I was hooked immediately from the lovely cover, to the opening of The Unadoptables where we are tantalising introduced to these unique and special children as they are found on the orphanage steps. Unfortunately, their adverse start in life is not reversed, instead they are subjected to a life of austerity and suffering under the helm of a sadistic matron.
But there was no disguising what they really were scruffy, hungry, desperate orphans
Egbert, Lotta, Sem, Fenna, and Milou are labelled The Unadoptables as Matron likes to ensure that orphans do not remain at Little Tulip orphanage for long and are adopted as soon as possible. However, this group of friends are the oldest due to their quirks, differences and attitude making them less appealing and therefore adoptable to prospective parents.
“Why would a man who so obviously disliked children want to adopt one?”
Matron dislike of opposition and children who advocate for themselves, leads to the decision to seek servitude rather than a home for our brave band of friends.
What follows is a journey of almost epic proportions as this group are tested in their efforts to find safety, a home, and family. They flee from sinister and deadly foes, seek independence in the face of suspicion and opposition, all whilst being proactive and inventive in their search for answers to their origins and future.
Spies are stealthy and brave. They do the jobs no one else dares do, to protect others.
I laughed, shed a tear or two and at turns was astounded by their efforts and determination to remain free. I loved the writing, in particular the visual descriptions of characters which was skilfully complemented by the illustrations at the beginning of chapters.
…a parody of a smile, Milou realized much like the matron’s: all teeth and no soul.
This is a magical tale about dreamers who keep hold of that spark of joy in the face of desperate times, nurture it and encourage others. It emphases the importance of how imagination, the power of belief and the support of others can sustain you. Of how friendship is nourished not because of proximity but due to mutual affection and admiration. Above all we see the importance of loving others, just as they are including their strength and weaknesses. Culminating in the conclusion, that family is the definition you make.
A wonderful whimsical tale that I adored. A delight to read. I hope to read more about this group of resilient and resourceful children.
My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for a digital advance review copy in return for a candid review.
4 Stars – I Loved It