The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher is a cleverly crafted story, and as author Colleen Hoover declares on the front of the book, “You’ve never read anything like this.” That certainly is true for me. The Crouch family – Nigel, Winnie and their son, Samuel – live in a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood. Nigel suggests that they build on an apartment that they could rent to help with expenses, a place with its own outside entrance. This information led me to believe initially that the appearance of Juno in the story meant that someone had rented the apartment. However, it becomes clear that that is not the relationship between Juno and the Crouch family.
Juno and Winnie have alternating chapters in the novel which is all written in third person. Winnie is not an easy woman. She wants to be a good person, a good wife and a good mother, but sometimes she seems to miss the mark. Juno begins to feel that she has a vested interest in this family, particularly in Sam’s life. Something that she hears makes her think that Sam is not the Crouch’s biological son, and she makes it her mission to find Sam’s real mother. Her feeling is exacerbated by Sam’s comment that he feels like a wolf being raised by bears. Of course, Sam is thirteen, and probably many teens occasionally think (and sometimes wish) that they are not in their real family.
There are so many interesting twists and turns in this novel, most of which I don’t want to tell you since I think it would spoil your pleasure in reading. We learn a great deal about Juno’s history including the fact that she had been a family therapist. Since she is privy to family conversations and she actually had met Sam when she was sitting on a bench in the park, she wants to protect him. While Sam often behaves like the thirteen-year-old boy that he is, he is, for me, the most sympathetic character, primarily because he is at the mercy of his parents, but also eventually of Juno whom he only knows as an old woman in the park.
This is Tarryn Fisher’s second novel, and now I would like to read her first. She is an excellent writer and this story will keep you totally engaged. It truly is a most unusual premise for a novel
The Wrong Family is available in paperback from Graydon House Books and retails for $17.99.