By: Lauren Gibaldi
Published: June 14th 2016 by Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--From the author of The Night We Said Yes comes a fun and heartfelt YA contemporary tale. When Maude decides to search for information about her birth mother, she finds out more than she expected. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Susane Colasanti.
Family. It’s always been a loaded word for Maude, whose birth mother died after giving her up for adoption. With her best friend, Treena, in college in the same town where her birth mother grew up, Maude decides to visit and explore her past. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena doesn’t seem to have time for her—or for helping with 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, she starts to realize that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.
I was pleasantly surprised with Lauren Gibaldi's release last year, The Night We Said Yes. So when I saw Autofocus avaliable for review I was excited to see what was next for Lauren Gibaldi.
Stories about adoption and the journey to find out how much of one's self is from birth and how much is learned is not entirely original. Even though I'm not adopted, I cannot imagine not being curious about my birth family had I been. And that's exactly what's going on with Maude. She's been assigned a photography project about family and she just feels like not exploring her birth family would be leaving out a huge part of herself from the project. The problem is Maude knows very little about her birth mother and nothing about her birth father. The only real thing that Maude knows is that her birth mother went to college for a brief time at FSU in Tallahassee. Fortunately for her, her best friend Treena currently attends FSU.
Autofocus wasn't really about learning about her mother so much as Maude learning about herself. It was one of those "coming of age" stories. And even though those are usually not my favorite, Autofocus is one of the exceptions. Well I mean, it's still not really a "favorite", but it was a decent and enjoyable finding yourself story.
And it's not just Maude, but Maude's friend, Treena, is also going through a similar journey of finding herself. She's not searching for her birth family because she's not adopted, but she's trying to figure out who she is apart from her parents and even apart from Maude. I was frustrated with Treena through a lot of Autofocus, especially, how quickly she was to settle for less than she deserved.
During Maude's trip, Treena was supposed to be there to help her out. Unfortunately, Treena is at the very beginning of a new relationship. You know the one. The stage where nothing else matters but spending time with the new love interest. I can totally relate, but I'm also so glad that I don't have to endure that stage anymore myself. Because Treena's a bit preoccupied, Maude spends most of her journey discovering herself and her story with Bennett, a friend of Treena's from school.
Bennett was great. He's there for Maude in a way that can't help but bond the two together. Of course, feelings develop. And I really enjoyed the build of their friendship to more.
Autofocus is a "coming of age"/"finding yourself" story about a girl trying to learn how much of her is born into her versus how much she's learned and absorbed from her adoptive parents. I could related to her feelings even if I've never experienced those exact feelings myself. I could definitely understand the new relationship feelings and the feelings of a friend you count on not being there. Autofocus left things a bit open ended. Sometimes I prefer my stories to be a bit more wrapped up, and sometimes I like them open. The open ending for Autofocus ended up being a good thing in my opinion. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Night We Said Yes, but it was still a solid read. Autofocus gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Autofocus? What did you think? Let me know!