Somewhere Sisters

A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family
by Erika Hayasaki

Shipping to the U.S. only. Please see our International FAQ for more information.


Also available at

Identical twins Isabella and Hà were born in Vietnam and raised on opposite sides of the world, each knowing little about the other’s existence, until they were reunited as teenagers, against all odds.
The twins were born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, in 1998, where their mother struggled to care...

Read More

Published By Algonquin Books

Format Hardback


Number Of Pages 320

Publication Date 10/11/2022

ISBN 9781616209124

Dimensions 6.5 inches x 9.25 inches

"Somewhere Sisters is stirring and unforgettable — a breathtaking adoption saga like no other; a provocative exploration into the ideas of family and belonging; and a deeply meaningful meditation on what makes us who we are and what connects us to one another.”
— Robert Kolker, New York Times-bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road and Lost Girls

Somewhere Sisters is a heartbreaking, many times maddening tale of three adoptees, two of whom are twins separated at birth, who find themselves at the intersection of nature and nurture, fighting against fate and circumstance to carve out their own destinies. Seamlessly weaving historical context with brilliant reportage, Hayasaki delivers an incisive and poignant exploration of the world of transracial adoption and twinship, bearing witness to the profound struggles of those caught between two worlds, trying to define themselves.” 
— Ly Tran, author of House of Sticks

“Hayasaki contextualizes [the sisters’] stories in the larger history of transracial and transnational adoption, as well as nature-nurture science, making for a nuanced portrait.”
— NPR, Best Books of 2022

“Expertly reported, this tale of Vietnamese twins separated in infancy and raised in a world apart challenges perceptions of international adoption.”
— People Magazine

“Hayasaki, a journalist who spent five years tracing the girls’ diverging paths, writes a sensitive, well-researched account of the years before and after their emotional reunion.”
— The Washington Post

“Journalist Erika Hayasaki chronicles the unbelievable timeline of twin sisters Isabella and Hà…a heart-wrenching tale told with compassion.”
— Buzzfeed

“A talented journalist, Hayasaki has meticulously reported this story, touching on complex topics such as the ethics of adoption, Asian American identity, how siblings reunite, and more.”
— Shondaland

“Hayasaki explores the many dimensions of transracial and transnational adoption in this moving account of families torn apart.”
— The Cut

“Erika Hayasaki lays out what happened to both twins, and what their story can teach us about family, nature and nurture, and adoption.”
— Bustle

"Deeply researched, artfully woven, and lyrically written, Somewhere Sisters explores the harsh reality behind international transracial adoption. Hayasaki is a master storyteller, and her compassion for her subjects is evident on every page. Her meticulous exploration into the dark legacy of nature-nurture studies, American saviorism, and the science of attachment is a powerful addition to our understanding of the lifelong impact of adoption."
— Gabrielle Glaser, author of the New York Times notable book American Baby

“Well-researched and compassionately written, Somewhere Sisters is a journey from separations to reunions, from individual lives to the history of adoption. Urgent and compelling, this book asks important questions about responsibility and ethics and will inspire all of us as we work toward a more responsible and inclusive society.”
— Nguyen Phan Que Mai, author of the international bestseller The Mountains Sing

"Erika Hayasaki has produced an elegant exploration of race and nationality. This intimate, meticulously reported portrait of an impoverished Vietnamese mother and her twin daughters, who were separated by adoption, is a not only a compelling story, but one that touches on profound questions of human identity.”
— Barbara Demick, author of Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town and Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

“Hayasaki reveals the racial and class prejudices at the root of such adoptions without losing sight of the complexities of human emotions and family ties. This is a clear-eyed and well-grounded take on a thorny social issue.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Hayasaki weaves their reflections about belonging, heritage, and identity—gleaned from hundreds of hours of interviews with the girls and their birth and adoptive families—with a broad consideration of adoption and twin studies that aim to shed light on the extent to which genes and environment shape human behavior, personality, and development. An engaging portrait of intersected lives.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating and moving on its own, the sisters' complex story of growing up, both together and apart, is complemented by Hayasaki's illumination of the personal, psychological, and sociocultural realities of adoption.”
— Booklist

SOMEWHERE SISTERS should be required reading for anyone considering intercountry and/or transracial adoption. Even-handed and balanced, Hayasaki’s book is a vivid, searing portrait of the complex realities behind the simple saviorism that is so often the impetus for foreign adoptions.”
— Washington Independent Review of Books, "Our 51 Favorite Books of 2022"

“This book raises so many critical questions about the responsibility of wealthier countries and their attitude toward adoption in countries that they often left after years of colonization and war… A very emotional and human account of finding out what the meaning of family is.”
— San Diego Union Tribune

“This incredible true story is as fascinating as any novel... Journalist Erika Hayasaki interviewed family members extensively in order to write this nuanced tale of transracial adoption, nurture-versus-nature, and sisterhood.” 
— BookBub