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Twice a Daughter, A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Julie is adopted. She is also a twin. Because their adoption was closed, she and her sister lack both a health history and their adoption papers―which becomes an issue for Julie when, at forty-eight years old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues.

To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie first needs the support of her sister. The twins talk thin
Paperback, 282 pages
Published May 11th 2021 by She Writes Press
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May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
When Julie Ryan McGue, a mother of four children, faced serious health issues that could include a cancer diagnosis, she had to agree with her husband Steve that obtaining her full medical history was necessary. In 1959, Julie and her identical twin sister Jenny had been adopted through Catholic Charities, and were grateful for the policy that required twins remain together, they were raised in a loving home. However, the twin’s adoption was “closed”. The privacy of their birth parents was legal ...more
Lisa of Troy
May 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A true story where Julie, after enduring a health scare, starts to search for her birth mom and birth father. The reader follows Julie's journey as she fights to uncover her truth. Will she find her birth mom and dad? Will they meet her with open arms? Will she find them before it's too late?

Julie Ryan McGue's debut novel, the plot of this book was very intriguing - it had child abandonment issues, obstacles, set-backs, a health crisis, a debate over a right to privacy versus a right to know. Th
Julie Haigh
An amazing memoir.

I actually first heard about this book from another Netgalley member. She posted in a memoirs group that she was reading an ARC, and it sounded like my sort of book. I grabbed it from Netgalley, started it, and found it impossible to put down. It was a really interesting and unpredictable read.

This is a combination of medical, and adoption memoir. It starts out where the author has had some tests, and it seemed not all was well. She'd had other medical issues in the past few y
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 21, netgalley
Wow, what a breathtaking - heart wrenching read. Julie we see has medical issues. Yet she can’t fully let the doctors know what her family health problems are. She’s adoptive, that leads her on a long journey to find her biological parents. Lead after lead gets her no where. Until finally she gets a tip that has her making leeway. Will all her and her twins hard work pay off.
Kristin (Always With a Book)
Thank you BooksForwardPR for the gifted copy.

Nonfiction is a genre I don't read a lot of but I find that memoirs helps to bridge that gap. Being able to get an inside glimpse into someone's life and get a new perspective is always so eye-opening and while I might think I don't have anything in common with the author, I always end up finding something that resonates with me.

As soon as I saw this book by Julie Ryan McGue I just knew I wanted to read it. While the adoption story was intriguing, it
Story Circle Book Reviews
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
“When I enter the kitchen the large table is set for four and I find my seat at one end and another worry enters my mind: I hope I haven’t waited too long.” In 2008 Julie Ryan McGue had a health scare. Wanting to have a more accurate picture of her medical history since she was adopted, she, along with her twin sister Jenny, embarked on a quest to find their biological parents. She meticulously records the odyssey in Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging.

I read McGue’s b
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Twice a Daughter follows the story of pair of identical twins, Julie and Jenny, adopted at birth together by the same couple, who begin the search for their birth parents at mid-life in an attempt to fill in the blanks surrounding their genetic medical history.

This true-life drama was absorbing, and I was interested in the challenges Julie and Jenny faced due to the ongoing conflict between the right to know their birth details, and the rights of others involved to privacy, and how these factor
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption
Thank you to NetGalley for a free ARC of this book!

The author, an adult adoptee, does a very good job of telling a very complicated story. There is emotion at every turn.

The subject of adoption, search, reunion, and acceptance or rejection is extremely difficult for the non-adopted public to understand. That is the only reason I rated this gripping narrative four stars. I came away with the feeling that some aspects of search and reunion were not explained in enough detail for the general public
Stew Brase
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Congratulations to Julie for writing a page turning heart felt life story! She captures the emotional roller coaster her journey took her! This is a wonderful story of family, resiliency, faith and kindness! The ending is Hollywood like! Enjoy reading a story where good things happened to good people!!
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-read, biography
Given up for adoption as babies this leaves twins Julie and Jenny with some questions, so begins a mystery begging to be solved aka who are the birth parents? Why did they give up their twins? Are there other siblings out there in the world? Did they stay together?

All of these questions are begging to be answered in this book, knowing this was a real search for truth and identity kept me reading through the night for answers. Every roadblock the author hit I felt deep in my gut!

The writing sucke
Peg Conway
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An engrossing, eye-opening account. Having lost my mom young and later being adopted by my stepmother, I related to the author's longing and curiosity, as well as her frustration and anger at points. Her story sheds much needed light on the bureaucratic and emotional hurdles that adoptees face in trying to uncover their identity. As in the case of this author, there can be real ramifications for health, not knowing facts of medical history, in addition to profound emotional impact. Decisions mad ...more
Arianna  Mclaughlin (arianna.reads)
Thank you to BooksForward PR and Netgally for my gifted copy.

Memoirs are my favourite type of nonfiction. Twice a Daughter is Julie's story as she searches for her birth parents after experiencing a medical scare. This is not an easy process and comes with many highs and lows and emotional challenges for herself, her twin sister and family.

It's an intriguing story, especially the discussion of the adoption laws regarding the right to know their birth details versus the rights of privacy for the
Reading Our Shelves
May 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: angie-s-shelf
Full review at:

When the story begins, Julie is actually resistant to the idea of trying to find her birth parents. She is largely afraid of rocking the boat with the parents who raised her. Her husband, Steve, pushes her into starting this journey, though – for her own health, and that of their four children.

She gets her twin sister to agree to split the costs with her, but Julie is going to be the person doing the work. Her dad is supportive from the beg
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Adoption has been an important part of my family in several ways, including my husband and I adopting one of our sons. Although adoption stories are highly individual and there is no formula for determining outcomes or human reactions, I thought this was an engaging story of the multi-year search conducted by the author and her twin for their birth parents. The author's health issues, possible breast and uterine cancer, prompted her search for health reasons, as she felt she could make better de ...more
Judith Rabinor
May 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was given an ARC of this book and it sat on my night table until one night recently and then, wham- i read the book in 2 days. what a treat! Im a psychologist and although I have heard a lot of stories about adoption, Julie's story touched me deeply-- -- her themes of abandonment and betrayal criss cross my own life and the lives of so many of my patients. Julie's strength and determination despite having two mothers who were unsupportive was inspiring. Julie writes with clarity, conviction an ...more
Beth M
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating account of an adopted woman's search for her biological family. It began in response to the author's need for family medical history to help guide treatment for her health issues. The ensuing 5 years of detective work, through a variety of agencies, are full of stumbling blocks and disappointments, joyful discoveries, and a new sense of family connections. ...more
Karyn Shirbroun
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book struck a nerve. Even though I consider myself a seasoned searcher, having found my birth mother over twenty years ago before DNA testing and internet, I was riveted as I rode along on Julie's journey. The last piece of my personal search puzzle was to reach out to a half-brother that I had found, but had not contacted. There exists a tug of war between "right to privacy" for birth parents and "right to know" for adoptees that Julie masterfully explores in the book. I'd been hiding behi ...more
Penny lurkykitty
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Twice a Daughter is a well-written and fascinating memoir about Julie McGue's search for her birth parents. She and her twin, Jenny, were adopted through a closed adoption in the 1950s, a time when social mores were very different. Julie's initial incentive to search for her birth parents was to find out her family health history. As she embarked on the long and difficult process, she became interested in meeting and learning more about her biological family. Finding her biological families take ...more
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have always been drawn to memoirs, but I don't ever remember one that kept me turning the pages like Twice a Daughter did. The author's search for her birth parents almost read like a detective novel as I followed the emotional ups and downs and twists and turns. It was also interesting to learn a bit of the history of adoption practices. Thanks to NetGalley, She Writes Press and the author for an advance copy to read and review. ...more
Dallas Shattuck
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
When Julie and her twin sister were infants, they were adopted. Decades later, in the wake of severe health concerns, Julie begins the journey of finding her birth parents in order to get medical history. I really admire her determination and perseverance. The process was not easy, but she never gave up.

This story had so many layers. Julie had to find her biological family members, have hard conversations with her adoptive parents, and deal with rejection and hesitation once finding some of her
Julie McGue is adopted. And she is also a twin, but because her and her sister's adoption was closed there were many hurdles to overcome. She and her sister lack both a health history and the names of their birth parents — which becomes pertinent for Julie when, at 48 years old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues.

McGue’s poignant and hopeful debut memoir chronicles the complex search for her uncharted family history. The search for her birth relatives spans five years and inv
Dan Hogberg
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Twice a Daughter" provides insight into Julie McGue's unique search for her birth parents and family. It's a very personal memoir that follows the author's dream of knowing her true origins and her determination to see it realized.

The story portrays a timeline of memories and a roller coaster of feelings throughout the search: longing, frustration, joy, fear, love, anger, surprise, disappointment, delight, grace and growth. And the end of the saga (or is it really the beginning of the next lif
Kelly Long
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Adoption stories always fascinate me and I loved this book. This book is very well written. And the author's story sends readers on rollercoaster of emotions. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in closed adoption and those who are adopted or adoptees.
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Julie McGue's "Twice a Daughter" was the best memoir I've read in a long time. Each chapter was masterfully crafted to leave the reader absorbed in the story and anxious to turn the page. I thought the writing was delicious, the story, both heartbreaking and thrilling and in the end, unbelievably satisfying. For this book, five stars in every way! ...more
Elaine Boyer
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A medical condition leads the author thru the struggles of a closed adoption in the 1950s. McGue takes us on her journey of discovery, depicting challenging relationships with her new found “family”.
Written from the heart with honesty, you will find this emotional roller coaster a must read!
Mar 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I found this memoir compelling and was very moved by Julie and Jenny's search for their birth family. I shared in both the high and low points of their search. I am overjoyed that their search resulted in such in the forging of such a strong bond with their biological family. ...more
Melissa MacMaster
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was well written and I had such a hard time putting t down. Julie tells of how she and her twin sister look to discovering more about themselves and finding their birth parents. They jump through hurdles and overcome but also grow stronger through the process. I would recommend this book to those who may need a little guidance or a good read. This book made me feel so many emotions. No two situations are the same but this shows how life can be changing for all, how we are shaped by our ...more
Jacklynn Jones
Jun 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was such an excellent read! I happened to walk into a bookstore and the author was signing books. I asked about it and was so happy to hear that this was a story from the perspective of someone who was adopted. My husband and I are in the process for adoption and wanted to see from this perspective. She is very real and open about her experience with looking for their birth parents while also able to write so beautifully with great descriptions so I feel like I can see things through her ey ...more
Leslie Morgan
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads
Man, what an incredible story. Adopted just after birth, Julie decides to spend time in her late 40s and early 50s looking for her birth parents. Just an amazing story. I was brought to tears several times.
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
rated it really liked it
May 07, 2021
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