Akin by Emma Donoghue
Children have the power to both push us to our limits and to transform everything. Noah Selvaggio, a childless retired chemistry professor, is preparing to take a trip to France to celebrate his 80th birthday when he is contacted by a social worker. He is asked to make a temporary home for Michael Young, his eleven year old great nephew, whom he has never met. Reluctantly, Noah agrees, and together, Michael, a sullen, foulmouthed teen, and Noah, a fastidious retired professor, take a journey to France to investigate mysterious family photos. In journeying to the past, the two discover a way forward to the future.
Donoghue’s realistic portrait of Michael includes enough rudeness and defiance to make the pair’s progress toward détente bumpy and believable. The story of Noah’s mother turns out to be more complicated and even sadder than he had feared, leading to a beautiful meditation on how we preserve the past as we prepare for the future. Noah and Michael, humanly flawed and all the more likable for that, deserve their happy ending. Not as ambitious or challenging as Donoghue in absolute top form (say, Room), but readable, well crafted, and absorbing. – Kirkus, 2019
Read more about this book and reviews on the author’s website.