Scattered links by M. Weidenbenner
A Drama/Inspirational/YA Novel published by Random (01/04/2014)
“America is a place where there’s lots of color and people who don’t worry about running water or food.” (Page 145).
Scattered Links takes place in downtrodden Russia where Oksana is a thirteen-year old trying desperately to take care of her pregnant mama. In a place where many are homeless and hungry, it’s difficult for the young teen to take care of the burgeoning family and make a place for herself in the world. Oksana must make adult decisions and take any chance she can get to help herself, her mama, and her new sister but it isn’t enough. Oksana’s aunt leaves both her and her sister at the local orphanage, but the story isn’t over for the resilient Russian girl. An American couple wants to adopt Oksana’s infant sister and end up with both girls in the process. Adopting an older girl comes with its own complications and it’s difficult for Oksana to leave her mama behind and make a new life for herself in the abundant America.
Russia, Orphans, Adoption, Hardships, Therapy Horses, Family Separation, Leukemia, Emotional
M. Weidenbenner can tell a story that pulls at the heartstrings and brings out emotions in the reader. You are anxious for Oksana to live and prosper and desperately afraid something bad will happen to her. When she teeters on the edge of the precipice of disaster you will shakily turn the pages and wonder how she doesn’t step up and fight for herself or her sister or her mama. But that’s the thing. If you grew up in an environment like Oksana, you wouldn’t always act like a super hero, beating off attempted rapists successfully on your own or finding food where there is none. There is reality to the scenarios in Scattered Links. Everything doesn’t always happen the way we want it and for Oksana a lot can and does go wrong. Where in America would a thirteen-year old be left to deliver her own mama’s child with nothing more than boiled water, cloth, and scissors? Where in America is a woman’s only job opportunity as a prostitute? Oksana lives in a much different world and yet, she is still resilient. She still wants to live. And finally, and most importantly, she has this undeniably beautiful love and hope for her family.
Oksana’s blind eye toward her mama and family situation is endearing because Oksana still has the hope that blood is thicker than anything: poverty, destitution, and more mouths to feed. Oksana loves her baby sister more than anything and will stop at nothing to make sure she is safe and wants for nothing. This love is so compelling. I don’t know if there’s anything I’ve loved as much as Oksana loves her sister. Weidenbenner has created these larger than life characters with stories that will make you want to cry for them and their hardships. The author doesn’t stop there though, she creates conflicted characters as well, the adoption mother is overly hard on Oksana, but she just doesn’t understand the girl. Maybe if she had read Scattered Links she’d have a better understanding of what it’s like to grow up in a less than suitable environment for a child and then be separated from one’s mother and taken to a different country and asked to be the daughter of someone who doesn’t understand you.
Weidenbenner’s ability to show relationships and the interaction of people is phenomenal. Each character has personality and motivation. Each character shows development and growth. Wow. If I could give a book 6/5 stars, I would do it for this book, and for anything Michelle Weidenbenner writes.
This novel was published by Random 01/04/2014 and is available on Amazon here.
TLDR Star Rating: 5.0
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