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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  558 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Rosalind had two mommies. Now, thanks to a tragic accident involving foodstuffs, she has none. And Sean, the sperm donor responsible for half her DNA (and nothing else), is taking custody. Rosalind finds herself adjusting to a new life that seems both hateful and surreal–she’s an orphan with a new father, surrounded by friends she is beginning to despise and well-meaning a ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Villard (first published August 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  558 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Robert Warren
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
The set-up is tantalizing: 14 year old Rosalind's lesbian moms die in a freak accident. The moms have left no will so trainwreck Ros is taken in by her birth father/sperm donor/total stranger Sean. Sean's life is in a rut and he admits (eventually) that he has bitten off more than he can chew. But he can't bring himself to give Ros over to her moms' overwrought best friend Karen, who is not happy AT ALL.

How to tackle the swirling, unpredictable mess that is the grief of a teenage orphan AND the
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it

When I first read the summary of this book I was a bit hesitant to read it because it dealt with grief, and having recently lost my own mom I didn't think I could handle it. But I chose to take the dive hoping that I'd learn something to help me on my own journey.

I'm sorry to report that while reading this novel I didn't have any cathartic aha! moments. What I did feel was a sort of affinity or connectedness with Sean and Rosalind who both lost their mothers.

The story is primarily about Rosalin
Chloe Sanders
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-356-5-8-2012
Okay, so I had some weird looks from my roommates when they read the back of this book. But you know what? WHO CARES! Donorboy is about a 14 year girl who has both her LESBIAN (shocking! I know...) mothers killed in a car accident. She goes to live with her sperm donor father. The ensuing story is hilarious but also very touching. What I enjoyed while reading this was the format the story was told in. The entire book is told through corresponding emails / text messages / recorded conversation tr ...more
Michael Selden
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is written as a series of diary entries and emails, sent between various people, but mostly a teenage girl and her genetic donor father. Her real parents were a lesbian couple, both of whom were killed in a tragic automobile accident before the story begins. The couple registered the donor father—whom they knew well—as the godfather / parent and the man takes his responsibility very seriously.

The girl is trying to recover from the incredible loss she feels while also dealing with the f
Izzy Little
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The book “Donor Boy” gives a very good story about this girls life after her mothers die. The book explains her difficult school situations such as failing almost all her classes and getting into fights. She also has a hard time getting along with her real father in the beginning of the story. I imagine this is what some people might go through when they lose a parent or both parents. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read a heart filled story.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Adina by: Jules Vilmur
This book was recommended by someone who has yet to steer me wrong...Thanks again Jules! Content aside, the style makes it an ultimate commuter book. It can be consumed in 5 minute increments or for hours at a time. I have read a few of Brendan's works so far, but this is far and away my favorite. The characters are wonderful, the message beautiful... Read it... Read it today. ...more
Richie Partington
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
12 December 2004 DONORBOY by Brendan Halpin, Random House/Villard, August 2004, paperback, ISBN: 1-4000-6277-2

"They open and close you
Then they talk like they know you
They don't know you
They're friends and they're foes too
Trouble child
Breaking like the waves at Malibu."
--Joni Mitchell, "Trouble Child"

The teenage daughter:

"Okay, so here we go with my grief journal.
"Jesus, that's mad corny. 'My grief journal.'--What are you doing Ros? Oh, I'm just writing in my grief journal. Okay, grief journa
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
This book was actually really good. I've wanted to read this book since I saw a review of it in People and thought it sounded really interesting, despite it appearing to be just another book in that slew of pop-fiction. I finally bought it at the beginning of January, but because of school I've had to put off reading it. Finally, thanks to summer, I got to read it. And it didn't fail to please.

I haven't ever really read a book like this before, both in plot and style. I know we've all read a boo
Chris Sclafani
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Donorboy takes on the fairly common young adult topic matter regarding reorganized family structure in a unique way. One can't help but root for Sean as he takes on this surprise parenthood. Not only is he suddenly responsible for a teenage girl (which I am sure to find out the challenges of myself one day), but he takes on the monumental task of caring for this Rosalind immediately after the tragic and unexpected loss of both of her parents. This becomes a tale of trepidation on multiple level ...more
Jenn Estepp
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
quick, engaging and really quite lovely. i hate plot descriptions, so i will avoid one here, especially as it would make the book sound like the sort after-school special, issue-oriented reading that makes me want to either roll my eyes or hurl said book across a room. and that is so very misleading. everyone seems to think that epistolary/i.m./journal/text-based books are easy, but many, many of them are crap. this one isn't, and it actually made me sort of miss the world of long-winded emails, ...more
James Kennedy
Mar 03, 2015 rated it liked it
When a commercial writer ventures to produce a work, he/she must consider both the audience and the writer. Halpin offers a tried-and-true entertainment formula found in everything from classic literature to soap operas in order to intrigue the audience and keep them reading. The novelty of the novel comes from the presentation (e-mails, texts, etc.), a choice perhaps made to challenge the accomplished author with self-imposed limitations.

Therefore, Donorboy offers a dramatic story in a way that
Sandy D.
I thought this was going to be something stupid about organ donors, but I checked it out anyway because I loved Notes from the Blender (another YA book that Halpin co-authored). The title actually refers to a biological father - the sperm donor for a couple of lesbian mothers - who gets custody of the 14 y.o. main character when her moms are killed in a car accident.

I loved the characters and different points of view in Notes from the Blender, and the voices in this story - told through journal
Connie T.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
When both her mothers die (it was a gay relationship) Sean (the sperm donor) gains custody of Rosalind. As if being a teen isn't hard enough, try losing both your parents and going to live with a complete stranger. Likewise, Sean doesn't have it any easier. He's still greiving over the loss of his own mother and has absolutely no parenting skills. Told entirely through e-mail, instant messaging, journal entries, and other random communications, Donorboy is a heart-felt story that explores the me ...more
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
By Brendan Halpin
209 Pages

Donorboy is a story about a girl named Rosalind who tragically looses her moms as she’s entering highschool and a guy named Sean (AKA Donorboy) feels like he needs to take in the daughter he’s never really met to make it seem like his life has meaning. Over the course of six months and entirely through emails, journal entries, texts, etc, Brendan Halpin illustrates the bumpy road ahead. The book was pretty good and despite the death, there’s handfuls of humor th
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
LOTS of language! Especially at first. Initially, it kind of rattled me, but the story was good, so I ignored it. Yes, I laughed, and yes, I cried. It seemed like I was more touched by Sean's emotions than I was by Rosalind's, but perhaps that is because I identify more with parenting than with being parented. Interesting how the unusual format worked fine for me. ...more
Rosemary Dreyer
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
3 3/4 Stars: This is a rambling novel with numerous writing styles and approaches. It is about grief, pain, and loss. How can one heal and continue living when so much has gone wrong? Great book with lots to ponder.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xown, goodreads
I can't believe I enjoyed a book written mostly as emails and a journal. But it's that good. And funny. ...more
Holland Bakowsky
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imagine a life where both your parents are dead, everybody around you is trying to help in the way you do not need, and your new caretaker knows nothing about you and is forcing their problems onto you. That is the life of 14 year old Rosalind in the comedic tragedy “Donorboy,” by Brendan Halpin. There is not much information about the setting; we know that it is in modern times and most events take place in Sean’s, (her biological father and new caretaker), apartment, her high school, and part ...more
Maximilian Matthes
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The World Turned Upside Down
Like all teenagers, Rosalind Butterfield lived an average life in Boston with friends and two mothers—until a car accident kills her two moms and turns Rosalind’s whole world upside down. Sean Cassidy, an inexperienced father and young lawyer, takes custody of Rosalind. But despite the issues at home, Rosalind’s grades begin to slip as she becomes badly influenced by a friend at school. Because of this, Sean finds himself defending Rosalind at an expulsion hearing af
John Klein-Collins
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I didn't think I was going to like this book because I'm not a fan of multiple format fiction (letters, emails, journal entries, text messages, etc.). After a sluggish start (mine, not the book's), I really began to enjoy Rosalind and Sean, brought together after her moms are killed in a car accident. Rosalind's moms, for reasons that are not clearly explained, place Sean's name on the birth certificate. Sean, a single public policy lawyer, acted as the sperm donor 15 years earlier, and he does ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting tale told through an unusual, but effective, method. After Ros loses both of her mothers in a freak traffic accident, the man identified as her father on her birth certificate—the donor, Sean—appears in her life to take on the role of parent. The story of their adjustment to their new life is told through grief journal entries (by Ros), emails (by Sean), and text messages (by various characters).

Ros’s emotions are raw and painful. She is dealing with grief over the deaths
Tara Noelle
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a book I bought years ago, and once again just never got around to picking up and reading. It's about 14 year old Rosalind whose moms die in an accident, and she is taken in by the now 35 year old man who was the sperm donor. This book was really unique in the sense that it's told entirely though email, journal entries and IMs (remember those???) It came out in 2004 so it's slightly dated in the technology sense, but Halpin really grasped the language a 14 year old would use and expresse ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Dishman
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Rosalind goes and lives with her father Sean (sperm donor) after her moms are killed in a freak car accident involving turduckens.

I enjoyed the emails that Sean wrote back and forth between numerous people about his and Rosalind's progress. I totally got his "references" and thought they were hilarious. Rosalind on the other hand annoyed me. I get that she lost her parents and is grieving but that dont give her the right to act like a self absorbed wench. I wanted to backhand on her on more tha
Monica Tolva
Rosalind had two mommies. Now, thanks to a tragic accident involving foodstuff, she has none. And Sean, the sperm donor responsible for half of her DNA (and nothing else is taking custody.) Rosalind finds herself adjusting to a new life that seems both hateful and surreal. She’s an orphan with a new father, surrounded by friends she’s starting to despise and well-meaning adults who succeed only in annoying her.

Read p. 7: “Dear My First Grief Journal…”

Told entirely in journal entries, emails, IMs
Carolyn Strong
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but I'm not the target audience

Somehow I picked up this book and found myself flying through the pages to almost halfway before I needed a break. It's mostly written from the perspective of a 14 year old girl who's just lost her moms (yes both) and is now with the biological father. I found it intriguing and realistic.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought there was something very novel about the premise of the book. It's a little more common now to have same-sex parents, but back when I first got my hands on this book it was one of the things that piqued my interest. And I went through this rabbit-hole of emotions from genuine laughter and surprise to heartfelt tears. This book was one of the defining books of my teenage years. ...more
Derek May
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love the way it told story through emails and journals and recordings. A sad but funny book. Unappreciated if you ask me. Girl loses her parents so she goes to live with the sperm donor who brought her life. She adjusts slowly in this darkly comic novel. It's short but sweet. ...more
Kania Purnomo
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I like the way the story is told in many ways. Shows how the situation is like. A good ending.
Susan Bowman
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent read-
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I grew up in Cincinnati, went to college in Philadelphia, and also lived in Taipei and Edinburgh along the way. I've lived in Boston since 1991.

I became a professional writer in 2000, writing about my late wife Kirsten's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kirsten died in 2003, leaving me and our daughter Rowen. I married Suzanne in 2005 and got her kids Casey and Kylie in the deal too. Bargain

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