Leah isn’t your average kid. Well, sorta. See, she has a mom, a step-dad, and a little (half) brother. Pretty normal, right? What Leah doesn’t have is a Dad, of the biological variety. You see, her mom used a donor to have her. Donor 730, to be exact. While Leah has always been ok with this, it has made her the victim of ridicule in school when her classmates don’t understand her family dynamic. And sometimes she does feel like she isn’t really a part of her family at home. Due to a number of things going on in her (like moving to a new state, getting her period, making new friends, and struggling with her identity), she decides to seek out her donor siblings.
The problem is, Leah’s mom thinks that she already has all the family she needs.
My So-Called Family is an interesting look at a family that many kids may not consider in their daily lives. While sperm donors are fairly common, I don’t think many kids are aware that there are kids out there who have come from those donors. Leah’s journey in this books allows her and the reader to address many ideas of “family” that they might never consider otherwise.
Sheinmel captures the voice of an unsure 13-year old very well. Leah doesn’t know who she is yet, and convinces herself that finding her donor siblings will solve all her problems. But just as that is rarely the case in real life, she learns that there is a lot more to happiness than knowing your biological siblings.