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Forever, or a Long, Long Time

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,668 ratings  ·  361 reviews
From rising new talent Caela Carter, author of My Life with the Liars, comes an achingly beautiful and endearing story about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, Leslie Connor’s All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, and Sarah Pennypacker’s Pax.

Flora and her brot
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Quill Tree Books
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Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,668 ratings  ·  361 reviews

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Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is spectacularly beautiful and insightful. I feel like my heart has been shredded and then carefully, lovingly pieced back together. Best middle grade I've read in a really long time!
I cried.

I cried, I cried, I cried.

It's been ages since I've cried at a children's book but Flora and Julian (and their story) just got to me. I love Flora and the way she looks at the world. Her and Julian learning to believe in forever? YES. ALL THE FEELS.

The adults in here were great too, really fleshed out especially when you consider this book is from the POV of a eleven year old (view spoiler)
Destinee Sutton
A moving book about the inner life of Flora, a girl who grew up in multiple homes through the foster care system. She is permanently adopted, along with her younger brother, at the age of nine. Flora and her brother Julian don't believe they were ever born. They think they never had a biological family. Now Flora is eleven years old and trying really hard to trust her new mom and believe that she and Julian will be with her forever. But she is held back by her ignorance of her own origins.

The s
Leonard Kim
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Newbery peanut gallery, we need to talk about this one. I feel like lots of books have tried something like this over the years, but they are all basically The Great Gilly Hopkins but not as good. This one isn't Gilly and, incredibly, it might be almost as good.
Emily Pool
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book broke my heart and then pieced it back together in such a beautiful way. What an gorgeous story of fostering and adoption. Cried cried cried.
I got this book through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Rather watch a review video? Click here.

"It's when the best things are happening that it's hardest to believe in Forever."

Forever, or a Long, Long Time is a middle grade book about two siblings finding their forever home after being in the foster system for a long time.
Flora & Julian are siblings. They have been adopted by Emily and her husband a while ago, but they are still struggling with the everyday reality of trusting that
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OOOF, this was a hard one. There were a few times when reading it that I had to put it down so I could try to emotionally process what was happening and then I had to realize that the characters (11 and 9) were also dealing with these things, and that these issues happen EVERY DAY in real life, and then I would pick it up and keep going. Because I had to find out what happened to Flora. And I desperately wanted to know her story and how it would end.

Flora and Julian were adopted two years ago by
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hadley
Two "only's" Flora and her brother are foster kids who bounce around families all the time. But when they're ready to learn about their past their "forever" mother doesn't know if she's ready.
I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this book. I could hardly put it down for a hot minute.
Gabrielle Schwabauer
Everything about this book was superb. I am not usually impressed by books about adoption, foster care, and trauma, but boy did this story surpass my expectations.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC from Young Adult Books Central

Flora and Julian have found a forever home after years in the foster care system, but neither is entirely sure that their mother will keep them forever. Flora refers to her as "Person" in her mind, and is worried about everything, to the extent where she often has trouble communicating. Julian hoards food in his room. Neither child believes that they were born like other children-- they believe that they never had a mother because they can't remember one and no
Crayola B.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some books are the right book at the right time.

And sometimes, even when you think a book is a window into a different life, it ends up being more of a mirror.

This one was both. So even though it kind of stomped on my soul a little bit (okay, a lot), I forgive it, because it's a story about trauma and change and trust, but it's a realistically hopeful one. Things don't magically get better. But people get better at dealing with things, and some problems hurt less when you face them.

I loved th
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
3 stars. Parts of it I enjoyed (Flora’s complex range of feelings and reactions were informative and noteworthy and mom’s ability to do the hard work of bonding was inspirational and admirable).
I wondered at times who was the intended audience? Some of the story seemed to be geared toward adults (somewhat overly pedantic at times)......and I wonder how well middle grade students relate to a 4th grade main character. Flora seemed to express her thoughts as an adult at times and I felt like we wer
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not really sure I have the right words for this book. There's no way for me personally to sum up what I think beyond this. It's about a girl learning to be part of a family, to be with people. It's about trauma, family, childhood, love. It's an incredible book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)
"There are more letters and more words. They're building up inside me but they refuse to leave my body. They jam on top of each other like a million-car pileup on the freeway until my face is hot and my throat is sore and I know that when I finally do cry it won't be tears falling out of my eyes but letters."

When we went to the library our goal had been to find Artemis Fowl, but someone else had already checked it out. Lucky us! Forever, or a Long, Long Time was a really interesting story that e
Elizabeth Kennedy
I gained insight into the life of kids brought up in foster care but I felt too aware while reading that this book was meant to teach me something.
Afoma Umesi
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is so beautifully written. The prose is lusher than many adult novels I’ve read. Author Caela Carter paints a picture of the foster care system so unflinching that this book is difficult to read at multiple points. Yet, that is what makes the story hard to put down. Full review here
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm struggling with this one...In one sense I found it compelling and heartbreaking following the journey of two children from foster care into their "forever" home. However on the other hand I struggled with feeling that there were elements that seemed overly simplified and stereotypical. I wouldn't categorize this book as a "pleasure" read but it may be hopeful to some children who have had similar experiences. The last bit I struggled with was the author is white and writes about neglected ch ...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
First, thank you to the Diverse Book Club for recommending this book. It broke my heart and made me hopeful. Love is more powerful than anything else in the world. I can not recommend this book enough, especially for families/children that have been through the adoption process.

I feel like Flora, in that my words are "stuck." This book was so beautifully written, I cried so many times. My heart broke for Flora and Julian's pain and it broke for Emily (Person) who fought so hard to keep her famil
Sara-Zoe Patterson
I started crying on page 3 and didn't stop bawling until I reached the end of the book 5 hours later. I loved this book. This book is so so well written, with wonderful characters you want to know forever. The author did such an amazing job writing Flora, the main character. She is so complex with so much going on ... but it adds up so well. The depth of the complexity and sadness mean I'm not sure who I would hand this book to - it's probably more middle school even though Flora behaves like an ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The characters, the writing, the story, they all were so beautiful. I couldn’t read this book in public because there were always tears in my eyes. This books touches on a great deal of truth in the foster care world and will build empathy in any reader. A story of love and family and hope. Read it!
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story about siblings that spent years in the foster care system before getting adopted. It’s told from the perspective of the 2 siblings. Even though they have a loving family now, the two still struggle everyday with life changes such as a new baby on the way or graduating from the 4th grade and saying to goodbye to friends and teachers.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Emily Attaway
Recommended to RuthAnn by: Lori
Strongly recommended for kids and adults

Oh, man, this book is so hard and so good. Flora's perspective as a child of foster care and now adoption is riveting, and her voice is so strong. Reading her insecurities and fears was anguishing, and it rang true. It struck me how tenuous life was for her and her brother; they could never fully relax and rest on something solid. I also appreciated how Flora and Julian struggled in different ways: Flora couldn't always form her thoughts into words, and Ju
Marathon County Public Library

How can Flora ever believe in forever? After being shuttled from foster home to foster home longer than she or her brother Julian can even remember, how can she trust her new mother (who she calls Person because there have been way too many mothers) after they are adopted and promised a forever home. Carrying scars from their past, Flora has trouble getting her words out and her brother hides food in his closet, lots of food, as an assurance he won’t go hungry. As they are both trying their hard

This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, sometimes sweet, often shocking. The journey that Flora and Julian have lived, are living with their now supposed-to-be-forever family hangs on until an ending. Carla Carter, rightly so, allows Flora to tell the story and also lets her interpret Julian's feelings and actions along with Person's (the name she gives her new mom, Dad's and Elena's (Dad's girl from a former marriage). There were times I wanted to shout, "no", that isn't what that me ...more
Brandy Painter
Flora and her brother Julian spent years in the foster care system and were kids who fell through the cracks of the bureaucracy. They have been with their forever mom for two years now, but when she announces she is having a baby Flora and Julian begin to wonder if there will still be a place for them. They also begin to question where they came from. Their mom takes them on a journey to discover their past and build their family. The book is told in Flora's first person voice and it is really w ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
If you want a taste of the foster-child experience in America, of the adoptive-parent experience, of love in all its confusing complexity, here you go. It's not easy, no kid adopted out of foster care ever immediately says "Oh, well, I've been adopted, all my problems are solved and my behavioral issues settled", there are foster parents who treat it as a child-care business and wanna-be adoptive parents who decide the child isn't "grateful enough" for the opportunity they're offering. Love is h ...more
Katie Cat Books
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trauma. Family. Foster care and adoption.

Story: Flora is in fourth grade and has trouble in school. It's hard to remember to raise her hand and she has trouble vocalizing her thoughts. Flora has been with her new mom for two years now, but refers to her as Person when she thinks about her, not mom.

Language: The story is told in first person from Flora's perspective. She really comes across as a fourth grader, especially in her thought processes and interactions with others. The chapters all have
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this a few weeks ago when I made a big library request for foster kid books to integrate into my classroom. Of course, this is not a kindergarten level book and not something I will ever read to my students but it gave me a poignant, gut-wrenching view of what happens or may happen and how that explodes inside a child.

This is such a beautiful and painful book. The narrator Flora is an exquisite storyteller. Her love for her brother is fierce. Their complicated memories and the
It's well-written and I liked the beginning chunk when Flora is navigating home and school. Once the road trip to find their bio mom starts, it turns into more a tour of the foster care system, which is interesting, but not as strong storywise. Overall, I learned a lot about the issues foster kids deal with and it seemed accurate. But it also felt like an adult perspective. I'm not entirely sure why, but it felt like a book by an adoptive mom (I have no idea if that's at all true or not) sharing ...more
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Caela Carter grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ and Baltimore, MD. She's been writing since she learned how to pick up a pen but before the writing thing got serious she spent six years teaching English to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, FL and Chicago, IL. Her debut novel, ME, HIM, THEM AND IT was published in 2013 by Bloomsbury. When she's not writing, Caela is a teacher of some aweso ...more

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“We're made of good stuff, but you have to work to get it. Our good stuff is cased under hard shells that will cut your fingers and burn your hands if you try to break through them. Our good stuff is hidden under layers of guts and gross yellow goo that will make you say "yuck" the whole time your cleaning it away with a paper towel. And just when you think you have gotten all the bad stuff out of the way, there's more guts, more shells, and more goo. But we're made of really good stuff. If you work really, really hard.” 1 likes
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