The Other F-Word
by Natasha Friend
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 7, 2017
I haven’t read any other books by Natasha Friend, but I have heard some amazing things about her writing and ability to weave stories that appeal to all ages. So when I received this book for review, I was pretty excited about the chance to finally read one of her well crafted tales.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I read this – I had never before read a book that dealt with two teenagers trying to find their sperm donor, and how it brought them together as a family, so I can certainly say that this was a completely new plot for me. I was so excited, and the deeper I got into the story, the more I found myself enjoying it. It was such a cleverly written book, and for the most part, the characters were so enjoyable to read, allowing me to really be able to focus on them and how they felt throughout the book.
Hollis is a fourteen year old girl who lives with her mom. The family has never felt complete since the passing of her other mom, Pam, several years ago. Hollis had always loved her moms, but after Pam passed away, nothing really seemed right.
Milo lives with both of his moms and has a close relationship with them – one is more laid back, while the other is definitely a helicopter parent – and with good reason. Milo has a lot of food allergies that threaten his life, and he has had a few close calls over the years.
So how do Milo and Hollis know each other? They both have the same sperm donor from the same clinic – and while they’ve known about each other for years (Pam set up a meeting for the kids when they were little), they haven’t seen each other in forever.
All that changes when an e-mail is sent to Pam’s e-mail address (which is still maintained because Hollis’s other mom loves her so much, despite being gone for years) from Milo – he reached out to try and contact Hollis. Hollis responds, of course, and the two of them slowly develop a friendship. Milo wants to try and find their donor, while Hollis doesn’t want to think that he might be a good person – she chooses to not want anything to do with him, until Milo changes her mind.
Once they start looking, they discover that they have other siblings out there, too – Abby and Noah (and his twin brother, but he doesn’t want in on any of this), and the four of them work together to try and find the may be their biological father. At the same time, they also gain something else – friendship with each other, and family.
This book was really heartwarming – it definitely had a lot of family value in it which I absolutely loved. Both Milo and Hollis decide that they want to find their donor, even if they can’t actually establish a relationship with him, so they find themselves working together through it all, despite living several states away. I loved the chapters that had everyone together – they had met up at Milo’s place first, and then all of the siblings met up back at Hollis’s place toward the end of the book.
I enjoyed how the book was written in alternating viewpoints of both Milo and Hollis – it really allowed me to get a feel for who each character was, as well as what their personalities were like. I didn’t care for Hollis’s character at all – I thought she was rude, stuck-up, and disrespectful toward her mom and pretty much everyone else. At the same time, she’s dealing with some pretty heavy grief over Pam, so it’s to be expected that she wouldn’t be the sweetest.
Milo’s character, though, definitely was interesting. He had a lot of different food allergies, so pretty much any meal was scary for him. He had to learn how to deal with so many allergies, as well as still fit in as a teenager (such as going to parties, doing well in school, and trying to convince his moms that he doesn’t smoke pot).
The Other F-Word was a really interesting book with a plot that hasn’t been done a hundred times before, so like I said, if you’re looking for something different, this is a great choice. I read the whole book in less than a day, because it was so good that I just couldn’t put it down. The writing flows nicely to create an engaging story that you will remember for ages!
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.