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?
Maude was adopted as a baby and she knows that her birth mother passed away, but she doesn't know much else. She enlists (or tries to enlist) her best friend in the search about her background. Unfortunately, friends grow apart and Treena has moved on with her life. Maude forges ahead on her own and Bennett decides to help Maude along the way. The growing attraction between Maude and Bennett is sweet, but not the main focus of the novel. The author handled the little crush/romance very well.
Maude's character was nice enough. She was definitely realistic as a teen. I vacillated between feeling that she was aggravating and feeling sorry for her and hoping she found out more about her mother. Bennett was very kind to help a stranger. He reminded me of a gentleman-something that seems rare in many young adult books. This book would be a great read to take on an airplane or to a beach.
ABOUT LAUREN GIBALDI:Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, MATT'S STORY (a Night We Said Yes novella), andAUTOFOCUS (out ), all with HarperTeen / HarperCollins. Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.
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