Book Review: Return Addresses by Michael McLellan #BookReview #ReturnAddresses #Fiction @McLellanBooks

Return Addresses

By Michael A. McLellan

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My review:

Michael McLellan’s new book Return Addresses is a story about a young teen (Sean) who is dealing with grief and loss after losing both his parents. Sean is quickly thrust into protective services which places him in a problematic group home. Now he’s left to navigate all the turmoil that goes with it before deciding to take matters into his own hands. 

“The world’s a tough place and life deals us all a bad hand now and then but you can’t use it as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself and break the law whenever you want. You have to buck up and play the hand you’re dealt. You have to decide what sort of man you want to be.”

This was definitely an emotional read for me; my heart was racing at times…and then came tears. It’s written well with description and detail that pulls you in too. With that said, the events in this book about did me in, and no doubt there are triggers for certain readers. I’m not going to share these triggers because it’s my belief they can spoil a story. Needless to say, this book was hard to read at times, but it had such a hold on me that I couldn’t stop. I had to discover Sean’s fate, I was totally invested in him, and for that I simply couldn’t put this book down. The ending came fast, but it was wrapped up well and satisfying.

This book deals with multiple themes including courage, survival, death, displacement, injustice, and also deals with racism at times. It’s a scary reminder of the vulnerability of children and the weak in the hands of others with power. 

Michael McLellan has captivated me again with this new book. What a ride! I can’t wait for the next. 

5 stars


Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (April 9, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-8632368926

From Goodreads:

“This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust nobody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.”

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2019 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?


About the author:

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

You can find this author at:

Twitter | Goodreads | Website


Thanks for reading my review! Have you read any books by Michael McLellan? Let’s chat in the comment’s section!

❤️ Mischenko 

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Return Addresses by Michael McLellan #BookReview #ReturnAddresses #Fiction @McLellanBooks

  1. Michael Mclellan

    Thanks, Jenn. Your ongoing support of my work has been nothing short of amazing and has helped prop me up on more than one occasion when I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel.
    As always, my very best wishes to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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