Review of The Other F-Word

The Other F-Word
by Natasha Friend

To be published on March 7, 2017
by FSG

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about. Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died. Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.

Review of The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend 

Overall, I enjoyed this, but not without a few bumps along the way. There were a few things about this book that I had to get used to. First off, though the characters range from 14-16, this book read a little on the young side to me. It's hard to say if it was some of the characters' maturity level and voice or the fact that the book was narrated in alternating third-person, but I couldn't get away from the feeling that I was reading tween/middle-grade, and ultimately I think that's where this story belonged (though there was a little bit of content that would put it more in YA.)

The other thing I had to get past was that, for me, this book was a LOT at first. There were a lot of characters (the two narrators, their three parents, and then a total of three or four other kids) and there were a bunch of issues (grief, sperm donation, the parental rights of gay parents, food allergies, slut shaming and cyber-bullying) that were raised. I tend to prefer my books a little more streamlined, especially on the issue front.

But after a period of adjustment, I settled into the story. There were a lot of issues, but in the end there was a purpose for incorporating them. Many of them were related to the death of one character's mom and the daughter's guilt and grief, something I thought was handled really well and very movingly. Not sure if all of the issues were handled as thoroughly as they should have been, which is a drawback for issue-packed stories.

All in all, if the topic interests you and if you don't mind a slightly younger-feeling story, give this a try.


  1. My head started swimming honestly. Too many characters to wrap my head around, and I feel like a book should stick to two or three themes.

  2. I get what you are saying, but those things did not diminish my enjoyment of the book. I found the characters quirky and fun. I loved the camaraderie amongst the "sperm siblings", and agree with you about the way Friend juxtaposed Hollis' and Milo's family situation. My heart ached when we finally got all the details on why Hollis was so angry, it wasn't the obvious reasons.

    1. Yes, that was what in the end won me over. I thought the grief portrayal was really well-done. I think I said that in my Goodreads review and I should have said it here!

  3. I don't always love books that read younger - and third person is not my favorite. Glad you still enjoyed this one despite the bumps.

  4. That's a lot of issues to tackle in one novel the way each would deserve to be. I don't usually prefer to read younger characters so I'm not sure I'll ever get to this one but I'm glad you were able to enjoy this overall.

  5. wow that just sounds like it has a lot piled into one book and does seem a little young - but it sounds like this should have been maybe a slightly older read? Multiple POVS or just multiple characters?


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