Friday, December 27, 2019

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaria

Rating: Unrated | 384 Pages| Contemporary YA  |  | Release Date: 2/26/2019

Angie's family has always been her and her mother Marilyn. Their bond is unbreakable but when Angie finds evidence that there might be more to the death of the father she never knew; she sets off on a road trip to L.A with her estranged ex-boyfriend to where the story of her past began. Which is where Marilyn's story starts in 1998 Los Angeles.

One of the things that intrigued me about this book was the idea of telling a story of teenagers in two different decades.  Angie's story focuses on her complicated relationship with her ex-boyfriend and her fear of love and commitment but the parts that stand out about her story are the ones that tied to her mother's.  Marilyn's story had more weight to it as she and her mother find themselves relying on the charity of an alcoholic uncle after Marilyn's burgeoning acting/modeling career hits a standstill.  Dellaria really digs into life as a teen in L.A with not much money, time to spare and big dreams.  Marilyn has ambitions outside fame and finds a kindred spirit in James her Black teenage neighbor. It's illuminating going back and forth and watching how Marilyn's dreams and hopes for the future inform Angie's present.

With that said there is a reveal about Angie's father towards the end that *slight spoiler* has to do with Marilyn's racist uncle and police brutality that I wish could have been explored more. The trauma felt so focused on Marilyn and not on the Black family that was torn apart.

In Search of Us is a tidy short YA-novel with a unique structure but the ultimate tragedy in this book didn't quite get its full due.

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