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Part memoir, part speculative fiction, The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be explores the often surreal experience of growing up as a mixed-Black transracial adoptee.

Dream Country author Shannon Gibney returns with The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be, a book woven from her true story of growing up as a mixed-Black transracial adoptee and fictional story of Erin Powers, the name Shannon was given at birth, a child raised by a white, closeted lesbian. 

At its core, the novel is a tale of two girls on two different timelines occasionally bridged by a mysterious portal and their shared search for a complete picture of their origins. Gibney surrounds that story with reproductions of her own adoption documents, letters, family photographs, interviews, medical records, and brief essays on the surreal absurdities of the adoptee experience.

The end result is a remarkable portrait of an American experience rarely depicted in any form.

★ "An ambitiously authentic adoption story where fiction does the work of truth, and archives, correspondence, and health records provide the roots of fantasy."—Kirkus Reviews, starred 


"Gibney captures such interior and intimate adoptee feelings. It's so rare to see it evoked on the page. Breathtakingly beautiful."—Kimberly McKee, PhD, author of Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States

  • Pages: 256 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: Dutton Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN: 9780593111994
Penguin Teen