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13 November 2012

Review: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

I had the pleasure of meeting Kristen-Paige Madonia at an event in Charlottesville to raise money for the local library.  Above are images I took of the cover of Fingerprints of You and where she signed my copy (it says, "For Amanda, from one JMU girl to another!")

I have had a hard time finding a YA contemporary or realistic fiction book that I have enjoyed.  I've tried John Green's many books, John Corey Whaley's Where Things Come Back, and Jesse Anderson's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I just didn't enjoy them.  I don't think real teenagers talk and act like that.  But Fingerprints of You is different.

I felt that Lemon's problems were real.  I felt like the situations she encountered were real, and the way she and Emmy talked to each other (and other characters) were real and normal.  There was no pretense/pretentiousness.  I didn't feel like I wasn't cool enough or smart enough to "get" the book (like I did with the above mentioned books).  I could see kids talking, acting and feeling exactly like this.  These were normal kids.

Lemon and I could not have lead two different lives if we tried.  I only moved once growing up, had both my parents, didn't drink or party or even date (!) until I was older.  But I know that feeling of wanting more.  Of wanting to get out of the small town.  Of knowing that your family will always be there for you, but you just have to try.

And I haven't even talked about how beautiful the cover is!  I'm a sucker for old-school tattoo art, and even before I knew that this was a YA book, I knew I was going to buy it!  I just like looking at it.  Because even right now, I see something new---the hummingbird (the tattoo Stella got to symbolize Lemon) is breaking free from its chains.  Is that Lemon breaking free?  LOVE IT!

This is a book that I can see myself reading again and again and getting something different from it each time. 

And if this isn't enough of a recommendation, Judy Blume (*sigh*) says that, "Kristen-Paige Madonia is a remarkable young novelist.  Her writing is luminous, her voice original, and the journey she takes us on, compelling...Sure to appeal to both teens and adults who will want to read it again, just as I did.  What a thrill to discover this talented writer."   

Summary from Amazon:
Lemon grew up with Stella, a single mom who wasn’t exactly maternal. Stella always had a drink in her hand and a new boyfriend every few months, and when things got out of hand, she would whisk Lemon off to a new town for a fresh beginning. Now, just as they are moving yet again, Lemon discovers that she is pregnant from a reckless encounter—with a guy Stella had been flirting with.
     On the verge of revisiting her mother’s mistakes, Lemon struggles to cope with the idea of herself as a young unmarried mother, as well as the fact that she’s never met her own father. Determined to have at least one big adventure before she has the baby, Lemon sets off on a cross-country road trip, intending not only to meet her father, but to figure out who she wants to be.
     Lyrical and moving prose from an original voice whose writing Judy Blume calls “luminous” deftly depicts the nuanced conflicts of early motherhood and the search for identity.

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