Hot Best Seller

What I Carry

Availability: Ready to download

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? 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? Nope! There's no room for any additional baggage. Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she's free. One year to avoid anything--or anyone--that could get in her way. Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean. And everything changes.


Compare

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? 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? Nope! There's no room for any additional baggage. Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she's free. One year to avoid anything--or anyone--that could get in her way. Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean. And everything changes.

30 review for What I Carry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Book

    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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    I have to thank Sam @weliveandbreathebooks https://www.weliveandbreathebooks.com/ for that read. I swear I won’t visit her site anymore as she makes me but so many books! This one has such a gorgeous cover that I even bought the physical copy!   Once again, Sam was spot on!   This story is very emotional but in a smart way. The author never overdid anything no, the emotions come from Muir’s story self, all that she’s been going through as a kid. Muir or Muiriel is a foster kid from her birth. She’s n I have to thank Sam @weliveandbreathebooks https://www.weliveandbreathebooks.com/ for that read. I swear I won’t visit her site anymore as she makes me but so many books! This one has such a gorgeous cover that I even bought the physical copy!   Once again, Sam was spot on!   This story is very emotional but in a smart way. The author never overdid anything no, the emotions come from Muir’s story self, all that she’s been going through as a kid. Muir or Muiriel is a foster kid from her birth. She’s never known her mom and in her seventeen, nearly eighteen’s years of foster she’s been in twenty houses. Twenty! Can you imagine? That’s why the story’s opening is on her packing light. She’s been so used to move that she does not want to carry anything unnecessary or …nearly. Nearly, because she is carrying some small treasures collected throughout her whole life in a pillow case. Going through this cheap loot, we’ll go back to some memories, some instants of her life that made her who she is now and will explain why Muir is so adamant in being self-sufficient. She’s been abandoned or rejected so many times that the only constant in her life, her social worker Joellen aside, is her. ““It’s a lucky thing none of them got their hands on you,” Joellen said. “You’re too good for them. This is your medal for bravery and patience. You will always have me, and I know your true family is out there, still,” she said. “They’re waiting for you.” She didn’t know that by then I had long since found mine; I was my own true family. I could never leave. I would always take care of myself. I was all I ever needed. I knew I could never be alone, because I was enough.” That quote really embodies who Muir became.   If you had been let down so many times, your hopes shattered again and again, would you still want to form bonds? Would you still want to find a family and risk being rejected again? Because you were wounded? Because you were not enough? I don’t think so. Better to anticipate and expect for the worse. Don’t rely on anyone else because when foster kids age out of the system, they are left completely alone. In one instant, they don’t have any support anymore.   I loved that Muir was named after John Muir, a Scottish naturalist and really after all the US national parks. She identified completely with that naturalist and when she landed on a small island, across the Pudget Sound, she’ll find a job at Salishwood Environmental Education Center. This was truly Muir’s place. Among the trees, in the wilderness and teaching the small kids she so loved. I learned tons of things about John Muir and this reminded me of my visit in Yosemite National Park.   This new beginning for Muir will be a pivotal moment in her life. Determined not to have friends, she’ll let fierce Kira barrel in her life to have the best friendship ever. The one that made Muir fight for someone else rather than fade in the backdrop. And when cute Sean, passionate with nature and son of two rangers showed a deep interest in Muir’s life, how could she keep her distance and be true to her “be on my own” motto? Sean was just the perfect YA hero. Cute, polite, smart, respectful. He knew his own mind and was never deterred by Muir’s seemingly cold shoulder. Add to the mix her new, nearly retired foster mother Francine and you have a trio of people who will root for Muir and show her that no, not everyone is leaving, even if you make a mistake. You don’t have to be perfect all the time for people to love you.   This story was filled with emotions. With friendship. With love. With angst too. And it truly read itself. I didn’t want to put it down. Thank you Sam for recommending this story as I know that I’ll be looking for Jennifer Longo’s other books!   Do you think you have similar books to recommend? Thanks for reading!   Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  4. 4 out of 5

    ash ♡

    ASDFGHJKL I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! it was a big bundle of Feelings™️, PowerfulRelationships™️, and! Character!Growth!™️ which i absolutely adored. pls just do me a favor and read it. 🥺 things i loooooved: -the main character, Muir, had a really awesome personality and her backstory was SO well written!! she didn't make awful decisions or anything like that, she was down to earth and honestly really relatable -the backstory was included in flashbacks throughout the novel by explaining th ASDFGHJKL I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! it was a big bundle of Feelings™️, PowerfulRelationships™️, and! Character!Growth!™️ which i absolutely adored. pls just do me a favor and read it. 🥺 things i loooooved: -the main character, Muir, had a really awesome personality and her backstory was SO well written!! she didn't make awful decisions or anything like that, she was down to earth and honestly really relatable -the backstory was included in flashbacks throughout the novel by explaining the different things inside Muir's suitcase, and I LOVED THAT CONCEPT!!! -CHARACTER GROWTH: Muir's character arc was awesome and, as a writer, i could tell that her misbelief, fear, desire, etc. were written so well!! -FRIENDSHIPSSS: Kira is SO AMAZING. OH MY GOD. i loved her and Muir's friendship with her was so precious! -the romance was actually adorable *heart eyes* -the amazing themes tackled dealt with belonging, family, bullying, friendship and so much more!! things i didn't like: -NOTHING -honestly -just GO READ IT NOW!! overall, i really loved this book and would recommend it to practically anyone!! ★★★★★ 5 STARS

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    One more year. Muir just had to keep her head down for one more year, and then, freedom. What Muir wasn't planning on was being placed with Francine, or meeting Kira, or finding Sean. Attachments were never part of the plan, and now she must decide what her next steps will be. Seriously! My heart just kept exploding, over and over, as I read this beautiful book. And, then when I read Longo's note at the end of the book, I was a hot mess of happy tears. I believe you should just read this book so One more year. Muir just had to keep her head down for one more year, and then, freedom. What Muir wasn't planning on was being placed with Francine, or meeting Kira, or finding Sean. Attachments were never part of the plan, and now she must decide what her next steps will be. Seriously! My heart just kept exploding, over and over, as I read this beautiful book. And, then when I read Longo's note at the end of the book, I was a hot mess of happy tears. I believe you should just read this book so you can feel all the feels, but I am going to share some other reasons why I loved it so much. 1. John Muir - You may have noticed the interesting spelling of Muiriel's name. The spelling is a nod to the naturalist, John Muir. Muiriel was very dedicated to John Muir's teachings, and cited him often when explaining her own beliefs and lifestyle choices. I loved the way Longo wove Muir into this story. It was fascinating and enlightening. 2. Environmental Ethics - One of the things that Sean and Muiriel bonded over was their shared love of the environment. However, they had different idols, with very different philosophies. I enjoyed the arguments they got into, and loved how they challenged the established record and ideas of each naturalist. Between their discussions and getting to spend time at the wilderness camp, I learned a lot of new things. 3. The Foster Care System - Longo is personally acquainted with the foster care system having served as a foster parent, and included a lot of information about the system in this story. It was also easy to see, that she considered being a foster parent a special privilege, and it shows in this story. Her thoughts come through in the most wonderful ways via Francine, Muir's foster mother, while we learn a lot of the stigmas associated with being a foster child from Muir. 4. Found Family - I am trash for found family, and Muir lucked into a stupendous bunch of people. I already mentioned how Sean and Muir was tailor-made for each other, and how Francine was simply one of the best people ever! Then, there was Kira, who would become Muir's "person". I loved them all so much, and wait until you learn how Kira and Francine are linked. It's top-notch hankie sort of stuff. I found myself rooting for these three to break Muir, because I wanted her hard shell to crack. I wanted her to let people love her, to let people in, and I believed these were the right people for her. 5. Terry Johnson - Terry Johnson was Francine's dog, and I fell in love with him. First of all, he was always address by his full name, which never failed to make me smile. He also was a great source of joy for so many, especially Muir, and obviously, I fell in love with him too. 6. The Things She Carried - Muir had a bag of items she ferried from placement to placement. Many of the items were small, and represented significant memories. Throughout the story, Muir digs these items out of the bag, and flashes back on the memory it holds. These were very telling moments, and many cracked my heart in half. I thought it was a fantastic way to help me, the reader, connect with and understand Muir on a deeper level. This was one of those books, which I feel I cannot fully explain my love for. All I know is that it made me so, so happy, and filled me with all sorts of joy. It was a such a beautiful story, and I just want everyone to experience it. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    This was a very interesting book about a girl who has been in foster care her entire life. Abandoned at birth at the John Muir Hospital, she has to struggle her whole life to fit in and to be accepted. Muiriel, known as Muir, goes to her last foster home since she is almost 18 and at that point she will age out of the program. Her last home is on an island and she makes friends, gets a job, has a pet, and has a very loving foster mother.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Fischer

    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 wi 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 without being over-the-top, brave, honest, and filled with three-dimensional characters and gorgeous prose. I hope tons of readers take the opportunity to fall in love with this novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Willson

    this book is honestly really beautiful. it's toast, friendships, brokenness, healing, nature, forests, strength, rawness, bats, and it's really... a journey? the characters were deep and interesting and compelling and i am Living for Muir and Kira's friendship and Francine is such a queen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Loved it! It had the potential to be unrealistic because finding a safe place to live just a year before aging out of the foster care system seems difficult but it was beautifully written and drew you in. One of the better YA books I've read so far in 2020.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)

    I received an ARC as a gift. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. What I Carry was a brilliant, fantastic read! I am so happy and thankful my #otspsecretsister gifted it to me! Before receiving it in one of my boxes, I wasn't aware this book even existed, which is a tragedy, since it was absolutely perfect for me. I'm a fan of John Muir and his accomplishments, so all the snippets and quotes from his life and I received an ARC as a gift. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. What I Carry was a brilliant, fantastic read! I am so happy and thankful my #otspsecretsister gifted it to me! Before receiving it in one of my boxes, I wasn't aware this book even existed, which is a tragedy, since it was absolutely perfect for me. I'm a fan of John Muir and his accomplishments, so all the snippets and quotes from his life and his works were an added bonus. They were gems that weren't hidden, but there for the entire world to find and enjoy. Muir and Muiriel made this story what it is, and the belief that you should do what you can to help those who can't help themselves. In Muir's case, trees (and nature in general) are defenseless and should be preserved. Muiriel was preparing herself to age out of the system, so she tried not to get attached to other people or places. She stopped caring about being adopted, but she still looked after the other foster kids that she shared homes with. Muiriel didn't keep in touch afterwards (with the exception of Zola), but she did what she could while she was there. Adults have the power to really screw with a child's perception of the world and themselves, and some automatically assume foster kids are "trouble" or that they did something to get placed in foster care. A child does nothing to end up in foster care. The fact that they're there is partly due to a flawed system, and the blame should be solely placed on the adults in their lives. Adults have failed them in one way or another (either by family members and/or the government), and they shouldn't be blamed for being upset about it their circumstances. They have every right to feel angry, hurt, and betrayed.There's nothing wrong with them, they just don't have a cookie cutter family. Jennifer Longo said she wrote this book because her daughter asked her to. Her daughter said she wanted a story that was realistic based on her experiences, and that not everyone was molested or abused in foster care. Sometimes, it just sucks. I think the author's personal experiences mixed with her daughter's really made this book something uniquely original. Muiriel's story will be something others can relate to, while also being informational for those with no experience with the subject matter. I really loved the secondary characters! Francine, Joellen, Kira, Zola, Sean - - it was an amazing group of people that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. The author manages to squeeze in other important topics throughout the book, and I never felt like she was beating me over the head with the information. Everything flowed from one thing to the next, and I took my time getting to the end. There's a subtle romance in the book between Sean and Muiriel, but the book focuses on Muiriel and how her experiences in foster care have shaped who she is today. She doesn't want to let herself love or care too deeply, because she's afraid of what that would mean for her future. The plan has always been to get out and make it on her own. Somehow. However, she can't keep herself from caring about the new people in her life that seem to need her just as much as she needs them. Natan was despicable. Tiana and Katrina were incredibly frustrating. Racist white people and just dumb adults in general made me want to throw things - - but this was all intentional. The author paints a realistic picture of what it's like growing up in foster care, and how broken the system can be. There are good people, like Joellen and Francine, that do what they can to make it better, but there are so many kids... it's impossible to make sure they all end up in a nice home with nice people. When I finally caught on to why the book was titled the way it was, it added an entirely new layer to my experience with this story. It was well-written, exceptionally realistic, and beautifully rendered. I could honestly go on and on about how much I loved this book and its characters, and I could probably keep typing about how well the author addressed certain issues, but I'll leave it at this: What I Carry was an amazing, thought-provoking read that I plan on reading again and again. There's something for everyone! Great characters, friendships, a subtle romance with a genuinely good guy, awesome parents and adults, and people fighting for what they believe in. You have characters overcoming obstacles and learning about themselves, school bullies and judgmental educators. It was practically perfect in every way. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Amazon | Pinterest

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    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 sa 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 saying things like 'a white woman,' which would be fine if 99% of the characters weren't white. The only POCs are Kira (Japanese), Zola (black), and maybe Elliot (who is described as white-ish). So few non-white characters made it painfully obvious how incredibly white everybody else was. Muir was named after and became obsessed with John Muir. She really just seemed as pretentious and kind of holier-than-thou because she is so into preservation, not conservation. Thankfully, all talk about that died off in the second half of the book. Francine, Kira, and Sean were all amazing friends to Muir and their support was great to read about. Something happened with Katiana in December. The book spans another six months, and they are never mentioned again. I really wanted to love this, but overall it was just fine for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kaila

    "No kid is in foster care because of something they did. That's not how it works. And adults are solely responsible for the sorry state foster care is in. Until everyone understands and admits this, nothing will ever change." The stigma of being a kid in foster care. Misconceptions that adoption, that having adults who genuinely care for you, is a "privilege" instead of an entitlement for children. Unjust criminalization of children in foster care. Inherent racism and small-minded people. This bo "No kid is in foster care because of something they did. That's not how it works. And adults are solely responsible for the sorry state foster care is in. Until everyone understands and admits this, nothing will ever change." The stigma of being a kid in foster care. Misconceptions that adoption, that having adults who genuinely care for you, is a "privilege" instead of an entitlement for children. Unjust criminalization of children in foster care. Inherent racism and small-minded people. This book covers it all, and despite the happy ending, my heart breaks even further for the children still enduring foster care after reading this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    I’m crying right now, review later. Ok, now that I'm calm enough to circle back, here we go. "What I Carry" tells the story of Muiriel, so named for the John Muir Medical Center the nurses found her abandoned outside of as a baby. Now 17 and rapidly approaching her departure from the foster care system, Muir is getting a little panicked. For as long as she can remember, she's been preparing to strike out on her own. Every move has been carefully orchestrated to NOT rock the boat. Pack light, don' I’m crying right now, review later. Ok, now that I'm calm enough to circle back, here we go. "What I Carry" tells the story of Muiriel, so named for the John Muir Medical Center the nurses found her abandoned outside of as a baby. Now 17 and rapidly approaching her departure from the foster care system, Muir is getting a little panicked. For as long as she can remember, she's been preparing to strike out on her own. Every move has been carefully orchestrated to NOT rock the boat. Pack light, don't get too close, always be on time, blend in. She holds to these rules with an iron fist, unbending through more than a decade of foster homes, new schools, and temporary siblings. Except...she has one last placement before she turns 18. Muir finds herself the final foster of Francine, an older woman living on an island in the Puget Sound. And slowly, Muir's iron fist seems to be relinquishing its grip on the rules she's lived by all her life. I was completely enveloped by this story, in no small part due to the perfect pacing. While Muir's life on the island takes shape we are also given glimpses into her past, presented in short and powerful memories of previous experiences that translate poetically to the young woman she is (still) becoming. I found her to be a very admirable character, though not without flaws. I was so invested in this character's happiness, and that just brings me joy. There was also some romance (um, he's amazing), although it was not the main plot line. This book has some great character development, lovely writing, authentic dialogue, and a fantastic setting. Maybe it wasn't the most ground breaking or surprising novel I've ever read, but I've never read anything just like it, and I loved every minute of it. I would also like to say that I really appreciated the author's note. It was clear to me from the reading (and absolute crystal after reading the note) that this novel was written with careful and compassionate research. And now I'm crying again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I don't actually know how many kids who have spent their whole lives in foster care get their "happy ending" when they are about to age out--but I don't care. This book made me really happy, and it made me ugly cry, and I loved it, and loved Muir. I really liked the storytelling device of the little things she picks up and carries with her on the way. Sweet story!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sanjna Puri

    *4.75 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Minter

    This one started out pretty strong but the more I read, the more I found that I didn't like. I was really intrigued by the character's perspective as a child in the foster system who is about to age out. Her unique point of view seemed promising and I was ready to learn about her experience. First, Natan's character felt more like a caricature. He was ridiculous and not even remotely realistic. It would have been different if he was there for comedic purposes but that was not the case. Then came This one started out pretty strong but the more I read, the more I found that I didn't like. I was really intrigued by the character's perspective as a child in the foster system who is about to age out. Her unique point of view seemed promising and I was ready to learn about her experience. First, Natan's character felt more like a caricature. He was ridiculous and not even remotely realistic. It would have been different if he was there for comedic purposes but that was not the case. Then came all of the political opinions of the author, not so subtly incorporated into the teen character's thoughts and dialogue. It may have worked if it had felt more genuine but it often felt preachy and opportunistic. I didn't expect to come across phrases like "Classic White Person Line" (yes, capitalized) or that a lady is being "peak white" at someone's expense. If the story calls for pointing out bias and/or racism, that is one thing, but when it feels like characters were created solely to play out certain stereotypes, it comes across as transparent and lazy. Give the characters some kind of dimension, not just one note idiots who are there to say stupid things. My last, and biggest issue, is a personal one. If the author is an atheist, fine, but don't inject your own bias and unintelligent commentary about Jesus. To say a song is about Jesus and "his insatiable need for gifts" is not just offensive, it is a gross mischaracterization.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    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! Cons - 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 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! Cons - 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 to leave situations or homes that were decent places. At various points throughout the book, she would describe to the reader some of the items in her suitcase and the stories behind them, so we got only glimpses of what her childhood was like. By the time we meet her, at 17, she has almost completely closed herself off from any type of relationship, believing that there is no one she can rely on but herself. It was kind of frustrating, and also heart-breaking. - The characters are a little too perfect. It was almost too big of a coincidence that in her last placement before aging out, Muir lives with the perfect foster mom, meets the ideal boyfriend, and gains a best friend, all within days of moving in. She never really had anyone before, besides her social worker, and suddenly she has all these people - in addition to also finding the perfect job at a wilderness camp. - There's not much drama. In a book about a girl who is about to be thrown into the adult world all alone, there is surprisingly little conflict. Muir's best friend, Kira, has some tough stuff in her background and is bullied at school, but "bad" things are solved so quickly it's almost like they didn't happen. Pros - As much as I was frustrated by Muir at times, I also had to admire her. She's so independent and down-to-earth; she gets good grades and is polite to pretty much everyone she meets. I admired the decisions she made, even as a young child, to be a good person and not create unnecessary drama or conflict for herself, knowing how difficult her life already was. - Even though I mentioned above that it was a con that there wasn't much drama, this really was a feel-good book that had me rooting for Muir to accept the love and help that Francine, Sean, and Kira were trying to give her. - The author's adopted daughter was born into foster care and was in a few placements before coming to the author, so the story was written for her. I feel like I learned a lot about the foster care system, and it was nice to see the "good" side of the system, since mainly you only hear about the horror stories. 3.5 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    Definitely another great and important book that I think everyone should read! Foster care is a tough situation many people don't really want to talk about or deal with, because of all the horrible things that are known to occur then. But the one thing that always seems to get lost in the media biz and portrayal: it is absolutely NOT the children's fault. Nothing they did put them into foster care; that's on the parents and the adults of the world. This book really puts into light just what it me Definitely another great and important book that I think everyone should read! Foster care is a tough situation many people don't really want to talk about or deal with, because of all the horrible things that are known to occur then. But the one thing that always seems to get lost in the media biz and portrayal: it is absolutely NOT the children's fault. Nothing they did put them into foster care; that's on the parents and the adults of the world. This book really puts into light just what it means to have to grow up in foster care, and how the world likes to unfairly judge foster kids. It's about how the language we use when talking about foster kids and adoption is problematic, because it depicts underlying assumptions that all foster kids are, or will inevitably, turn "bad" or that it's "their fault" they're in the situation with absurd claims of it coming from their genetics. It's not okay to criminalize foster kids, because, in the end, it's the foster system that has the heaviest hand in turning them out that way. The book itself follows Muir, a girl who has been in foster care since birth and is a year away from turning 18 and thus "aging out" of the system. She's had a perfect record: good grades, no behaviour problems, always on time and helpful around her foster parents' homes. But every time she gets too comfortable in a foster house, every time she starts finding that she enjoys it there, she leaves of her own choice. That's because to Muir, good things are fleeting, and nothing ever really lasts. So she's made a rule to have no attachments, so that it hurts less. Until she moves into her last foster home with the foster mom, Francine, and Muir meets Kira and Sean. Keep in mind that this is a work of fiction, and that it in no way deceits every foster kid's experience. But overall, it was a really good story, filled with a lot of moments that really give you an inside look at how broken the world is if they're treating kids badly because of things out of their control.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Carpenter

    Rating: 4 stars Two words can sum Muir's entire life: Pack Light. Muir's lived in the foster care system all her life, going in and out of several houses, and now, Muir is seventeen, meaning one more year before she ages out. While this terrifies her, Muir can't wait until she's only dependent on herself. When her social worker finds a new home for her last year, Muir doesn't expect to find a true mother in her foster mother, Francine, a friend in Kira, or a boyfriend in Sean. Everything changes. Rating: 4 stars Two words can sum Muir's entire life: Pack Light. Muir's lived in the foster care system all her life, going in and out of several houses, and now, Muir is seventeen, meaning one more year before she ages out. While this terrifies her, Muir can't wait until she's only dependent on herself. When her social worker finds a new home for her last year, Muir doesn't expect to find a true mother in her foster mother, Francine, a friend in Kira, or a boyfriend in Sean. Everything changes. In Jennifer Longo's novel, What I Carry , this emotional debut shows the pain of a young girl, trying to survive in a world of love and acceptance. What I Carry has made me feel so naive. I knew the foster care system was corrupt, hurting these poor kids who are defenseless. We've talked about it in my English class, but I didn't really know until I read this novel and read what Muir said about the foster care system. I want to know I can do to help. I'm pretty powerless now, but I can love everyone, no matter who or what the circumstance are. I know once I'm older (at least 10 years from now), I can help with the foster care system. Right now, though, I can love, donate money, and pray. I find it very interesting how Longo compared Muir's trials in the foster care system to Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" about the soldiers in the Vietnam War. In O'Brien's short story, the soldiers talked about the things they carried as they traveled through Vietnam during the war. In Longo's novel, Muir talked about the things she carried traveling from home to home. Even the titles are similar: Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" and Jennifer Longo's What I Carry . I, for sure, recommend What I Carry for fans of Angie Thomas, Jeff Zentner, and Robin Benway. I recommend this novel for fans of realistic fiction novels. Happy reading!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A foster kid takes a walk in the woods and never comes back.✨ ✨ But seriously, this one is important. After a life spent in foster care, 17-year-old Muir(iel) is on the cusp of aging out and setting out on her own. Her social worker drops her off at her 20th placement—that’s right two-zero—and the people she meets turn her whole world upside down. 🌎 I’m going to be honest. It’s a bit heavy-handed at times. 🖐 Most conflicts are resolved within the span of a chapter. The connections between John Mui A foster kid takes a walk in the woods and never comes back.✨ ✨ But seriously, this one is important. After a life spent in foster care, 17-year-old Muir(iel) is on the cusp of aging out and setting out on her own. Her social worker drops her off at her 20th placement—that’s right two-zero—and the people she meets turn her whole world upside down. 🌎 I’m going to be honest. It’s a bit heavy-handed at times. 🖐 Most conflicts are resolved within the span of a chapter. The connections between John Muir and our Muir’s penchant for the outdoors feel a little forced. 🌳 The cast of characters inhabiting the small island town and Muir’s life are almost too perfect: an artsy best friend whose tough love is never too tough, a boyfriend who woos her by quoting 19th century naturalists, and a foster parent who miraculously manages to always say the right thing at the right time. 💯 But I’ll be darned if I didn’t root for this improbable crew. And I’ll be darned if I didn’t bawl my way through the final 50 pages. 😭 Though over half a million kids spend time in foster care each year, it’s so rarely addressed in contemporary ya/ juvenile lit. This take is thoughtful—it actively dispels adoption-is-the-cure-all myths—but nonetheless hopeful. It’s the happy-ever-after all kids in care deserve. 💕 Pick this one up if you’re in need of a feel good or are a big Robin Benway fan.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Donny J.

    This is going to be a little heavy . . . I FUCKING love this book. My brother, no longer alive, was a foster. He was my best friend to begin with, and in the end, he became so much more and I will never forget him as a friend, but more so as my brother. This book is so beautifully written and layered with such depth; I often found myself bewildered at the reality in front of me, on these pages. I saw pieces of my brother within Muir and everything she battled with in the story. From the I love you This is going to be a little heavy . . . I FUCKING love this book. My brother, no longer alive, was a foster. He was my best friend to begin with, and in the end, he became so much more and I will never forget him as a friend, but more so as my brother. This book is so beautifully written and layered with such depth; I often found myself bewildered at the reality in front of me, on these pages. I saw pieces of my brother within Muir and everything she battled with in the story. From the I love you's she couldn't grasp right away to the beauty of truly finding her forever family, start to finish, this book held me like a warm blanket. Adoption and fostering need to be present more within literature, especially fiction. Please take time out of your day to read this. (my only gripe was the actual written usage of AF, but otherwise I love this.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    What I Carry was a book I went to not knowing the synopsis at all. I had my mom pick a random book of mine to have me read and I'm so happy she chose this one. Jennifer's writing was beautiful and captivating and I finished this book over the course of a day. It's a story about foster care and a girl names Muir who is so close to turning 18 which would make her a free adult and all she is thinking about is her future when she lends in her last house with a woman who plans to stop fostering after What I Carry was a book I went to not knowing the synopsis at all. I had my mom pick a random book of mine to have me read and I'm so happy she chose this one. Jennifer's writing was beautiful and captivating and I finished this book over the course of a day. It's a story about foster care and a girl names Muir who is so close to turning 18 which would make her a free adult and all she is thinking about is her future when she lends in her last house with a woman who plans to stop fostering after Muir times out. Well, this story is truly about friendship and love and the magic there is to finding people who love and care about you and you just can't help but love and care back. I thought each character was written with so much care and love and I'd read this again down the line in a heartbeat.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    I loved Jennifer Longo's other two books (Six Feet Over It is my favorite but they're both great), so I had a little bit of anticipation mixed with worry that I might not like What I Carry as much. But I shouldn't have been worried, because it's really sweet and poignant and moving and beautiful. I felt this world so tangibly, from the forest to the ocean shore to the many many bedrooms Muir has lived in. I have no experience with foster care, but this book really portrays it well - as far as I I loved Jennifer Longo's other two books (Six Feet Over It is my favorite but they're both great), so I had a little bit of anticipation mixed with worry that I might not like What I Carry as much. But I shouldn't have been worried, because it's really sweet and poignant and moving and beautiful. I felt this world so tangibly, from the forest to the ocean shore to the many many bedrooms Muir has lived in. I have no experience with foster care, but this book really portrays it well - as far as I can tell, being an outsider to that system. I do know what it's like to feel like there are no trusted adults around you, and how the stress constant uncertainty can lead to deep emotional issues. I loved Muir (even if sometimes I was a little bored of all the John Muir stuff) and I think anyone who reads it will love her too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bree Janelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I originally picked this book up because it gave me The Fosters vibes. But this book is nothing like that. It is so tame it ranges on being boring. There is not enough conflict in the story in my opinion. And a lot of the time I was confused on how quickly a conversation topic changed. And sometimes even what they were saying was confusing because I didn’t have extensive knowledge for the guy they were talking about. The romance was so-so. I think the best part was the conflict with the mean gir I originally picked this book up because it gave me The Fosters vibes. But this book is nothing like that. It is so tame it ranges on being boring. There is not enough conflict in the story in my opinion. And a lot of the time I was confused on how quickly a conversation topic changed. And sometimes even what they were saying was confusing because I didn’t have extensive knowledge for the guy they were talking about. The romance was so-so. I think the best part was the conflict with the mean girls versus the best friend. The best friend had a better arc than the MC. Overall, I liked this book but I would never reread it. And I don’t know if I’d recommend it to anyone. It was just blah. Good but not memorable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kiki Z

    Technically very good and with strong emotional impact, but the author keeps hidden the real reason Muir doesn't want anyone to adopt her until the last quarter, and frankly that was a bad idea. At times, her refusal to plant roots was extremely frustrating and ruined some of the emotional impact, and having this information would have been better. Usually this matters mostly in thrillers, but the longer the author keeps something from the audience, the bigger it needs to be, and this didn't fee Technically very good and with strong emotional impact, but the author keeps hidden the real reason Muir doesn't want anyone to adopt her until the last quarter, and frankly that was a bad idea. At times, her refusal to plant roots was extremely frustrating and ruined some of the emotional impact, and having this information would have been better. Usually this matters mostly in thrillers, but the longer the author keeps something from the audience, the bigger it needs to be, and this didn't feel very big. In fact, it felt very guessable. I was already thinking something along those lines. I guess I just felt it was fairly underwhelming when all is said and done.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer S

    Muiriel is in her senior year of high school, at which point she will age out of the foster care system, having been in multitudes of foster homes since her birth. She is fiercely independent, refusing to allow herself to get close to anyone because everything in her life is so temporary - plus she needs to be self-sufficient when the system spits her out at age 18. Then she is placed in her final foster home, a small island community outside of Seattle, where she encounters everything she has a Muiriel is in her senior year of high school, at which point she will age out of the foster care system, having been in multitudes of foster homes since her birth. She is fiercely independent, refusing to allow herself to get close to anyone because everything in her life is so temporary - plus she needs to be self-sufficient when the system spits her out at age 18. Then she is placed in her final foster home, a small island community outside of Seattle, where she encounters everything she has always wanted and been afraid to find. Beautifully written YA story about the power of relationships to touch one's heart. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This was eye opening book for me. Muir, a 17 year old girl in foster care, is almost out of the system. She has tried everything possible to "NOT" fall in love with the families she has been with along the way. However, things become more difficult as she meets Francine, and all the others that she really starts to fall in love with as she is in her last phase. This really helped me understand a little more what kids go through, the things they carry with them, and just how feelings and emotions This was eye opening book for me. Muir, a 17 year old girl in foster care, is almost out of the system. She has tried everything possible to "NOT" fall in love with the families she has been with along the way. However, things become more difficult as she meets Francine, and all the others that she really starts to fall in love with as she is in her last phase. This really helped me understand a little more what kids go through, the things they carry with them, and just how feelings and emotions can really train our brain into thinking certain ways permanently! I would highly recommend this one for everyone to take a look at:)!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    "Maybe now, for the first time, you're having some battles. It's because you're living a life, with people who matter. Nothing causes more trouble than that." "... to bear the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." "I turned to her, my friend, who more and more I could not imagine being without." "Home is just a soft place to land in between adventures, or trouble, or what the hell ever. It's a harbor, not an anchor. Be brave, see the world, every forest and mountain, and know you always "Maybe now, for the first time, you're having some battles. It's because you're living a life, with people who matter. Nothing causes more trouble than that." "... to bear the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." "I turned to her, my friend, who more and more I could not imagine being without." "Home is just a soft place to land in between adventures, or trouble, or what the hell ever. It's a harbor, not an anchor. Be brave, see the world, every forest and mountain, and know you always have a safe place to rest and come back to."

  29. 5 out of 5

    noor

    It was cute! I’m giving it 3.5 stars because it really was an average book (and not in a bad way)!! I enjoyed the characters, the plot was definitely a contemporary speed that I expected. There was no crazy climax, but I liked that! The only situation was how much she mentioned John Muir. Seriously. It was every other page that she mentioned him and her wandering spirit and I just wanted to die getting through that. HOWEVER, I still liked it enough to be happy with it :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    E. Mellyberry

    It is definitely a sad story about a girl whose whole life was spent in foster care. I loved the beginning 3 chapters, it was a solid writing. The moment the love intsrest was introduced, it became predictable and cliche. It's still a decent read but I'd read better ones about foster care (eg: Far from Tree, Pushing the Limits).

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.