The Family That Wasn't: A Novel by Gene Twaronite is an ideal story for teenagers. John Boggle always wanted a dream family; rich and perfect and a family that appreciated and respected him for what he was. Then he finds his dreams coming true. His family suddenly becomes rich and he becomes John Bartlett who lives in the rich Bartlett mansion. But after a while he starts missing his old, poor Boggle family and he starts searching for them. The search for the Boggle family takes him across the USA and he meets various types of people on this journey.
The story has many shades; it is dark, funny, and peppered with a bit of whimsy. The continuous supply of donuts is one whimsical aspect of the story. John's travels across the USA and his meeting people changes his perspective of what a family is. The story is appealing to adults as well. The book is fast paced so that once you start reading you might not want to put it down. The book has a lot of messages for readers. I liked the character of John. He is a fun character, a normal thirteen-year-old boy who changes in the course of the story and ends up being wiser. The author has a done a fine job of blending some dark moments, humor, and charm effortlessly. This book will make us rethink the definition of a perfect family and the perfect life that we all want.