea for reminding us how different families look and feel, and how a different family can still be a family full of love.

Thank you NetGalley for my copy!

#SomethingLikeHome #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?