Rummanah Aasi
 When Harper Proulx and her newfound sibling travel to Hawaii to track down their sperm donor father, the man she discovers--a deep-sea diver obsessed with solving the mystery of a shipwreck--forces Harper to face some even bigger questions.

Review: I'm usually up for a solid realistic story about self growth and self discovery. The Epic Story of Every Living Thing had an enticing plot and was well reviewed, but unfortunately for me it fell very flat. I was ultimately so bored and frustrated with this novel that I stopped caring around the halfway mark. 
Harper Proulx's life revolves around her boyfriend Ezra, what ifs, Instagram, and comments from her driven single mother who likes to show her off as a 'well done' project. Like many teens obsessed with social media, Harper gets tiny boosts of confidence when she receives likes and comments on her Instagram posts. When she comes across a photo of Dario who shares similar physical features with her, she beings to wonder about MF--her Maybe Father. She reaches out to Dario, the two meet up, and she realizes that her mother has withheld information from her. Soon she is swept off to Hawaii with her other half siblings to find their sperm donor father.
  I had a lot of issues with this book, but the main one that stood out to me was Harper. I found Harper to be an exasperating and needy teen. For half of the book, Harper is fused to her phone. She treats her boyfriend Ezra like her Instagram lackey, transporting her equipment and chauffeuring her to locations that would guarantee her more likes and comments on her posts. She does not open up to her boyfriend nor tells him anything about her finding her half siblings even though she is very involved in his family. So when Ezra broke up with her, I actually cheered for him. I couldn't believe how Harper thought this breakup came out of nowhere.
  My other issue with this book is that the pacing is quite slow. The first half of the book is all about finding Harper's MF. The second half is supposedly Harper's epiphany, but it didn't feel earned. One minute her face is glued to her phone near the ocean, then her phone slips into the water, and then boom! her eyes open in wonder about the world around her. 
  I did, however, like her half siblings who all had different personalities. I didn't find her father nor her mother actually developed but they appeared more as caricatures. Her dad being a surfer boy who smokes pot and her neurotic mother who wants perfection because that's how she was raised.
  I did not care for the details of the shipwreck as it took way too long to make a connection to the story. I also wondered why Covid-19 wasn't stated in the book even though there are plenty of discussions about masks, quarantining, and vaccines. As far as I know the pandemic isn't trademarked? Also why was the book written in the weird third person narrative?
  I love stories about families, but this was an absolute swing and a miss for me. Looking back on it, I wondered why I even finished it. This should have been my first dnf (did not finish) book of the year. Your mileage with Harper may vary.
Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, mentions of drug use, and a fade to black sex scene. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton, The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend, Donorboy by Brendan Halpin, Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
1 Response
  1. Oh dear. 2 stars. The premise has such promise; I have a friend who recently found out the man that raised him wasn't his dad so went on a fact-finding journey and found new family (but not his birth dad).

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