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The Echo Park Castaways

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From the author of The Other Boy comes a poignant and heartfelt novel that explores what it means to be a family. Perfect for fans of Counting by 7s.

Nevaeh, Vic, and Mara are veterans of the Los Angeles foster care system. For over a year they’ve been staying with Mrs. K in Echo Park. Vic spends most of his time living in a dream world, Mara barely speaks, and Nevaeh is fo
ebook, 208 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by HarperCollins
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  40 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
⭐⭐⭐💫/5. Three foster siblings tel their story as a fourth child with autism joins them. Nevaeh is the oldest, acting as a mother to Vic, an ADHD boy who lives in a fantasy world most of the time, and Mara, a little girl who barely speaks English. Quentin joins them, and only talks about finding his mother; the four set out on a day that changes them. This is a quick read, and the characters are lively except Mara, who never narrates. I wish I could have heard her story. Regardless, this is a goo ...more
M.L. Little
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner: The Echo Park Castaways by @m.g.hennessey and @harperkid. Releases 7-2-19.
I read this book in a day and it was a total, surprising DELIGHT.
The title refers to four mismatched foster kids who despite living Los Angeles have never seen the ocean—a reminder of the sad reality for so, so many kids. Each dealing with their own struggles, they unite for an “epic quest” to return their foster brother to his biological mom before it’s too late.
There are barely any others
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
As a story, I enjoyed reading this, but it also felt dated in its treatment. Foster kids with differences and hearts of gold help each other find fulfillment - the characters were strong and unique, but seemed to carry stereotypes. Even the note that the author worked in the LA foster system didn't make it feel less disingenuous.

Not up to Gen Z standards.

* Review if of an advanced reader copy

There are several things to like about this book. First and foremost, the story is about children living in foster care, a group which is definitely underrepresented in literature. For that reason alone, this is a novel worth sharing. Next, three of the characters alternate telling the story from their individual perspectives so the reader is afforded more than one interpretation of events. Additionally, there is a gritty reality to some of the problems enco
Kelly Hager
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked The Other Boy, but this was so much better. (At this rate, Hennessey's next book may actually kill me with how amazing it is. A third book hasn't been announced yet; I hope there will be one soon.) 

I feel like I compare every middlegrade book I love to Katherine Paterson, but this does have shades of The Great Gilly Hopkins. (The kids aren't particularly close at first but this quest really brings them together and makes them bond, which means they do basically become a family...b
Renae McBrian
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a unique and fun story. I'll write a proper review soon, but M.G. Hennessey is doing important things here!
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Great story about a struggling foster home, and the four kids who are making it work. They all have challenges, but the newest boy, Quentin, has Asberger's and is trying desperately to get back to his mom. This isn't a super happy read, and that is part of its appeal -- realistic, contemporary fiction about how to live when your options are hard, and how to triumph by taking care of each other. Lots of heart.

Advanced Reader's copy provided by edelweiss.
Sara Strand
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am giving this one a 4.5 star ONLY because I kind of wish we got an epilogue, like a "where are they now" but a few years ahead, but that's me being picky.

I absolutely loved this book and if you are a teacher or librarian, this is going to be a great addition (ages 8-12, grades 3-7). It's a fast read and could even be done as a read aloud.

It follows the (sometimes sad) story of four foster children on their "quest" to find Quentin's mom. I felt like the ending was sad but also hopeful, and i
Ms. Yingling
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Neveah has been in the foster care system her whole life, and has seen less than optimal placements. That's why she's glad to be with Mrs. K. The house is fairly organized, there is always food, and no one is mean to her. Mrs. K., however, has struggled since the death of her husband and is not very interested in being involved with the children, so a lot of the care of the younger Mara and Vic falls on her shoulders. She's okay with that-- if she can help Mrs. K.
Laura Gardner
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The Other Boy is a big hit in my middle school library, so I was eager to read this book. I read it in nearly one sitting and really enjoyed the story about four foster siblings going on an adventure together and becoming a family in the process. I was confused, though, why Mara didn't get to tell her side of the story given that the other three kids did. Is it because she speaks Spanish? It bothered me so much that it really got in the way of my enjoying the book as much as I wanted to.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, middle-grade
Foster home life isn't easy. Nevaeh is grateful for landing in Mrs. K's home, since she's been in some pretty bad ones. Vic claims to be a kid spy, though nobody believes him. Mara hardly says a word, and can't speak much English. Quentin is the newest addition, a boy with Asperger's who doesn't know why he can't go back home. When the four go on a quest to find Quentin's mother, they find their own patchwork family on the journey, together. Foster life is often glossed over, and the hardships t ...more
Mari Johnston
This review and many others can also be found at Musings of a (Book) Girl.

content warnings: death of a parent, foster care, cancer, deportation of a parent

Stories of children in foster care are always desperately needed, especially when it comes to the age of middle grade. Kids need to be able to see themselves in stories for a wide variety of reasons, and M.G. Hennessey’s second novel, The Echo Park Castaways, gives them that opportunity. And while I’m glad this book is available to those that
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eye opening tale about 4 foster children and the foster care system. Buts it’s more than that , it’s about the bond between these 4 children and how they accept what life has dealt them. The author does a great job with this book making awareness to young adults and middle schoolers to understand this complicated system in this country. A must read!
ryder  l.m.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
California foster care.
Jun 22, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
With that cover, I'm happier by the second!
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