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Parents' Guide to

How to Find What You're Not Looking For

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Remarkable, intimate exploration of ethnic identity.

How to Find What You're Not Looking For Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

My granddaughter gave me this book to read

This is a YA book but I found it hard to put down. It looks at interracial marriage in the 60’s and the prejudices about it. I married out of my faith (I’m Jewish) and my daughter married a Hindu from India. Now I have three grandchildren. My granddaughter (12) loves this book, too. I find the book intelligently written. The author’s note talks about her family experiences that contributed to her writing it. I would like to try other books by her now.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is a richly layered and beautifully told story about bringing races and ethnicities together in a time when differences were the norm. How to Find What You're Not Looking For has introspection built into its very fabric. Written in the second person, the reader becomes a "you" living life as a Jewish girl in a world where interracial marriages have only just been legally allowed. This "you," is Ariel Goldberg, whose world is turned upsode down when her sister elopes with a man whose family immigrated from India. "You" stuggle with writing, with organizing things, with school in general. "Your" parents keep their heads down, managing to run a beloved bakery in a town where people paint swastikas on the bakery window.

Ari also begins an artistic journey, writing poetry that helps her express herself when life is overwhelming. Because of the successful use of the "you" voice, this act also feels intimate, and the expression that Ari engages in becomes the reader's expression as well. The topics that the book addresses consequently become intimate in a way that will become very relatable to kids. This is a memorable read that touches on a historically indelible time.

Book Details

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