How to Find What You’re Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani

Published by Kokila

How to Find What You're Not Looking For - Kindle edition by Hiranandani,  Veera. Children Kindle eBooks @

Summary:  Ariel’s 18-year-old sister Leah is in love with Indian-American Raj, causing a huge rift in their Jewish family.  When the couple elopes to New York City and cuts off contact with the family, Ariel feels caught in the middle.  It’s 1967, and both the family and the larger world seem consumed with prejudice, divided along lines of love and hate.  Ariel’s new teacher, Miss Field, provides some bright spots when she diagnoses Ariel with a learning disability called dysgraphia and tries to provide help beyond her parents’ admonitions to just try harder.  Ariel’s friend Jane is also supportive, using the detective skills she’s learned from Nancy Drew books to try to track down Leah.  When Ariel and Jane sneak off to New York to try to find the couple, a chain of unexpected consequences is unleashed that ultimately leads to a tenuous reconciliation with the family.  So many new experiences help Ariel to find her voice, both by speaking out and writing poetry, and she is amazed to learn the powers she has within her.  384 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Newbery honoree Hiranandani gracefully handles many different issues in an unusual second-person voice.  The themes of overcoming prejudice, finding your own voice, and kids sometimes understanding things better than the adults in their lives will all resonate with young readers.

Cons:  I’m not sure how I feel about the second-person voice.

December 20, 2021 at 04:20PM Janet Dawson