Review & Giveaway: Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Auto Focus
by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre/s: Contemporary, realistic fiction
Age Category: Young Adult
No. of pages: 352 pages (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780062302236

“The mother I knew would never do those things.

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'm a very realistic person. That's probably why I like reading realistic fiction. I personally think that realistic fictions were well made (I'm speaking generally here, but not for all the novels under this genre). This novel fell under that category. The well-made-well-thought-out book.

I haven't read Lauren Gibaldi's debut novel, I have a copy though, so I'm not sure what to expect or whether I would like this book. Turns out, I didn't even have to worry. It's the kind of book that hooked me right from the first word, FAMILY, down to the last. Her writing style is just my style. It's really easy to delve into the world she's woven. It's amazing how Lauren Gibaldi brought us a very realistic situation: being adopted and being curious why your biological parents gave you up. I am not well verse with adoption but if I were to put in the main character's. Maude's, shoes I'd be curious, too. Adoption, from what I can see, is a quite sensitive and daunting topic. And for that alone, hands down to you, Lauren.

The set of characters were pretty good. Maude, our main character, was a flawed character (like every other character in any novel) but despite that, she's still a very like-able character. Behind her, always, is her adoptive parents. It's just great to see very supportive parents in a sea of abusive parents. I had a trouble liking the other characters, though. Treena, her supposed "best friend", were pretty hard to like. Whenever I read her name I think, here we go again with the drama.

I like romance but for this book I really wish that the romance were toned down a bit. Don't get me wrong, I so like Bennett and Maude, they're fun to follow. I would have like it if the whole situation were further explored, though. I have a ton of unanswered question and I would have love it if those were answered.

Overall, this was such a beautiful book. No question about it. It just is.

Maybe I don't want to start over. Maybe I like who I am.


Maybe it's easy to change completely if you haven't changed at all.


I think it's up to you, to be who you want.


The half of knowledge is to know where to find knowledge.


Who wants to paint orange when you can paint the sky?


It's easy to give up, and hard to stay unconquered. Greatness didn't come from giving up.


Maybe that's what college is about after all. Not just discovering yourself, but discovering what makes you happy- whatever it might be.


I'm different. And because of that, I can be whoever I want. I just need to decide who that person is.

About the author:
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.
Author links:

Autofocus & The Night We Said Yes swag pack 06/18
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