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What I Carry

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  16 reviews
For readers of Robin Benway's Far From the Tree, a powerful and heartwarming look at a teen girl about to age out of the foster care system.

Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she's learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light.
Carry only what fits in a suitcase.
Toothbrush? Yes.
Socks? Yes.
Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend?
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
4.5 stars - a beautiful story of nature. A story of friendship and finding it where you least expect it. Foster care is a subject that isn’t talked about enough in juvenile fiction. And I love the characters in What I Carry.
Nancy Fischer
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the chance to hear Jennifer Longo speak at an NCIBA luncheon. Her presentation was funny, poignant and sincere. I picked up an ARC of her novel afterward... and was immediately hooked by the utterly unique voice and story.

In What I Carry, Jennifer Longo writes.... Exactly the right thing. Every single time.

This story about Muir, abandoned at birth, named by the nurses in the NICU, and her journey through the foster system and towards the chance to unpack, find love and home, is moving
Oct 31, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, favorites
I do not usually cry when I read books. I get misty...occasionally...but crying? Not so much. So it's saying a whole hell of a lot that when I finished this book I was sobbing. I love Muiriel. Love Francine. Love Sean and Kira and Terry Johnson. And the writing is the kind that makes you want to be a better writer. Hands down the best book I've read in 2019.

Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways.

This book gave me mixed feelings - on one hand, there were aspects I really liked, but on the other, I had some issues with it. Perhaps a pros and cons list will help better explain!


- Muir has been in foster care her entire life and she's developed her own coping mechanisms, which for her include never staying too long in one placement. I cannot even pretend to understand Muir's life, but to me it didn't make sense that she would choose
Lily Maguire
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As the third of my summer reading books, I read What I Carry by Jennifer Longo. It follows Muir, seventeen year old girl who was worked through the foster care system her entire life, and is about to “age out” and be forced to live and provide for herself. She has been assigned to her final foster mother, a New York City woman who promises herself that Muir is her last foster child. Throughout her life, Muir has lived with a “no emotional baggage” policy. She makes it a priority to not get that ...more
Foster care and adoption are often nothing like the typical stories published about them. In this book, readers meet seventeen-year-old Muir who is close to aging out of the system, and learn about what it might be like to grow up in the foster care system. Although her case worker, Joellen, does her best to find the right placements for Muir, something always goes wrong. Lest readers assume that the problem is with Muir and her behavior, as she's grown older, she's the one who lets Joellen know ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
"It was the thought that it would be so nice to have help - her help - that made me cry harder. Because very soon, the second I aged out, I would have no help from anyone at all."

In movies foster kids are more often than not portrayed as troublemakers and/or have to endure endless abuse by their caregivers. I love that Jennifer Longo has listened to her daughter, who was born into foster care herself, and tells a different story here. It's about a girl who has been in the system all her life
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Muiriel, a girl born into foster care and determined to be as well-behaved as possible in order to not get adopted.

It took until near the end of the book when it was actually explained for me to understand why Muir didn't want anybody to adopt her. It was frustrating to listen to all these people saying "we love you" to her and having her refuse to believe them. I've never been in her situation, so maybe I would feel the same if I had been.

The characters are introduced my
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Really great book about a teen who is about to age out of the foster system. She has been very protective of herself for so many years that it’s hard for her to accept the love and support of anyone trying to help her. She has been in 20 placements, usually because she wanted to leave, and keeps a single momento from each place and her back story is told through those objects.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A heartwarming contemporary novel that beautifully depicts the bonds formed between a teenage girl who struggles to remain detached from society as she travels through the foster care system, her caring and handsome coworker/classmate, and an aspiring artist, who is trying not to let bullies get the best of her.
Laura Namey
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya-stars
Oh my, this book shines with well-drawn characters, a beautiful story, and gorgeous prose. I ate up every single word and this book has joined the ranks of being one of my favorite reads of all time. Don't miss this gem!
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very moving story about a young girl's journey through the foster care system and how she learned to cope with moving so often and how to rely on herself. Fortunately, she had a great social worker who helped her navigate through the system from birth until she was ready to age out.
Jenna (Bookiemoji)
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Too soon to discuss! I look forward to reading the finished book!! ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a GEM of a book!! I loved everything about it! This book fills you with hope and makes you want to go out into the world and spread some love, sunshine and much needed kindness.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Muiriel's one constant love is nature, but she refuses to put down roots. Born into the foster care system, she's moved through many homes (often willingly). Now, age seventeen, she's put to the test of staying in one place for her senior year on Bainbridge Island in Seattle, and everything about life here is perfect... yet she's determined not to become attached. Longo has a way of writing that brings you niche, extraordinary facts one might not seek out themselves-- I learned a lot about John ...more
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Jennifer Longo’s WHAT I CARRY (Penguin Random House) publishes Januray 21, 2020. Her debut novel SIX FEET OVER IT ("SUPERB" - Kirkus, Starred) published 2014 by Penguin Random House, Edited by Chelsea Eberly and represented by Melissa Sarver at Folio Literary. Her second novel, UP TO THIS POINTE ("SAVVY...VIVIDLY CONVEYED" The Bulletin, Starred) published 2016, also courtesy of Penguin Random ...more
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