In Search Of Us

In Search Of Us

The author of the beloved Love Letters to the Dead returns with a parallel story of a mother and daughter each at age seventeen. Marilyn's tale recounts the summer she fell in love and set out on her own path. Angie's story is about her search for her unknown father.This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie...

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Title:In Search Of Us
Author:Ava Dellaira
Rating:
Edition Language:English

In Search Of Us Reviews

  • Kate (beautifulbookland)

    I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of

    - I read it while I was in hospital, and I literally can’t remember a thing about it aside from the fact that I struggled to finish it. But now I’m thinking I might try it again, because

    is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. It made my heart soar and then drop and then break, and I am going to shove it in everyone’s faces because I love it so much.

    This story is set in two different t

    I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of

    - I read it while I was in hospital, and I literally can’t remember a thing about it aside from the fact that I struggled to finish it. But now I’m thinking I might try it again, because

    is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. It made my heart soar and then drop and then break, and I am going to shove it in everyone’s faces because I love it so much.

    This story is set in two different time frames; Angie in present day, and Marilyn, her mam when she was seventeen and met Angie’s father, James. We follow Angie as she hunts for information about the father she never knew, and we also get the story from Marilyn as she falls in love with James.

    Do you ever read about a couple and they just make your heart burst? Because that was me with Marilyn and James; their love was sweet and beautiful and pure, and I adored them. I was legit scared towards the end of the book because I just wanted them to have their happy ending so badly. Theirs is a story I will hold in my heart and my thoughts for a long time.

    Angie, however, I struggled with. She was so wrapped up in her grief and in her problems that she often came off as selfish - running away from her mother, leaving her on her own, without telling her anything? If I did that, my mam would literally kick my arse. My life wouldn’t have been worth living.

    One thing that did really stick out for me in relation to Angie was the fact that, as a mixed race child, was often believed to have been someone else’s daughter, not Marilyn’s, who was white. I literally cannot imagine how difficult that would be for a child, and it made my heart hurt.

    Ava’s writing blew me away; it’s so vivid and enchanting. There were times where I swore I could smell hot dogs and the sea and sand. The descriptions were so beautiful, it made me want to pack up and move to LA to experience them all for myself.

    Another thing I really loved was how little things played a part in both stories. I loved the little parallels between Angie and James, and I loved how Angie would see something, like a black swing dress, and then we would get to see the history behind it and when Marilyn would wear it.

    I loved all of this book, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. I would recommend

    to everyone - I will most certainly treasure it.

    *thanks to Readers First for providing a review copy*

  • katwiththehat

    This was so SO good! A cleverly woven tale told in two timelines about two sets of mothers and daughters. Angie is biracial and has grown up with her white mother, having never met her father (who her mother claims is dead.) While their relationship is loving, her mother is very secretive, and Angie has always felt a need to know about her past. She has an on again off again relationship with Sam, which is one of my favorite parts of the book. The author is really good at writing flawed, interes

    This was so SO good! A cleverly woven tale told in two timelines about two sets of mothers and daughters. Angie is biracial and has grown up with her white mother, having never met her father (who her mother claims is dead.) While their relationship is loving, her mother is very secretive, and Angie has always felt a need to know about her past. She has an on again off again relationship with Sam, which is one of my favorite parts of the book. The author is really good at writing flawed, interesting relationships that feel authentic.

    In the other timeline, we have Marilyn (Angie’s mother) and James (her father) back when they were Angie’s age, and it’s interesting to watch them slowly inching towards what we know will happen (Angie) while not knowing precisely what their ultimate fates will be. And again, this book is all about mother/daughter relationships, and Marilyn’s relationship with her mother is really what draws the two timelines together. This had great narrative voice and kept me engaged all the way through.

    Trigger warnings:

    Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  • Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)

    I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. I fell in love with Dellaira’s writing from the first time I read Love Letters to the Dead, and I’ve read it several times since. I was so excited to get a copy of her new book!

    Angie has never known her father. Raised by a single mother, Marilyn, who would do anything for her, she still feels as though an important part of herself is missing. Her dad was African Amer

    I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. I fell in love with Dellaira’s writing from the first time I read Love Letters to the Dead, and I’ve read it several times since. I was so excited to get a copy of her new book!

    Angie has never known her father. Raised by a single mother, Marilyn, who would do anything for her, she still feels as though an important part of herself is missing. Her dad was African American, her mother white, and there are things about growing up as a mixed-race child that Marilyn could never understand. Teenaged Marilyn dreamed only of getting out from under her mother’s oppressive illusion of making her a famous actress and going away to college. She wasn’t planning to meet James and fall in love, and she was never planning to raise their child without him. When Angie discovers that Marilyn may have been lying about her father’s death, she travels to L.A. with a friend in the hopes of finding him–and herself.

    This book is really well done. The chapters alternate between Angie in the present, searching for her family in L.A., and Marilyn in the past when she met and fell in love with James. While the chapter lengths vary (a lot), it doesn’t seem to throw off the pacing, and I enjoyed the subtle crossover between the past and present–little things that Angie and James have in common, pieces of him that Marilyn passed along to her without her ever knowing. The novel really emphasizes how important personal history is. Angie’s big question is: if we don’t know our pasts and our parents’ pasts, can we ever really know ourselves?

    Dellaira’s writing is as solid and beautiful as it was in Love Letters to the Dead, and I’m still in love with her style. I highlighted so many things as I was reading; it’s such a quotable book. I did have a small problem with the present tense. The entire novel, even Marilyn’s sections which are technically in the past, is written in present except for when the characters are reflecting on something, and the transitions are awkward. This is usually the kind of thing I stop noticing as I get further into a novel, but I didn’t. More than once, it jarred me right out of the story.

    I really enjoyed Angie’s search for her history and the tension set up by being a mixed race child with a white mother, and those continual microagressions about how they can’t be related because they don’t look alike are especially poignant. Angie and Marilyn’s relationship is also really well done, and it’s nice to see a functional mother/daughter relationship that still has its problems (and works through them). Angie’s love interest is so bland though. There’s nothing wrong with Sam, but I was bored every minute of page time they spent together and had no interest in their little dramas.

    I think this is why I found Marilyn’s sections so much more compelling than Angie’s. By comparison, Marilyn and James’s romance is the breath-stealing one in the book. Marilyn’s circumstances with her mother and her racist, alcoholic uncle are so much more dire, and James the far more interesting and well-developed character. While Marilyn gets Angie out of everything, it’s painful to know that their love story doesn’t work out. We don’t know quite why or how it doesn’t–whether James died in a car accident like she said, whether he’s still alive somewhere, or whether something else entirely happened–but we know that James isn’t there for Angie’s life. It’s an unexpectedly heavy novel, but it handles its issues with sensitivity and a deft hand. I would definitely re-read and recommend.

    I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.

  • Thamy

    I wasn't ready for something so beautiful.

    Told in two timelines, we follow Marilyn's romance with her neighbor, who is a black boy, while she struggles to follow her mother's dream and bear with her uncle's addiction to gambling. And we also follow her daughter's search for her father eighteen years later, having been lied to a whole life Angie comes across an article on her uncle, who was supposedly dead. Now she has a chance to travel all the way to LA, even if she has to beg her ex-boyfriend

    I wasn't ready for something so beautiful.

    Told in two timelines, we follow Marilyn's romance with her neighbor, who is a black boy, while she struggles to follow her mother's dream and bear with her uncle's addiction to gambling. And we also follow her daughter's search for her father eighteen years later, having been lied to a whole life Angie comes across an article on her uncle, who was supposedly dead. Now she has a chance to travel all the way to LA, even if she has to beg her ex-boyfriend Sam for a hike.

    There is a number of books that explore social themes very directly, this isn't one. And yet, the issues are so present it stings. I was very fond of how subtly Dellaira introduced it all. The relationship issues between Marilyn's mother and her grandmother, then between Marilyn herself and her mother, and finally between Marilyn and Angie, as each generation tries to be better than the preceding but fails in other parts for overcompensating. It's beautiful!

    When I thought it would end there, the underlying problem of prejudice on Angie's paternal family side emerged. Unfortunately, that wasn't as beautiful. This book doesn't ask you to think about it, it shows the characters' reality and its consequences; it made me feels anxious at times; at others, very bitter.

    Both main characters had their own way of thinking and reacting, everyone was very round and well developed. I'm not fond of drama YA's, I like have fun with them, swooning over my book boyfriends. And yet, this was so well written, it was a pleasure. Also, it had the right doses of drama, in no moment I felt the author overdid it. On the contrary, the story just kept going like life, with no time to digest.

    It's a great book for a book club! And it'll also appeal to older crowds, not only for the quality of the narrative but also for the flashbacks. Having been a teenager in the 90's myself, I felt like going back in time whenever the narrator changed to Marilyn.

    So why not give it five stars? It is kind of a personal system and it's inevitable to compare. This was good but it wasn't the best, if you get what I mean. Additionally, it just stood out for quality. When you think of the plot, girl searching for a father she's never met, there isn't much new there. But this just means it wasn't stellar, it's still a solid four-star read. I can't think of someone not to recommend this book.

    Honest review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.

  • Jasprit

    4.5 stars

    I went into In Search of Us not really knowing much about the book, I’d seen

    give the book a five star rating and that’s all I needed to give this book a go. To be honest I really did struggle with the beginning of the book, the chapters alternate with perspectives from Angie in the present and her mum Marilyn in the past. And I found myself more interested in following Angie’s perspective, I wanted to follow her story and longing in discovering the truth in what happened with her f

    4.5 stars

    I went into In Search of Us not really knowing much about the book, I’d seen

    give the book a five star rating and that’s all I needed to give this book a go. To be honest I really did struggle with the beginning of the book, the chapters alternate with perspectives from Angie in the present and her mum Marilyn in the past. And I found myself more interested in following Angie’s perspective, I wanted to follow her story and longing in discovering the truth in what happened with her father. But as the story progressed, I began to understand the importance of getting Marilyn’s story from the past, it played such an integral part to how far Marilyn had come and the person Angie had become today.

    Dellaira gave us such a beautiful story with In Search of Us, I enjoyed going on this incredible journey with Angie to discover the truth about her father, the risks she took to get there and the fear that she had to deal with when she found out the truth. Angie was a character who I immensely liked, yes, she made mistakes along the way when she just had one focus in mind, but what 17-year-old would travel to LA to try and find her uncle, with only titbits of information? Yes, she was going behind her mum’s wishes, but I could understand her sense of longing and answers that she needed after she had first discovered the photo of her parents. I kind of had a feeling about how things would end up for Angie when she got to LA, but nothing could have prepared me for her story. It was heartfelt and raw, and left such a lasting impression with me.

    In Search of Us was just a beautifully written story, I couldn’t praise Dellaira enough in giving us such a wonderful story. The overlap in stories from Marilyn and Angie was done majestically, with Dellaira constantly keeping us on our toes with us not knowing what could be around the corner. In Search of Us was really a gem of a read, one that I will be constantly thinking and talking about in the upcoming weeks.

  • Warda

    Oh gosh, this story was incredibly and beautifully written.

    So, the book is about Marylin and Angie who is mixed race. A mother and her daughter. Set in two different time frames, it follows both of their stories, intertwining beautifully, to tell the story of how they came to where they are now.

    I don't want to get too detailed about the synopsis, so I'll leave it at that.

    The tone of the story was just sad, full of melancholy and hope and the attachment got deeper as I read on. The type of feeli

    Oh gosh, this story was incredibly and beautifully written.

    So, the book is about Marylin and Angie who is mixed race. A mother and her daughter. Set in two different time frames, it follows both of their stories, intertwining beautifully, to tell the story of how they came to where they are now.

    I don't want to get too detailed about the synopsis, so I'll leave it at that.

    The tone of the story was just sad, full of melancholy and hope and the attachment got deeper as I read on. The type of feeling that is left within the inner parts of your heart when you finish reading a wonderful story and that you recount in your mind.

    I highly recommend it if you love a story about family, identity, first love, grief and following your dreams.

  • Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)

    I won a copy of In Search Of Us via the website Readers First!

    This was such an emotional novel, I can't even begin to sit down to type this review up and process my thoughts because my mind is a freaking mess. But what I will say is the plotline and characters were very well-developed, the settings of California and New Mexico were interesting to witness. There are two POVs: Marilyn and her daughter Angie. Angie is a seventeen year old who never knew her father, he died before she was born. With

    I won a copy of In Search Of Us via the website Readers First!

    This was such an emotional novel, I can't even begin to sit down to type this review up and process my thoughts because my mind is a freaking mess. But what I will say is the plotline and characters were very well-developed, the settings of California and New Mexico were interesting to witness. There are two POVs: Marilyn and her daughter Angie. Angie is a seventeen year old who never knew her father, he died before she was born. With so many unanswered questions however, she sets out with her friend/ex-boyfriend Sam on a road trip to Los Angeles to find the answers to the unanswered questions. Angie's POV is set in the present day but Marilyn's POV is from the past when she was only seventeen. I really enjoyed the dual POV, seeing both sides of the story come to life. I adore road trip novels, so many songs and bands were mentioned (shout-out to those of you who like Christine and the Queens!) that made me feel nostalgic about past road trips I've been on.

    It was an emotional read of soul-searching, love in the past and present and discovering family history. My copy does contain a warning for strong language which I appreciated by being in the know in advance. The pacing was a little slow at times, the beginning wasn't the easiest to get into. But once I got past the first 100 pages, it was absolutely fine. Utterly heartbreaking, In Search Of Us will break your heart but immediately fix it again. This one will be a book I'd be happy to re-read in the future!

  • Ingstje

    4.5 stars

    This is just one of those books that really fill your heart and makes you sad and smile and it’s all happening at the same time you know. There’s a mystery and a love story at the base of this novel. They’ll meet in the proverbially perfect and heart-shattering middle.

    The novel switches between Angie wanting to know more about her father and trying to find out if he’s dead or alive, and how it all started with her father and Marilyn, Angie’s mother. I loved seeing the romance between Ma

    4.5 stars

    This is just one of those books that really fill your heart and makes you sad and smile and it’s all happening at the same time you know. There’s a mystery and a love story at the base of this novel. They’ll meet in the proverbially perfect and heart-shattering middle.

    The novel switches between Angie wanting to know more about her father and trying to find out if he’s dead or alive, and how it all started with her father and Marilyn, Angie’s mother. I loved seeing the romance between Marilyn and James develop and how she was welcomed into his warm family. You know that they’re not together any more and Marilyn still can’t think of him without tearing up so I was prepared for something terrible to happen but when I came to that part of the novel the impact was still bigger than I anticipated. I knew it was coming, couldn’t avoid it try as I might, and still was quite in shock.

    Both plotlines, Angie’s search in the present and Marilyn’s encounter with James, at the same age but 17 years earlier, were very engrossing and it was actually fun and engrossing to read this dual timeline. Angie might have started out alone in her desire for answers but as the story progressed and the connection between Marilyn and James became bigger, we both ended up longing to know and even I hoped he was still alive.

    But even if 16 year-old Angie had all my sympathy and understanding and I adored Dellaira’s skilled writing that made her turn to her favorite songs whenever she felt the need in time of worries and trouble, I loved her mother Marilyn in her younger version most of all. She’s such a good person and the attraction and romance with James was nothing other than perfect. They have such a sweet connection, I was already dreading the moment it would end. They seemed so right for each other so I couldn’t wrap my head around it, until I actually read the words.

    In Search Of Us was such a lovely novel with beautiful people (the only exception being Uncle Woody who grudgingly shares his house with Marilyn and her mother), lots of cool 90’s music references and a whole lot of love. This novel is going to steal your heart, just like it did mine :-).

  • Banny Carstairs

    Ava's (author of

    ) new book was released in México and other Latin-America countries first. It'll be out in the USA (and the rest of the world, I guess) next month and you should definitely read it then.

    In Search Of Us is Angie's story, she's an African-American seventeen-year-old girl who grew up without a father. Her mother, a white woman, has never been able to tell her much about him without crying.

    When Angie finds out a picture of he

    Ava's (author of

    ) new book was released in México and other Latin-America countries first. It'll be out in the USA (and the rest of the world, I guess) next month and you should definitely read it then.

    In Search Of Us is Angie's story, she's an African-American seventeen-year-old girl who grew up without a father. Her mother, a white woman, has never been able to tell her much about him without crying.

    When Angie finds out a picture of her parents as teenagers, she starts to wonder more about her father. Then she finds out she has an uncle that lives in L.A. Thinking that, since she gets no answers from her mother, she might get them from him she sets off to pay a visit.

    On the other side, we learn about Marilyn, Angie's mother, about her life as a teenager, how she met James and fell in love with him.

    I loved the change of perspective, each girl was going through her own pursuit. Marilyn seeking a better future while Angie looking for her roots.

    This novel is a reminder of the importance of knowing our history in order to know, not only who we are, but also where we're going.

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