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Store-Bought Baby Hardcover – May 9, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up–The funeral for her older, adopted brother, Luce, is almost unbearable for Leah, who can hardly stand to think about why he may have committed suicide. When she overhears a conversation suggesting that it's because Luce was not his parents' natural child, Leah decides that knowing more about his birth family and perhaps finding them will help her to cope with her loss. Her best friend and Luce's girlfriend aid in her search, but ultimately the teen discovers that time, talking with others who miss her brother as much as she does, and being loved help her to heal. A charming new boyfriend doesn't hurt, either. In this universe, Luce is always depicted as perfection, and no one displays much of the anger common to grieving families. Nor is the question of suicide ever confronted. Leah shows herself to be resilient, as well as a good detective. The adults who have failed to understand her need to know the truth rapidly open up and share their memories in healing ways. Smooth writing almost makes up for the missing pieces, but not quite.–Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. When sophomore Leah's beloved older brother, Luce, who was adopted, dies in a car accident, she tries to cope with her overwhelming grief. Did Luce ever want to find his birth parents? Should she look for them? Her best friend and her boyfriend help her carry on, and Dad and her grandma are there for her. Mama, however, is distant. Luce is just too perfect--totally gorgeous, generous, funny, happy, and brilliant at science, karate, chess, and everything else. But Leah's first-person, present-tense narrative expresses her intense feelings in plain poetic words that express the happy adoptive family story as well as the sorrow, jealousy, anger, and love. Is Mama disappointed in Leah, her natural child? The dialogue is pitch-perfect, and so is the sense of the Chicago lakefront neighborhood, where now "everything is familiar and different at the same time." Although there's no neat resolution, and as the book's title makes clear, some people are insensitive and crude when it comes to talking about adoption, Belton's powerful novel opens up the meaning of "real" family. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: GreenWilBk; 1St Edition edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060850868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060850869
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,006,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sandra Belton is the author of a dozen books of fiction, including the Ernestine & Amanda series, McKendree, Pictures for Miss Josie, and Store Bought Baby. Belton graduated from Howard University and got her graduate degree in education from George Washington University. After several years she left teaching to develop technology components for the educational market. She has always loved telling stories and in 1993 her first book for children, From Miss Ida's Porch, was published and praised by Publishers Weekly as "a powerful debut."

In November 2013, the Ernestine & Amanda series is being newly released by Amazon Publishing, and, in addition to featuring several changes, includes a never-before-published fifth book, Ernestine & Amanda: Goodbye. Hello.... Belton says, "Ernestine and Amanda are the keepers of my childhood memories and dreams. Their voices echo the ones I heard while chasing lightning bugs and playing at twilight with the kids down the street. The events of their lives and the heroes they celebrate are the ones of our heritage."

Belton grew up in Beckley, West Virginia, a town she describes as having "wonderful porches"--porches being a common theme in many of her stories. She loves reading and, like Ernestine, playing the piano and remembers well a time before TV, computers, and video games--"those wonderful imagination-building hours."

Check out the website created specifically for the Ernestine & Amanda series to support understanding of the times in which they live:
To find out more about Sandra Belton and her other books, visit her webside:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The loss of a child is always a terrible shock to a family, but Leah is profoundly affected by the accidental death of her older adopted brother, Luce. She questions her parents' love for her and how she compares to her near perfect brother. Did his birth parents know what they have missed....did Luce ever wonder about his birth parents? The very shy and introverted Leah decides to try to find out about her brother's biological parents and about the adoption.

Mom seems to be lost in her own world and locked away with the memories of her beautiful boy. Leah's father is coping with the loss much better, and her grandmother, Bibi, helps Leah to accept this turning point in her life most of all. Leah decides that knowing more about Luce's birth family and perhaps finding them will help her to cope with her loss. Her best friend and Luce's girlfriend aid in her search, and when her parents realize what her goal is, they begin to share the details of the adoption with her. Did Luce ever want to find his birth parents? Should she look for them?

Sandra Belton writes with sensitivity about a difficult subject, and her characters are believable and sympathetic. In her first-person, present-tense narrative, Belton expresses Leah's intense feelings in heartbreaking prose that shows her sorrow, jealousy, anger, and love, and defines a "real" family.

This would be an especially meaningful story for any teen who is adopted, or has adopted siblings, but the tragedy of losing a loved one is universal, and the message of parental love in this story is one that will long live in your memory.

Reviewed by: Grandma Bev
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J Romaine Roberts on August 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The story is written very lovingly about a child who has lost her beloved brother and finds out things about him after he has past. She feels somewhat left out, he's abandoned her without sharing his secrets. She does find peace and continues to love him. This story, as it is written gives help for children or adults with grave loss. Good story.
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