Foster Care Books
So many wonderful books, so little time. It’s hard to know what to read or if something is really going to be worth it when it comes to a book. I have been, since I was a small child been described as a “ferocious” (RAWR) reader, any and every chance I’ve gotten to read anything I would read it. I can remember there being a book on Ulysses S. Grant sitting on a table in the living room of my family’s home when I was about 7 years old it was big and yellow, no sleeve cover just water stains on its hard back. I had absolutely no business reading it. I’m pretty sure for whatever reason at the time—it being without its cover or maybe the stains from glasses having been sat upon it wearily maybe it had been neglected and unloved? It needed love-but that biography was mine for the taking all 800 pages. I loved that book too, by the way it has gotten me a trivia win or two to boot! I read all the words, but I don’t know that I understood them all.
It has never mattered to me if the book was something that I was “supposed” to read or not read, sensational, informational, fun or elicit I have always enjoyed reading! Another series I enjoyed reading throughout middle and high school were the series of “banned books” a list that that still holds a few of my long time favorites including Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Brave New World, Looking for Alaska, Slaughterhouse Five, Fahrenheit 451 and The Bluest Eye. Imagine a world without Morrison, Bradbury, Greene, Vonnegut, Huxley, Lee and Salinger—dear reader I don’t want to! The more sensationalized the books were the more I wanted them, this is the thing most miss out on about reading the folx I’ve always met who say they don’t like to read just haven’t found the right subject. I even read Mein Kampf in High School, or attempted to my inability to be able to understand German will continue to be one of my greatest disappointments in life.
This is why when I was badgered by Amazon’s Kindle service to try out Harley Merlin’s and the Secret Coven, I was 100% turned off. It was on the bottom of every advert from them. It was on Facebook, I’d go to look on audible (which I consider cheating btw, but they had The Body Keeps Score for free and I wanted to listen to it as a refresher) I was not by any means going to let them “peg me” for one —they don’t know my life! About the kindle, because I read all sorts of books and it’s a truly humble brag I wish that I had “real hobbies” things that other people did but they just don’t interest me the same way. I try—I really do but I can’t knit, I do paint, I do not get video games, I burn things when I bake, people exhaust me when I’m not at work I’m an extroverted introvert. I like quiet, I like to learn—as do most teacher’s kids and well, BOOKS ARE FUN! I read 156 books last year, go me! Kindle really makes it easier I do miss the physical aspect of turning pages, the musty smelly books bought for fifty cents but when a person reads as many books as I do, you literally RUN OUT OF SPACE! And given that I tend to give more sentimental feelings to something that I have grown attached to….(*Confession: sorry, about stealing that one book from my first elementary school that had my second favorite poem in it-I’ve taken WAY better care of it then I feel the Franklin Independent School System ever would… I can’t just throw them away, donate them or gift them. Nobody I know really reads like I do so; I pack up 17 rubber made containers *and counting every time I move. Le sigh). Kindle saves lives y’all!
Anyways, back to Harley Merlin. There I was, having just finished a great read by an adoptive mom about her journey through private adoption (*I do plan on reviewing this book in the future) and up pop’s this Merlin book. My general rule is educational book, book for work, fun book, fantasy book, and rinse, repeat. So fun book was up. The reviews said something along the lines of “if you were ever a fan of the Harry Potter series—this is the book for you!” Okay, wait a second. Why is this book being recommended for me in my last cycle of educational books and work (foster care) books? I had remembered seeing it also on Facebook in suggestions too…things are starting to get creepy. I felt like that guy from Elf in that movie where his whole life is narrate? Targeted ads creep me out. So I delved deeper, also being a person that will read anything means I will read all 1,300 reviews. Turns out the Potter similarities are that this book also has some magical connections. Okay, sure whatever *smirk*. I am the same age as Harry Potter, I grew up with Harry Potter, there is nothing better than Harry Potter-so umm “thank you, Next” or whatever! Then I see where Harley is a foster kid. Okay, now I get it—I see what you are doing cross stalk! Kindle and Stalkerbook, you see I work in Foster Care, so you are marketing to me. (1984 *angry emoji) If there is anything I absolutely hate it is being told what to do! So, now I need fuel for my mini rage fire to dislike this thing. I mean, I almost feel violated, you know? They have everything on me, I’m just a number to them—someone to sell books to. They know where I work and what I do, they know I was a potter kid, they know everything! But I have the internet I will find something—there is always something, right? I will find the evidence to dislike this book. I read some more reviews, all in all I couldn’t find anything that would make not want to read this book—I searched for a couple days. I really hate it when I’m super basic. When I want to dislike something, dang it I want to dislike it. I really hate it when someone else could possibly be right about me! Which meant now I really had to read this book!
SO, Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven much to my surprise like the recent “Instant Family” was a hit in my eyes! Harley is a former foster child in the young adult fiction series, the book takes no time to get right into both action and emotion in exploring the topic of Harley’s being in care. The thing I think I like most about the series, is that the author Bella Forrest does not tip toe around any of the issues Harley had being in care. Both Harley’s inner and outer dialogue reflect her struggles learning to trust others result from her never having known her biological parents or remembering them at least as she entered the foster care system around age 3 as well as having been moved from home to home while in the ‘system’.
Throughout the series, Harley’s character demonstrates on a relatable level the how’s and why’s she feels the way she does. Sorting through some nasty childhood trauma of abandonment and loss. I believe this book, though fantasy as it does also have lead characters that can shoot fireballs through their fingers and have “espirts” that help magnify said powers, can help teens who have journeyed through the foster care system understand their own feelings of loss, abandonment, trauma and even expectations of reunification.
I wouldn’t want to spoil a major plot point, though I can say there is one major lesson Harley learns about her bio family throughout the series. It is a major focal point of books 1 and 2 (oh yeah, I should say I read books 1-4 in umm 3 days! Then pre-ordered the 5th). It is a lesson that all young adults learn at some point or another in life, though as so many of us know our children learn harder and faster than most. Again, no spoilers from me I do encourage all to read the book or have your teens in care read it! It’s a great series, much more in depth about exploring the emotions about actions taken and not taken, choices and ramifications of choices (lessons we ALL need to remember sometimes but especially teens) and also dealing with depression and guilt. The themes in this book are excellent for the target audience.
There is some language, mostly PG-13 language and by the 5th book the two main characters are involved romantically but are not engaging in any sexual romantics other than hugs and a French kiss.
I don’t mean I just enjoyed this book, I am more than anxious for this book to drop the 6th iteration. It comes out on the 19th of February and I have already pre-ordered. Who am I?
Tags: #harleymerlin #befosteraware #betterthanpotter #understandingyourstory #mystory #fosterkid #firstbookieverstole