Matilda Reviews: Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters

betweenSummary:

Nick has a three-legged dog named Lucky, some pet fish, and two moms who think he’s the greatest kid ever. And he happens to think he has the greatest moms ever, but everything changes when his birth mom and her wife, Jo, start to have marital problems. Suddenly, Nick is in the middle, and instead of having two Moms to turn to for advice, he has no one.

My Thoughts:

Ever since I picked up Keeping You a Secret when I was about 14 years old, Julie Anne Peters has been one of my favorite authors. I always felt like she just knew me. In my baby-dyke teenage heart and brain, I knew that Julie Anne just got it. I read Keeping You a Secret countless times when I was a teen.

Between Mom and Jo is the first of Julie Anne Peters’s books I’ve picked up in a few years. I’ve been avoiding her books for a while, because I was afraid that now that I’m 24, the magic of her stories would be gone. I was afraid that they wouldn’t speak to me like they did when I was 14, and in a way I was right—reading her books now is not the lifeline it was when I was so young. But that doesn’t mean her books have lost their magic or their realness.

Between Mom and Jo is a phenomenal story about the resilience and strength of family. Thirteen-year-old Nick struggles miserably through his moms’ divorce. It doesn’t matter what gender your parents are—divorce hurts, but there can be happiness and a new sense of unity afterward, even if your family has changed.

My parents got divorced when I was around Nick’s age, so a lot of this book hit home with me. In comparison to Nick, though, I was lucky. I was never prevented from seeing one of my parents, and I didn’t have to worry about the fact that one of my parents hadn’t adopted me and therefore had no rights over me. This is something that families with same-sex parents really do struggle with today. (In fact, just this week in Michigan, a judge ruled that two lesbian parents should be allowed to adopt one another’s children. Huzzah!)

This book rings true on so many levels. It’s both joyous and heartbreaking, and the characters are wonderful—they’re funny, and honest, and they struggle with real problems. It’s a great book for anyone whose family is changing because of divorce, whether your parents are gay, straight or in-between.

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