by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adoption, Coming of Age, Family
Rate: 2 Stars
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?
I had a really hard time getting into “Autofocus” by Lauren Gibaldi. I found myself not liking the main character at all and the story was extremely slow. The whole story is about growing up and who you want to become, which is awesome and I am all for that. At the same aspect, you still need a character that you love and think is fabulous and I just didn’t have that with Maude. Maude wouldn’t speak up. She wouldn’t let others what was going on in her head which ended up creating so much drama.
I was really looking forward to “Autofocus” because of the adoption aspect and I found that I just wasn’t impressed with how it was handled. I have an adoptive sibling, so it may be that I am more biased on the subject. I found that I didn’t care for how Maude looked at her parents. This photography project she is given is to show your family. Maude didn’t want to count her parents because it isn’t her birth parents, but that shouldn’t matter because these were the people that raised her.
This story focused so much on Maude’s birth mother that I slowly lost interest. Maude is obsessed. I get that she would want to know who gave birth to her but it was mentioned that she had already tried and it didn’t come out to good results. Now Maude is stocking her birth mom’s old classmates in order to find anything out and I feel like it becomes more of an obsession rather than being curious about where you came from. This book focuses more on Claire, Maude’s birth mother, than on Maude herself. I think it could have been portrayed better.
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.