Shay Stone lies in a hospital bed, catatonic–dead to the world. Her family thinks it’s a ploy for attention. Doctors believe it’s the result of an undisclosed trauma. At the mercy of memories and visitations, Shay unearths secrets that may have led to her collapse. Will she remain paralyzed in denial? Or can she accept the unfathomable and break free?
KEURIUM threads through one adopted Korean American’s life of longing and letting go. On a quest for family, sanity, and survival, it challenges saviorism and forced gratitude. Woven through its heartbreaking fabric is a story of love and resilience.
#Adoption; #Narcissism; #Toxic Families; #Gaslighting; #Trauma
“It takes courage to pierce the sugar-coated myths surrounding international adoption. JS LEE has accomplished this in a straightforward honest novel.”
—Thomas Park Clement, Humanitarian and Author, Dust of the Streets
“KEURIUM tells the harrowing journey of adopted Korean American Shay Stone’s fight for her emotional well-being and ultimately, her life. Told in thoroughly satisfying chronological vignettes, this is a brave and necessary novel about hard truths, self-care, self-discovery, and one woman’s hard-earned liberation.”
—Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus, Scar and Flower
“Raw and transformative. JS LEE reveals the complex inner dialogue of many adoptees while dismantling society’s narrow adoption narrative, exposing truth so rarely heard. The power in her words is unerring as she transports the reader into their own keurium.”
—Reshma McClintock, Writer and Adoptee Advocate, Dear Adoption
Fantastic book. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Tragic and redemptive. Could not put it down. —tracylward
Eye-opening portrait of the trauma that can manifest from being an international adoptee. I enjoyed how Lee used both narrative and dialog to flesh out the dynamics between the family members. Particularly relatable for anyone who has experienced severe family dysfunction. —Katie
So beautifully written
Wow. This book. So beautifully written. There’s plenty I could relate to, which is comforting and sad. Bonus: I appreciated the shorter chapters (easier to read with kids around 🤣). —Lauren Kester
beautiful, complicated sometimes painful
This story went deep into adoption from an adoptees point of view that you don’t often see in mainstream. A beautiful, complicated sometimes painful story of a woman finding her truth and her voice while so many tried to keep her silenced. —Thresa Saenz
Could Not Put It Down!
A wrenching account of international adoption, from the perspective of the only person that matters in the family equation. Shay, adopted as a young child from Korea, lifts the veil on the fairytale that adoption perpetuates in our society by means of the adoption industry. Prepare to be captivated as you learn from an expert, what it is like to live the adopted life. —LPM
Despite content that could be very hard to stomach, the story is told in a very light and gentle way. A magical sprinkling of fairy dust covers the harder edges of reality, making it seem dream-like and otherworldly. And it’s a glamour that coats the truth that would be too much for a young child to bear.
Shay is an Korean adoptee, raised in an affluent Caucasian household. Materially, she is very privileged, but her family is in no position to truly support and nurture her emotionally and spiritually. Quite frankly, I think each parent is trapped in his/her own personal hell, contact with which may be unavoidable when one deals with these people. Her parents are fakes. And they’ve lived the lie for so long that the truth will threaten everything they have.
Shay grows up wanting to believe the lie that she grows up in, but she never quite gels with it. She notices things that don’t add up, and things that she tries to forget. And her feelings don’t lie, though it takes a while for her to dare to listen to what they tell her. For her, growing up is a rough ride, and she has more than her fair share of unpleasant experiences as a young woman. But they aren’t the ones that precipitate the coma that she finds herself in at the start of the novel.
Keurium was very easy to read, and the short chapters helped to move the story along at a faster pace. The first half is pretty sickening, as Shay describes her life with her fractured family, who uses Shay as a prop to make them appear to be more loving and generous than they are capable of being. In the latter half, things pick up speed as Shay begins to grasp the truth of her situation. Towards the end, things begin to look very bright, but there is still room for twists and suspense. And there are snakes as well as ladders.
If done well, I think this could be made into a very memorable film, because there is plenty of striking visual imagery. —Rin Hoshigumo
It’s really wonderful to find books written by adoptees. It’s so odd to read some of my own thoughts or similar strains of thought in a book. This wasn’t an easy read, only because of how much Shay endures. I was enraged by much of it, but mostly just baffled by her family’s treatment of her, though far from surprised. Her journey of self-acceptance is a continuous one, but one we get to take with her–for a time, at least. It’s a lovely one, with all its trials and tribulations. Well done. —Katelyn
Beautifully crafted book
This book is so poignant. I could feel the words and they touched me. As an adoptee with a narcissistic “mother” I cried while reading some passages. Being adopted is difficult. I can only imagine what being a transracial adoptee is like. JS manages to convey this so well. Great, beautifully crafted book. —Anne
Raw, powerful, emotional read!
The author successfully manages to depict the interwoven nature of several heavy elements – abuse, family dysfunction and interracial adoption. Through the main character Shay Stone, JS Lee aptly depicts the subtleties and intricacies of covert narcissistic abuse. This it is a story of awakening, survival, bravery and ultimately triumph. —Marc W.
Complicated and Powerful Emotional Journey
Shay Stone, the central character of this book, invites us into her life experience that slays all general notions of adoption myths and stereotypes. Her complicated and powerful emotional journey from trauma towards healing is authentic and relatable not just to transracial adoptees, but also to survivors of abuse who must navigate that road to accept themselves and take their first step onto their healing journey, despite the forces that hold them back. Thank you, Ms. Lee, for sharing this complex story, told from an adoptee’s point of view. —Jenny
Add this to your reading list!
Though I’m not an adoptee I could relate to so much of what happens in this book and I can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re interested in a novel that explores complex identities, abuse from people with narcissistic personality disorder and the effects of childhood trauma and international adoption, add this to your reading list! —Suze Dee
Explosively Emotional and Evocative!
Lee paints a heart-felt and heartbreaking narrative of her experiences as a transracial adoptee, as well as that of a survivor of narcissistic parental abuse. Journeying with her from unsure, gaslit child, to healing, self-assured woman is a privilege and (for those who take advantage) a learning experience. From the trauma of adoption to the traumas of emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse, Lee probes topics with a depth and nuance that many writers lack, never forsaking or manipulating the reader for reaction. I started Keurium curious and ended it with an abundance of compassion. Lee took her pain and refurbished it as a gift. —Emmy85
I read this wonderful novel in a single sitting. It’s an important, courageous novel whose characters, and especially the dialogue, ring remarkably true to life. It’s the perfect book to spend a Sunday afternoon engrossed in, and then spend the rest of your life understanding adoption, and in particular international adoption, from an entirely new perspective. —No Liars
Important and Poignant adoptee written story
“Having a good mother isn’t lucky. It’s a birthright.” Hit to the gut and written as only a fellow adoptee can, Keurium by JS Lee is a MUST read. I consumed this adoptee written novel in one weekend of traveling. I was mesmerized by the world of the book, although not in any comfortable or “feel good” way. In fact, quite the opposite. Especially striking are some threads of near universal hallmarks of the inner life of adoptees strung throughout the very unique circumstances of THIS particular story of life as lived through adoption. The main character, Shay, swings a catatonia/compliance pendulum as she not only navigates life as an adoptee and life in genetic isolation, but also the horrors of growing up in a home beset with abuse and narcissism. This book is beautifully written, affirming, hopeful, and healing. I was especially intrigued by themes of being raised not only in genetic isolation, but racial isolation as well. I want more opportunities to listen to these stories from intercountry adoptees and to see where our domestic and intercountry adoption experiences intersect and where they differ. —R. Dragon
What is a Keurium?
This is a wonderfully written book by JS Lee that packs an emotional punch, but also has moments of humor. The book describes the Korean word Keurium (그리움) as: “A longing for anything that has left a deep impression in the heart—such as a memory, person, or place.” After finishing the book, you may start to feel those deep impressions are life long scars.
Protagonist Shay Stone is a Korean adoptee in a wealthy, emotionally abusive, morally deficient, white family. Shay has a natural need to gain her adoptive mother’s approval and love, only to be continually denied both. Her adoptive father has secrets that threaten to tear apart the family and further alienate Shay from her adoptive family.
I felt sorry that Shay has neither biological or adoptive family. 그리움 is an appropriate word to describe how this reader longed for Shay to escape from the Stone’s abuse while also hoping they would magically change into a normal family. —J Kae
Realistic, authentic, genuine.
One of the best adoptee related books I have ever read. Why? Because the adoptee POV is realistic, authentic, genuine. It reflects why adoptee written stories matter.
The childhood aspects (mother-daughter dynamic) resonated quite a bit, touching on a lot of feelings I have had as a transracial adoptee. Some of the broader issues discussed in Keurium were ones I haven’t really seen in other books, fiction and non-fiction alike. Being adopted into a certain amount of wealth was an issue I was happy to see being shown. That aspect has had a profound impact in my life as an adoptee and it’s one I think is incredibly difficult to talk about.
Keurium not only brings a truthful adoptee voice to light, it also has a wonderful blend of humor and sadness intertwined into the story. The vignettes were an added bonus for me-I read the book in one sitting, unable to put it down. I laughed, I cried, I connected with the story in ways that were unexpected. Just an exceptional book in every way. —M.K.
An invaluable piece of truth!
J S Lee’s Keurium captures the lived experience of a transracial adoptee and covers an abundance of themes and challenges that many international adoptees face – often on a daily basis. Beautifully written and hard to put away, Shay’s story pulled me in from the get go and stayed on my mind even after putting the book down. I squirmed and cried and celebrated her personal growth with her. Even though Shay is a fictional character, I could very much relate to this woman, who is portrayed with so much depth that I have felt the author’s own essence and emotions in this authentic character. Accompanying Shay’s struggle to stand true to herself while being seized by a toxic environment is an inspiring journey I recommend every adoptee and non-adoptee to take. A invaluable piece of truth! —Tanner Olivia
Floating alone in the universe but desperately needing to connect
This book should be read by every adoptee and their loved ones! As an adoptee who has faced her fears (and slain at least some of the dragons) I was impressed with the authenticity of (protagonist) Shay’s journey. Although much about Keurium is fresh and unexpected, many of Shay’s emotions, thoughts and experiences mirrored my own. Ms. Lee has done a great service to adoptees (and especially interracial and/or international adoptees) by writing such an honest and full-spectrum book. Not only did I feel validation while reading Shay’s life, but i felt hope. (Really, validation and hope are the two things adoptees most yearn for). I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf. —Proudbastard Arts
Catatonia fairly describes "the fog" in which a transracial adoptee lives
JS Lee pierces the underbelly of international transracial adoption and presents the horror of living as “other” in an ocean of Whiteness, subjugated to the whims of adoptive parents with no overt qualms about violating the inner essence of “the fetish doll” they take into their home. Her story reflects the lived experiences of a transracial adoptee held captive in a land and culture from which there is no escape.
I recommend Keurium as an introduction to the world of transracial adoptees – be forewarned: The story is not pretty. —Brent A. Snavely
Beautiful and important
I bought this book right before my brain screeched to a halt in my daily devouring of adoption material. I had been reading anything I could get my hands on – especially if it was written by an adoptee. I bought Keurium while I was reading and my heart had to take a break, so this book sat on my night stand waiting to be opened for months. When I decided I was ready, I began reading and did not stop for 2 days. Keurium is so beautifully written, with small sections that allowed my heart space to take it in without being overwhelmed. I loved the way the author was able to address some universal themes of being adopted as well as what it means to be raised by a toxic family while weaving in a sweet love story not only between the narrator and her partner, but about learning how to love and care for herself. I’m sorry it took me so long to open the pages but am so very glad I finally did. —Rachel K
I read this book cover to cover and could not put it down once I got started. Even though my adoption was not international and was same race there were so many things I could relate too. I now how it is to be put on display to make your adopted parents look like good people. I know how it is to be manipulated for their needs to be centered. I know what it is like to be reminded of how lucky you are to have been adopted. I also know what it is to be a sexual abuse survivor.
This book is really an amazing read for adoptees, adopting parents, birth/first parents, and any one that works with them. I feel so inspired to finish the book I started years ago and to continue my blog. Thank you JS Lee. —Merika aka Orphan Girl
The Power of Self Love
Such a powerful story for not only adoptees but those who have had to fight to love themselves in spite of. Being an adoptee I could relate to this book on so many different levels. The author’s writing gets you so caught up in Shay that it is hard to put the book down because it leaves you wanting to know more. We live in a world that attempts to create a strong narrative against who we are and the truth so it was amazing to read a story that allows the main character to live in her truth and how healing that can be! I am definitely #TeamShay and would highly recommend reading this book. —Cindy Wilson
Insightful a courageous and powerful
Keurium is an unforgettable book! JS Lee is an outstanding, illustrious writer. A cat lover, mentor, and vegetarian. Need I say more? 😀Shay’s journey through the most absurd and exploitive trials are unfathomable and heart-breaking. Eloquently written and brutally raw, I found myself nodding, cheering (and crying) by her reactions and meaningful questions. She wins your heart over and over again with her profound insight, resilience and wisdom. Madonna’s “Live to Tell” has been my angry/cry song and I smiled when it was mentioned. Self-discovery, recovery and adventure is a must and so is this book! —m.t. Jaggers
Keurium is captivating
The captivating story of Shay Stone, a Korean American adoptee and her journey through catatonia and in finding her place in the world. Shay is a protagonist you will root for as she learns to honor her autonomy from her grossly dysfunctional adopters. Adoption and it’s many facets especially when it comes to transracial adoption are part of Shay’s story. As an adopter I really appreciate JS Lee taking on this difficult story as so much of the discussion surrounding adoption is told in the voice of adopters. Thank you JS Lee for sharing some hard truths and for creating such an admirable character in Shay. —Serialadopter
Stories that needed to be told
A good and fast read as the stories are compiled into short chapters. Finally a book with stories that needed to be told. Not only for the Adoptee Community to nod their heads at every word written so realistically but also for the Adoptive Family to recognize the traumatic lifestyle of keeping an adoptee in survival mode. This has been the most relatable adoptee book I have read so far having had a narcissistic adoptive father and victimized adoptive mother under the same roof. JS Lee thank you, this was eloquently written and an eye opening read. I needed to read this and highly recommend it. —Carrie Pace
A compelling, honest and well-written story
It’s funny how people’s “traditional view” of adoption is shaped by non-adoptees. Well, adopted people aren’t having it anymore and are writing their own stories. JS Lee’s “Keurium” is one such novel, a compelling, honest and well-written story about one adoptee’s struggle to face her demons and seize control of her own life. —Stephens/Pittman
A MUST READ for Everyone
Keurium is a MUST READ for everyone. As an Asian, transracial adoptee, I related to this novel on so many levels. JS Lee does a wonderful job weaving a story that explains the complexities and realities with transracial adoption. I found myself tearing up at so many passages because I finally read the words I struggled to express. Even if you are not in the adoption community, I highly encourage you to read this book and see a different perspective when it comes to adoption. —Lilly S.
An important read for all survivors of trauma
“Beyond the traumatic reruns in your brain, the sleepless nights, and the façade of normalcy that you lose once you awaken and remove yourself from harm, there is freedom.”
Through the journey of protagonist Shay Stone, author J S Lee explores a number of difficult issues including adoption, race, identity, and trauma. While J S Lee doesn’t shy away from exploring the nuance of what can feel like heavy themes, the story is not bleak. In fact, what I loved most about Keurium is how beautifully it captures the reawakening and healing that can come after surviving trauma itself. Through liberation, self discovery, and self care there is freedom. Keurium is an important read for all survivors of trauma – I highly recommend it! —Jennifer R.
It spoke to the things most people keep secret.
This is a well written fictional work that touches on very real and prevalent issues for adoptees, and persons that are victims of narcissistic abuse. Written from the perspective of a transracial adoptee, I highly recommend reading this book. Although fictional many parts of this book brought up memories and real world difficulties I have experienced. Be prepared to take breaks if you need to, but you won’t regret reading. —Courtney
An important adoptee voice!!
I absolutely loved this book! It is moving and emotional, well written and the characters are so real. JS Lee writes beautifully. The subject matter is important and can be heavy but Lee’s style is so intimate and warm and insightful but also comic and light when it needs to be! I could not put it down and yet I dreaded finishing it for I knew it means saying goodbye to Shea. I cannot wait for more book by this important adoptee voice!! —AmazonCustomer
One of my favorite books, if not THE favorite, by JS Lee
‘Keurium’ is an honest and unflinching narrative of a KAD (Korean Adoptee) woman’s journey through the multifaceted trials of being a survivor on so many levels. JS Lee takes us into the catatonic Shay’s memories and recollections of her struggles in dealing with racism, sexual assault, placement into an abusive family, and everyday battles of simply growing up as ‘other’. She has a beautiful and simplistic way of weaving all of this together in a relatable story that isn’t afraid to really dig into some of the darker questions and glossed over realities on living under her family’s savior complex and narcissism, in addition to being a survivor of sexual abuse and assault. The connection to Shay’s story is strengthened by being told in the first person perspective and guides us through the twists and turns of self realization and emotional awareness and growth and healing. Readers will undoubtedly be touched by Shay’s journey, if not relate to much of it themselves; from her moments of fragile spirit and questioning her own sanity, to finding her voice and her inner strength in dealing with a seemingly neverending uphill battle of establishing her self worth and owning her past in order to grow and push on. Truly a wonderful and heartfelt novel! I dare say this is my favorite book by JS Lee to date and I highly recommend it for anyone who finds beauty in the will to survive and love. —The Howling Tiger
Not shying away from the ugliness
J S Lee digs deep into the truth of her family, not shying away from the ugliness that is the narcissistic group of people who took Shay in and made her pay with her joy, confidence, and safety. As an adoptee, I related in a profound way to her feelings of doubt, but more importantly, her resolve and strength to honor her own heart and gut. If you’ve ever been made to second guess yourself in a relationship, Shay’s story will resonate with you. Thank you, Jessica, for your steadfast courage to share from your heart all the words I fail to speak. —Amazon Customer
Powerful and Important Read
Powerful and important read. I’m haven’t been much of a reader since college, but I finished this book in two days because it was so engaging. I have been doing my own grief work surrounding my adoption over the past couple of years. I related to Shay so much throughout this novel. My boyfriend and I recently suffered a couple of early pregnancy losses, which as an adoptee especially, is pretty soul crushing. Reading this book helped remind me that i’m not alone in this sorrow. I also, “want to morph into this shiny new woman who is okay without having a mother or child.” This line, broke me down, but in all the right ways. Thank you again! —awesomeaunt
Beautifully written, hard to put down
“Who we choose” and “Not for everyone” resonated profoundly but it was “Plan B” that brought me to tears. Shay’s story was written magnificently, in a way that takes hold of the reader and doesn’t let go. Would wholeheartedly love to see a sequel to Keurium.
Adoption stories can sometimes be glorified, overlooking the harsh realities one can face. As a transracial adoptee, the complexities of being adopted into whiteness as well as wealth were welcomed themes that speak an often unspoken truth. —Harley
Sometimes a story can sit with you for a while as you unpack all the triggers. Shay’s catharsis is as compelling and heart-wrenching as it is empowering. —Polly
Must read! Especially for those with ties to transracial and intercountry adoption!
Keurium is the first novel that has accurately mirrored many of the similar struggles as an intercountry adoptee. A close friend gifted me a copy of this knowing I had been hospitalized with some serious heart issues a few months back. Being close in age to the main character in Keurium, I connected with so much of her feelings towards her own story. Although it is heartbreaking, Keurium brings understanding to those who struggle with their happiness and feel the ongoing result of their early traumas. Keurium allowed me to validate my pre and post-adoption trauma as well as the contribution this trauma has had to me weakening heart. Emotional and physical health are so often interrelated.
Aside from adoption, I found Keurium extremely resonating in addressing multiple complicated family dynamics and secrecy; a norm for the American family.
Thank you JS Lee for your honesty in creating a story of the real adoptee experience. —hp12101
Choose this book!!
What a beautiful book. The author’s perspective is so intimate and vulnerable. Through the lead character of Korean adoptee Shay, topics of family dysfunction, racism, abuse, and neglect are all addressed with a singular fight to face what is true. Reading this book was not only an engaging experience for me, it left me with a new awareness of the real life issues of its contents. Somehow within the array of emotions , this book has a witty, innocent humor throughout and maintains a spiritually evolved perspective. Absolutely stunning. —Alice A.
A riveting and courage book.
‘Keurium’ (from the Korean 그리움 ‘longing’) is a powerful and beautifully written novel about a Korean adoptee who grows up in a wealthy but abusive family in Massachusetts. There are heartbreaking passages on how even in the most awful family moments, the central character of Shay is constantly told she should be grateful that she was rescued from an orphanage, and on her constant anxiety over whether she could be truly loved by her white parents. A riveting and courage book. Must have been hard to write, but she achieved something truly meaningful. Also, since it’s published by a smaller press, it should be better known through word of mouth. Please read and spread the news. —Minsoo K.
Written by an Adoptee, for Adoptees
I finished this book in less than two days because I couldn’t put it down. As an adoptee who also lost her first family and first culture, I found it to be an empowering story of an isolated and wounded adoptee taking back her power and her identity. I was cheering Shay on from page 1 until the end. This was written for the adoptees who didn’t get the fairytale—and those stories deserve to be heard too. –Bekah M
A fantastic read - recommended to anyone interested in family dynamics, trauma, and greater understanding of the human condition
A compelling novel written from the perspective of a transracial & transcultural adoptee coming to new understandings & realizations about herself, her adoptive family, and her partner. I read this as someone with several close friends who had adjacent experiences to the main character, and – as I read further – as someone with a lot more in common with her than I had anticipated. The story is beautifully crafted, with evocative phrasing and a natural structural flow. Moving, inspiring, and intensely though-provoking – far after the last page has been turned. –Pam L
Thought-provoking and moving, this is the story of a Korean adoptee’s journey of recovery from a lifetime of stigma, trauma, and abuse. It is well-paced with a strong voice, balancing its heavy subject matter with moments of wonder and humor. Highly recommended. –Kelly
I couldn't put it down!
Being a Korean adoptee I found the book very relatable and truthful from real life. It describes the dark parts of transracial adoption. The author being a Korean adoptee herself creates an accurate reality and fantasy world of a transracial adoptees. It was so good I finished it in 3 days. It was worth the buy and read. –Amazon Customer
I relate to every page
As a domestic “baby scoop” adoptee, I relate to every page of this book. I love that most of it is present day because so much of that part (social media, support groups) are happening to adoptees now that are just realizing what adoption trauma did to us. –Jenny
A refreshing Korean adoptee narrative
As a Korean adoptee myself, this book resonated with me on so many levels…we might all have different life experiences but there are so many shared feelings: desperately needing to belong but having that gnawing, ever present knowledge that you will never be good enough/grateful enough/blood enough for your family.
JS is able to weave these complex and oftentimes conflicting emotions into a fascinating narrative about an adoptee making peace with her past in order to create the life she envisions for herself, on her own terms. –MeeHee
Much to think about
Keurium by JS Lee should be a depressing and difficult to get through novel, but it’s not. Told in light, short vignettes full of witty and engaging dialogue, we learn about a young woman and why she is broken. Topics include adoption, race, rape, psychological abuse, mother, and the mind-body connection. Shay Stone takes a journey back in time within herself and then forward into who she will become. JS Lee gives us much to think about without making it a chore. –Junebug
Needed and Vital
In my experience when discussing the topic of adoption, there is this heavy one-sided narrative of “The Ideal Adoption experience”…
With that said, this book is needed for the adoption community, vital–because there is a dark side to adoption that no one wants to acknowledge or talk about.
My hopes are: as those who have been wounded by adoption begin to talk, and tell their truth of their own experience(s) that we give them the freedom to do so without the fear of judgement.
Thank you, Jessica Sun Lee! –Chelsey
Jessica Sun Lee’s writing drew me in and kept me wanting to know more. As a domestic adoptee from the baby scoop era in the 60’s – I was keen to the trauma of being out of place and left behind. But worse yet, growing up in a dysfunctional home with a narcissistic mother. I hesitated to read this book knowing the subject, afraid of being triggered. That did not happen. Instead I felt a kinship I haven’t felt in so long – to know I have not been alone as a “double whammy” adoptee.
I loved her writing style; it flowed and captured the intense emotional impact that was needed to tell the protagonist’s story. You know a book is good when you cannot stop thinking about it for days after completing it. –HB
A compelling read from start to finish
KEURIUM begins with a unique premise — a young woman in a catatonic state is trapped with her memories, confused about which memories are real and which are not.
This mystery is at the heart of the novel, which explores gaslighting, the complexity of transnational adoption, and the nature of consciousness. It’s a compelling read from start to finish because of its dramatic conflicts and the author’s excellent pacing.
As a sister adoptee who is also child abuse survivor, I found a great deal of affirmation in this book. But it’s first and foremost a great story that can capture any reader of good fiction. –Michele
A Journey of Self-Discovery
JS Lee explores the complicated issues of abuse, adoption, and identity in this uniquely told story about Shay, a Korean adoptee, who finds herself trapped in a catatonic state and is forced to face the memories she’s been trying to repress for far too long.
Lee takes us on a journey of self-discovery, but perhaps more importantly self-forgiveness and reconciliation. Abuse, by its very nature is a heavy topic, which inevitably shapes our identity. Our family circumstances also impact who we become and how we see ourselves, which is all the more complicated when adoption is part of the mix. Lee deftly handles these issues in a serious way without being heavy-handed or morose. At the end of the novel, you will be left with a sense of peace and hopefulness. –Krystina S.
Tragic and Insightful
Keurium is a tragic and insightful look at the often harsh realities of transracial, international adoption and the childhood trauma that so many adoptees have experienced. I am a Korean adoptee myself and, while my childhood was markedly different than Shay’s, so many of her feelings and reflection on adoption, gratitude, guilt, and keurium were instantly relatable. It’s amazing to see adoption and adoptee communities, culture, language, and common internal conflicts represented in a novel.
I hope readers of this novel who aren’t familiar with adoptee experiences (or who are close to and seeking to understand adoptees in their own lives) walk away with a more complex view of adoption than the traditional narrative of gratitude toward one’s adoptive parents and a lucky escape from terrible circumstances in an adoptee’s birth country and family. So happy that JS Lee wrote this important book to bring greater depth of representation to adoptee stories. –Amy