TITLE: The Unadoptables
AUTHOR: Hana Tooke
GENRE: Children's Adventure
REVIEWER: Abbey Parker

Become connected to these five unique children as they journey on an extraordinary adventure to finally find a place to call home.


The rules of Baby Abandonment had never been broken until the Autumn of 1886, when five babies were left in despicable states. Sem was left in a wheat sack, Fenna was abandoned in a picnic basket, Egg was found inside a coal bucket, Lotta was deserted in a tin tool box and, finally, Milou was discovered inside a coffin shaped box. Now 12 years later, not one of them has been adopted and the cruel matron Elinora Gasbeek, head of the dismal orphanage in which they grew up, has deemed them ‘unadoptable’.

Within the first few chapters the reader is introduced to each child’s personality and talents. As the book continues it reveals more about their backgrounds, and their hopes and dreams. Although all five children are extremely different, they all have a strong sense of friendship and adventure, as well as loyalty and humour, but – most of all – wonder. Hana Tooke describes each individual in a way that allows the reader to gain an insight into their thoughts and emotions and see the situation through their eyes. This connection with the characters allows each adventure to be more intriguing. As each twist reveals itself, every reader will be on the edge of their seat and sigh with relief as they finish each of the many hair-raising tales.

The Unadoptables explores many values throughout the book, such as family, friendship, hope and trust. As orphans the children have never known a home or what it is like to have a family. They have never known the comfort and security of being part of a family, and the safety and warmth of living in a home. As the book develops, they realise the closest they will ever have to a family is each other, and that they need to unite to survive, and most importantly trust each other. As they each desperately search for family, all five children start to lose hope. Each is seeking a sense of belonging as they search for their families. Soon the orphans begin to realise that most important to them is the friendship and love they have discovered for each other.

Readers should be aware part of the blurb does not match with the plot of the book. The blurb states that “until the most fateful night a most sinister man appears and threatens to tear them apart” when really it’s about Matron Gasbeek illegally selling the ‘unadoptables’ to a man who is going to work them until they die.

The Unadoptables is captivating and has beautiful messages weaved throughout. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved the series of Nevermoor, which also presents a character searching for a sense of belonging. This book is most suitable for 10–14-year olds. Some of the concepts may be too mature for younger readers and they may not completely understand the ideas within the book. I absolutely loved this book and would read it many times again; it draws readers into the children’s world. Make sure to get your hands on this book which was released in May 2020.

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