Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

A Book Review: Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

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⭐⭐⭐☆☆


Simple but poignant, Lois Lowry's second novel published in 1978, Find a Stranger,  Say Goodbye, is a young adult fiction about an adopted teenage girl searching for her biological mother. 


Natalie Armstrong had a loving family, an understanding boyfriend, great friends, and a bright future. What could be better? She stood out because of her good looks and intelligence; still and all,  she doubted whether she's lucky or not. Something was missing in her life, something that scared her. But she must find it, face it, and know the truth once and for all. In the summer before going to college, she put considerable effort into finding the answers to the questions she had posed.  Who was she? Why did her mother give her up? Who was her real family?  


Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye is a light and wholesome read. Natalie’s journey in searching for her mother is logical and easily done but the surprising turnaround of the events added zest to the well-written storyline.


The multidimensional main characters and essential minor characters render an engaging tale. I love Natalie’s free-spirited adoptive mother, Kate Armstrong,  whose spontaneousness led to making do-it-yourself projects that sometimes ended up being monumental bloopers. One hilarious example was when she had decided to make dandelion wine out of the blue. In her nightgown one early morning, she gathered dandelions without permission from the garden of their neighbors who were on vacation. Kate was laughing when she shared the details of her morning adventure with Natalie and her friends. She later confessed that she had realized she didn’t know how to make a dandelion wine so she threw all the bright yellow wildflowers into the garbage disposal. Kate has a colorful personality but she’s a loving and caring mother to Natalie. This was the reason why Natalie’s boyfriend and friends wondered why she had to find her real mother.  


Besides Kate, her mother, Tallie Chandler, is also an interesting character. She is as carefree as her daughter. Tallie was supportive of her granddaughter's plan despite hurting the latter's parents in the process. Natalie’s grandmother imparted her wisdom enwrapped in quotable lines that are worth remembering. 


Natalie’s biological mother, Julie Hutchinson is intimidating with her fashionable, immaculate, and eloquent aura. She welcomed Natalie into her life and even asked her daughter to become a model like her but Natalie declined. Their meeting in New York was revealing about what their relationship was going to be like, mutually exclusive. 


Natalie found the answers eventually and everything became clear.  “You have to sort everything out. You have to figure out what you want to hold onto. You have to acknowledge what is and what was. And sometimes what never was, at all.”


Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye is a great book for those who are looking for a short, heartwarming, and wholesome read.



Discussion Questions


  1. What do you think of the title of the book, Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye? 

  2. Describe Natalie Armstrong.

  3. Describe Natalie’s adoptive family. 

  4. What do you think about Gretchen’s speech?

  5. Natalie was resolved to find her real mother despite gentle objections from her friends and her boyfriend. If you were Natalie, would you feel the same?

  6. Tallie said that sometimes you have to hurt the people you love in order to keep yourself whole, do you agree with her? Why or why not?

  7. Describe the meeting of Natalie and her real mother. 

  8. If you were Natalie, would you accept your real mother’s offer? Why or why not?

  9. Do you find the plot twists good enough to make the story interesting?

  10. Which part of the story was your favorite? Why?



Further Information


Title: Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Clarion Books; Reprint edition (April 26, 1978)

Publication Date: April 26, 1978

Print length: 197 pages

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B003JFJHS4


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