Bothers & Sinisters, Family Tree Novel

Young Adult - Coming of Age
212 Pages
Reviewed on 12/27/2015
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Author Biography

M. W. Adams explored the magic of childhood in the creeks, caves, and bluffs of western Kentucky. Playing Outback conjured an adventurous world between his home near Pennyrile State Park and his hometown of Dawson Springs. Accompanied by pretend horses and a brown baby doll, M. W. grew to love his bizarre Outback family, sometimes more than his “normal” family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, the new young adult novel by author Mark Wayne Adams, one of the books in the Family Tree Novel series, which also includes graphic novels, readers will be treated to a very unusual and interesting story that is certainly well worth the read. Protagonist Driew Qweepie is a boy on a mission of sorts, an adventure to find the truth of his family history, what his home is, and the true meaning of the word 'family.' Adventurous, thrilling, and exciting at times, the story of Driew's journeys and growth is one that will have readers hungrily turning the pages until they get to the very end.

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters was a unique and fascinating read. Besides introducing readers to some great characters that they will find intriguing, the book serves as a guide to new terms and language in Australian, American and Qweepie. Young adult readers are certain to learn something from this book, but will also be presented with positive messages about the importance of family and family history. It's easy for me to be able to recommend this book, both as a great read as well as a guide for children to learn about other cultures and terminology from those cultures. I was excited to find this book, and am very much looking forward to reading more from the highly inventive mind of author Mark Wayne Adams in the very near future. If it's anything like Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, it will certainly be worth the read!

Jack Magnus

Outback: Bothers & Sinisters is a young adult coming of age novel written by Mark Wayne Adams. After unsuccessfully listing their inherited property for sale for ten years now, the Qweepie family has reluctantly moved back to Marq Qweepie’s family farm in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. It’s a big change from the suburban sprawl of sunny Florida for Driew and his 'bothers and sinisters.' Driew is the baby in the family, and he’s smaller than the average 11-year-old and darker than the rest of his siblings. He’s been the brunt of their practical jokes and pranks for years now, so being hung up as the farm’s scarecrow, and left there hanging as his siblings go back home, is nothing new for him. Something special happens, however, during this unpleasant and humiliating experience. He’s rescued by a gangling and oddly spoken girl named Gulia. Her relatives are Australian, and she tells him how she and her mom go back there to visit her grandparents several times a year. Together, Gulia and Driew explore their own personal outback there in the Kentucky wilderness; a place where Driew is safe from the teasing and pranks of his siblings, and where he can feel a little bit of magic in the air.

Mark Wayne Adams’ young adult coming of age novel, Outback: Bothers & Sinisters, is a book to be read slowly and savored. I was captivated by the mood and magic that pervades this most unusual coming of age story and filled with no little regret when I finally came to the last page. Driew is one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve come across in some years and being present as he comes of age and finds out where he belongs was a rare privilege indeed. I loved experiencing Kentucky’s seasonal changes through his eyes, and especially enjoyed the detailed descriptions of how he makes the deer stand into his own place. While this book is geared towards the young adult audience, preteens and young-at-heart adults will most likely find themselves as enchanted by Driew, his parents and Gulia as I was. Outback: Bothers & Sinisters is most highly recommended.

Ryan Jordan

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, A Family Tree Novel by Mark Wayne Adams is an excellent novel about Driew, a character we meet tied up as a scarecrow and left behind by his brothers and sisters. He refers to them as his bothers and sinisters, and throughout the work we are gradually introduced to his family and start seeing what he is going through. We see his life as a middle school student, such as friends who are only friends while he can do something for them (buying cookies, sitting at their table) but stop being friends as soon as he is unable to perform. Worse still, he is tormented by his family, even while at school.

I really enjoyed reading this story, and there are a lot of moments that I am sure many tweens and teens will be able to relate to. It's well written with a lot of snappy dialogue and clever descriptions. I like the way the story progresses from Driew not really having any friends to going on adventures, facing down tornadoes and his own family, and overcoming all of his obstacles. I also enjoyed how the author snuck in vernacular from the outback into the story and included a glossary and reading guide for anyone who is interested in learning more about it. This adds a little playfulness and depth to the overall story. Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, A Family Tree Novel by Mark Wayne Adams is a real winner of a story that young readers and adults of all ages will enjoy.

Kim Anisi

Outback: Bothers & Sinisters is one of the books in the Family Tree Novel series by Mark Wayne Adams. It is a story about a boy who kind of doesn't really get along with his brothers and sisters - hence they are called bothers and sinisters. It doesn't help that his family has moved to a neglected farm which needs to be cleaned up. Fortunately, a new friend appears and she tries to help him to see another point of view. It is a story about family connections, about a different kind of bullying, about friendship, and about growing up in not so perfect circumstances (or would you call it perfect when your sister is willing to pay a large amount of money just so someone else walks you home?).

While Outback: Bothers & Sinisters by Mark Wayne Adams isn't a book you'd call an absolute page-turner, I did enjoy it because sometimes you need a book you can relax with. However, I was a bit confused sometimes, but that might be because I haven't read any of the other novels in the series and it seems that there is quite a connection between them all. I think it would be more enjoyable if you read them all in the right order. The writing style is quite smooth, you can read the book easily without running into obstacles (though some readers might have to look up the Australian terms). In general, I'd recommend the book to young readers and to older readers who enjoy stories about family connections (and problems).

Tracy Slowiak

Wow! Just, wow! How's that for a review? Well, that was certainly my first thought when I finished reading Outback: Bothers and Sinisters: A Family Tree Novel by author Mark Wayne Adams. In an incredibly unique and interesting story line for young adult readers, the story follows Driew Qweepie, a 'tween-aged' boy who lives in a family filled with magic and ends up with a life filled with adventure. This first book in a planned series does a great job of introducing readers to Australian, American and Qweepie vernacular that will be necessary for the rest of books, but does so in a very intriguing manner. Young protagonist Driew must learn the importance of family, of home, and of history in this novel, and the journey he takes to get there will keep readers on the edge of their seats!

I so enjoyed reading Outback: Bothers and Sinisters. Author Mark Wayne Adams has done a fantastic job in creating characters that his young adult readers will have no problem in connecting with and relating to. His scene setting abilities are simply second to none, and his book provides a great message without making a reader feel as if they are being bonked over the head with it. Any young adult reader who enjoys an adventurous and fun read would enjoy this book. Any parent who is interested in a book that will allow their child to think and learn while reading should definitely pick this up for their loved one. I am pleased to recommend this book very highly, and look forward to reading more in this series as soon as more books are available!