The Hopper-Hill Family

The Hopper-Hill FamilyThe Hopper-Hill Family by Erika Castiglione
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by CreateSpace on June 25, 2015
Pages: 162

 

Piper Hill has always wished for a brother and sister, but when tragedy strikes her family, she soon has three cousins and a dog living with her and her parents. She soon realizes that having a bigger family is a lot harder than she thought, especially when grief plays a roll. Through the first year as a new family, the Hopper-Hill’s struggle through changes and discover the biggest surprise of all – that healing and family come in many forms.

I’m glad that I took a chance on this sweet, uplifting story.

I picked The Hopper-Hill Family to read because I wanted to read more about blended families, having always had an interest in adoption. I had no initial thoughts going into this story other than that. I’m glad that I took a chance on this sweet, uplifting story. Full of realistic family interactions, as well as the familiar angst of being in the seventh grade (I do not need a do-over, thanks!), the story of Piper’s family growing by three (and a dog) is an easy, endearing read that suits young adults and adults alike.

There were several instances where Piper’s thoughts made me think, “oh, me too, me too!”

Piper is a mature for her age, but it feels realistic within the story’s context – she’s an only child, doesn’t see much of her extended family, so she basically spent most of her time with her parents. Though she may not be the typical twelve-year-old, her thoughts and actions still ring true for that age. Though I’m sure there are more lessons for her to learn, this is such a sweet glimpse of her coming of age story. There were several instances where Piper’s thoughts made me think, “oh, me too, me too!” I love when that happens while I’m reading because it truly makes the character feel real.

The other characters feel realistic, too, and I think my favorite character is cute, six-year-old Sam, Piper’s cousin. It is obvious Erika knows children and worked to make sure that her character’s came across as realistic. Sam’s character brought to mind a lot of little boys I know, while still being his own unique self. The relationship that develops between him and Piper really won me over.

Erika handled the somber issues of death and grief with dignity and an appropriate level of gravity, without ever allowing the story to be bogged down by sadness.

Erika handled the somber issues of death and grief with dignity and an appropriate level of gravity, without ever allowing the story to be bogged down by sadness. Anyone that has dealt with the loss of a loved one or close friend has probably felt emotions similar to those portrayed here. The reactions of the characters feel genuine and completely understandable, whether as a result of grief or trying to blend together as a new family.

The Hopper-Hill Family, despite being a shorter read, is full of complex, genuine emotion and interactions. I hope that Erika writes more in the future – should she do so, I will definitely have her next book on my to-read list.

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