The Other F-Word – Natasha Friend

I read a few Natasha Friend books a really long time ago (probably a decade ago?), so it’s been a while. What struck me about this story was how unique it was! I haven’t read any books about in vitro fertilization before, and I felt like this book painted a really good picture of the different kinds of realities that would lead to that choice. It might have been more interesting if Pam were alive instead of Leigh, but that’s the only thing I could think of!

Synopsis

A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.

Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.

Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.

Review

I read a few Natasha Friend books a really long time ago (probably a decade ago?), so it’s been a while. What struck me about this story was how unique it was! I haven’t read any books about in vitro fertilization before, and I felt like this book painted a really good picture of the different kinds of realities that would lead to that choice. It might have been more interesting if Pam were alive instead of Leigh, but that’s the only thing I could think of!

I really thought we were going to see some Hollis-Milo action, so I was pleasantly surprised by their respective crushes. Also, JJ is prime, and I think I like his story the most. His vested interest in the progeny project is absolutely plausible. Hollis is so angry and gets caught up by such small matters. I hope she gains some perspective on these things that bug her, and that she learns how to forgive and forget. Milo, on the other hand, needs to put some big-boy pants on and take initiative. I do feel for his sheltered and highly allergic childhood though.

I also wasn’t convinced that the similarities between the half-siblings were purely due to nature rather than mere coincidence. I think that you will find common ground with anyone if you look for it, and I wish that sentiment were echoed in the book!

The story ended a little too open-ended for my liking. I wish we got to see some interactions with Will Bardo! At the same time, it makes sense that the story ended like it did. I’m sure half-siblings via artificial insemination make a relationship like no other, and I hope this topic gets explored more as technology improves.

Related Reading

  • The Whole Thing Together – Ann Brashares
  • Rules for 50/50 Chances – Katie McGovern
  • My Life with the Walter Boys – Ali Novak

Rating: 4/5

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