Wednesday, June 8, 2016

{Blog Tour} Autofocus - Lauren Gibaldi (Review & Giveaway)

by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adoption, Coming of Age, Family
Rate: 5/5



It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

To start this book was amazing and I just couldn’t put it down.  The book follows Maude a senior who is assigned a photography project by her teacher based on family as the topic.   Maude was adopted right when she was born and she only knows that her mother passed away at her birth due to an unknown heart condition.  Maude has been completely raised by her adoptive parents who were very open with her about her adoption.  So in Maude’s mind her family is incomplete since she doesn’t know about her birth mother.

We learn a lot about Maude as a person.  She is honestly just trying to find herself and she thinks learning more about her mother will lead her to learn more about herself, which is why she embarks upon the journey to FSU.  Maude went through a previous journey in trying to find out about her birth mother, but didn’t really turn anything up.  She only knows that she went to FSU and grew up in Tallahassee.   Maude is a lot more mature now and is on the path to discovering herself.

I loved the friendship between Maude and Treena.  First and foremost all friendships I think go through growing pains because sometimes you are not always on the same milestone in your life as your friend.  I feel one of the hardest things to handle in a friendships is when one of you is obtaining a new milestone in your life while the other is still in another stage of their life.  We can see that Treena is at a new milestone in her life of being in college for the first time.  Maude is still in high school so they are at different stages. Treena is working on redefining herself and Maude needs to work with that and accept that.   The growing pains they experience in their relationship are something that I love that the author dove into and she did a great job summing up what happened.  The author also did a great job with Maude being able to look at the situation from a more mature perspective.   In my mind the author captured perfectly the change in the friendship.  

I love the relationship that develops between Maude and Bennett.  She is very upfront and honest with him when she gets there that she isn’t looking to go to some guy’s room.  Bennett steps up into the role of best friend for Maude when Treena is working on recreating herself.  Bennett really listens to Maude and he is excellent with suggestions.  They have a great banter back and forth that make the story really keep moving and you are pushing for them to end up together as you read.

Maude learns a lot about her mother on her journey by visiting places and talking to people who knew her mother.  This is very challenging for Maude since some of the information was not exactly what she expected to hear.   Maude does a lot of internalizing with the information she learns and really takes it and grows by the end of the book. 

I would suggest this as a weekend read; I got completely sucked in on the plane and couldn’t stop reading.   It really hits on a lot of issues of not only friendship, but new relationship, reinventing yourself, adoption, and family.   The author did an amazing job handling so many issues that you never felt overwhelmed while reading the story was very logical.

I received a copy of this book from The Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of this book.

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Follow the Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, MATT'S STORY (a Night We Said Yes novella), and AUTOFOCUS (out 6/14/16), all with HarperTeen / HarperCollins. Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.

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