The last few books I’ve read have really not captured my attention, so much so, that I’ve already DNF’d 3 books this year. Happily, Lisa Ko’s The Leavers has been an exception, which is pretty lucky because I’m part of the blog tour. Check out the banner below to see other blogger’s reviews!
One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.
With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.
The Leavers had me hooked from the start. The book has been frequently likened to Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and while yes, there are similarities with the adoption storyline and themes of identity, I want to look at The Leavers in its own right.
First of all, the cover is incredibly eye catching. I usually read books on my Kindle so miss out on pretty covers but when The Leavers fell through my post box and I unwrapped a beautiful burnt orange book, I was so excited to read it. One huge tick already!
I really loved this book. Admittedly I judged the book by its blurb and was a little worried that the content may make the book a heavy read. But, I was so wrong. I loved the shifts in narrative, from Deming as a young boy, to present day Daniel and Polly’s perspective. The book dealt so beautifully with the themes of immigration, identity and finding that sense of belonging.
This is an incredible book, particularly for a debut novel and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for Lisa Ko.