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Review by Suze
Maude loves photography and is interested in making it her future career. When her teacher gives her class the assignment to photograph family she isn't sure how to handle the project, because family isn't an easy topic for Maude. She has loving adoptive parents, but she doesn't know much about where she comes from. She only knows the name of her birth mother. Maude decides to visit her friend Treena, who's in college. She's studying in the town where Maude's mother spent her childhood, so she's bound to find some clues there.
Maude can't wait to see her best friend again, but when she arrives it soon becomes clear that the Treena she used to know isn't available any longer. College Treena has other things on her mind and is too preoccupied to spend time with Maude. Bennett, a boy from her dorm, comes to the rescue. He doesn't mind helping Maude with her search and he's there for her when she needs someone to talk to. When Maude discovers more about her mother she also finds out more about herself. Does she take after her mother in any way or not at all?
Autofocus is a fascinating story. Maude is trying to find clues about her birth mother, because she wants to get to know the person who's brought her into the world. Maude learns a lot on her trip, maybe not all good things, but certainly valuable lessons. She has the chance to find out what college is like and she discovers more about her family. Even though the trip isn't what she expected it to be at all, Maude manages to grow as a person. She knows who she is and has a clear idea of who she wants to be when she grows up. I admired that attitude. She's resilient and makes the best of what she's been given. Fortunately she has Bennett by her side most of the time. He makes up for the lost hours with Treena and they are really sweet together. I liked their wonderful friendship and overall closeness very much.
Lauren Gibaldi writes about difficult topics in a way that is easy to read. The reader can completely focus on the story. What I loved about Autofocus the most is that she raises many important questions. She gives her readers a chance to come up with their own answers first and it's extra interesting to see what Maude thinks after that. It's a clever way to handle sensitive topics while also writing an enjoyable story. I really liked this book and think it's a great, mostly serious, YA novel.