Title: The Edge of Belonging
Author: Amanda Cox
Major Themes: Adoption, Homelessness, Emotional Abuse
Synopsis: When a homeless man finds an abandoned baby, she becomes a lifeline to connect him with other humans; when Ivy tries to find answers to her past, she finds mysteries instead.
Sometime last year, my daughter read the book The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery. She raved about it, and made me want to read it. I still haven’t, but she gave me, for my birthday, The Edge of Belonging by the same author. I started reading it almost immediately, and three days later had devoured the whole story. What a book. Now, I want to read the first one she told me about!
This is a dual-timeline novel, but the two timelines are only separated by about 24 years, and both are about the same people. For the most part, chapters about each time alternate. First, we get a chapter from 1994, and then the present-day. The chapters from 1994 are told from the point of view of Harvey, a homeless man. Harvey didn’t belong to anyone and no one belonged to him, and he didn’t trust or connect with anyone. Then one day, he stumbled across an abandoned newborn baby girl. Suddenly, he had a human connection. How could he possibly care for this baby, though, since he was homeless? When two people tried to help him, he just knew he had to keep this baby a secret, or he would lose the only person he loved.
Ivy Rose, the heroine of the present-day timeline, has to return to her hometown after breaking up with a controlling fiancé. As she cleaned out her grandmother’s house, she found clues to her own past and the mystery surrounding her adoption. How could she find the pieces of truth about herself that were missing?
I love the way The Edge of Belonging is told. Each character feels very real and I fell in love with all of them. Watching Harvey, and Ivy Rose, struggle to find or to be able to expose the truth, was heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. Amanda Cox has written a beautiful story here. Watching each of the six main people in the story struggling to know what to do with truth is heartbreaking and at the same time beautiful. I especially liked watching Ivy grow and change from the beginning to the end of the story. This is an author I will be watching for; if she did this well with a debut novel, I have a feeling that subsequent books will be superb.
WARNING: Sex trafficking is mentioned, as happening to a minor character, in a few paragraphs. There is a kiss in chapter 47.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults