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Inconvenient Daughter


A vibrant and provocative debut novel that dispels myths surrounding transracial adoption.

$15.95 $11.96

What people are saying…

Inconvenient Daughter received the IPPY Awards GOLD Medal in Multicultural Fiction!

Inconvenient Daughter is Foreword Reviews’ Foreword INDIES 2020 Silver Winner for Multicultural (Adult Fiction)!

“A transracial Korean adoptee works through identity questions and the aftereffects of abuse in search of self-acceptance.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a Summer Reading Pick

“[Sharkey] tackled a very powerful subject line and conveyed the emotions through Rowan in a heartfelt way.”
Hey It’s Carly Rae

“Rowan’s journey to healing, and a form of redemption too, is a five year quest—and one that leaves you begging for a sequel.”
Exclusive Magazine

“In Sharkey’s stirring . . . debut, a transracial adoptee of Korean descent endures a crisis of identity . . . Sharkey achieves a moving account of Rowan’s difficult reckoning with her identity. This is an adept portrayal of the long shadow of abuse and the difficulty of being an adoptee.”
Publishers Weekly

“This debut novel vividly details the awkwardness of high school and heartbreak of rejection. Rowan’s first-person narrative voice provides sharp, devastating emotional insight.”
Kirkus Reviews

Included in The Rumpus’s What to Read When You Want to Celebrate Women’s History

“Lauren J. Sharkey’s masterfully plotted portrait of Rowan, a smart and willful young woman in wild rebellion against the life she’s been handed, is so raw and honest, written with such passion and heart, you turn the pages rooting for her to love herself as much as the reader and her indomitable adopted mother do. Inconvenient Daughter delivers this and so much more.”
—Beverly Donofrio, author of Astonished: A Story of Healing and Finding Grace

“Lauren J. Sharkey’s emotionally searing novel chronicles its heroine’s quest to forge her true self. Deeply felt and intensely written, Inconvenient Daughter speaks to the need we all have to find our place in the world, our place of belonging and acceptance. This is a powerful and stunning literary debut.”
—Sue William Silverman, author of Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction

“Steel, raw love, and rage forge the relationships between Rowan Kelly and her family. Inconvenient Daughter illuminates with cutting truth the layers of longing and grief which underlie a transracial adoption. Author Lauren J. Sharkey shines a light on how the truth of being loved and belonging can transcend the construct of biology. Sharkey provides heart-rending insight that never dips into false sentimentality, wrapped in a sharply written, intense, and page-turning novel. I simply loved this book.”
—Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Waisted

“Rare is the book willing to confess how essential belonging is, to detail the myriad ways we both seek it and suffer from its absence. Readers will discover in Sharkey’s prose a truth few authors have the honesty to acknowledge or the courage to reveal.”
—Kevin Clouther, author of We Were Flying to Chicago


Rowan Kelly knows she’s lucky. After all, if she hadn’t been adopted, she could have spent her days in a rice paddy, or a windowless warehouse assembling iPhones—they make iPhones in Korea, right? Either way, slowly dying of boredom on Long Island is surely better than the alternative. But as she matures, she realizes that she’ll never know if she has her mother’s eyes, or if she’d be in America at all had her adoptive parents been able to conceive.

Rowan sets out to prove that she can be someone’s first choice. After running away from home—and her parents’ rules—and ending up beaten, barefoot, and topless on a Pennsylvania street courtesy of Bad Boy Number One, Rowan attaches herself to Never-Going-to-Commit. When that doesn’t work out, she fully abandons self-respect and begins browsing Craigslist personals. But as Rowan dives deeper into the world of casual encounters with strangers, she discovers what she’s really looking for.

With a fresh voice and a quick wit, Lauren J. Sharkey dispels the myths surrounding transracial adoption, the ties that bind, and what it means to belong.

A debut novel on our Kaylie Jones Books imprint.

Read Lauren J. Sharkey’s Book Notes playlist at Largehearted Boy

Read a conversation with Lauren J. Sharkey at the Adoption Reunion Search & Support.

Watch an interview with Lauren J. Sharkey at Pressenza’s Face 2 Face

Listen to an interview with Lauren J. Sharkey at DIY MFA

Book Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Published: 6/23/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757099
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758379
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617759345


LAUREN J. SHARKEY is a writer, teacher, and transracial adoptee. After her birth in South Korea, she was adopted by Irish Catholic parents and raised on Long Island. Sharkey’s creative nonfiction has appeared in the Asian American Feminist Collective’s digital storytelling project, First Times, as well as several anthologies including I Am Strength! and Women under Scrutiny. Inconvenient Daughter is her debut novel, and is loosely based on her experience as a Korean adoptee. You can follow her at ljsharks.com.

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