Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer
on October 24, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publicity team
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Samira Murphy will do anything to keep her fractured family from falling apart, including caring for her widowed grandmother and getting her older brother into recovery for alcohol addiction. With attendance at her dream college on the line, she takes a long shot DNA test to find the support she so desperately needs from a father she hasn’t seen since she was a baby.
Henry Owen is torn between his well-meaning but unreliable bio-mom and his overly strict aunt and uncle, who stepped in to raise him but don’t seem to see him for who he is. Looking to forge a stronger connection to his own identity, he takes a DNA test to find the one person who might love him for exactly who he is—the biological father he never knew.
Instead of finding their father, Samira and Henry find each other. As their search slowly unravels the difficult truth of their shared past, they form a connection that only siblings can have and recover precious parts of their past that have been lost.
A search for their place in the world and a search for lost family leads them on separate journeys of the heart to each other. I do not describe a romance, but two long lost siblings discovering a DNA match and a need to find their father. The story setup had me eager to try a new to me author and a rare delve into the YA genre.
The Search for Us is told in alternate points of view third person narrative. Samira and Henry are half-siblings with Iranian American heritage. They didn’t know about each other until both, for different reasons, decided to use DNA testing to find the father they never knew and found each other. I’ll say again, this isn’t a romance because I could see how the gorgeous cover might give folks that impression. It’s the story of family hope and struggles through the eyes of two young people on the brink of college.
I knew the search and finding lost siblings part was going to happen from the blurb, but I was surprised that their meeting and togetherness didn’t come about until well over half-way into the story. I wasn’t disappointed really because both Samira and Henry’s lives were interesting enough, but let’s just say I wasn’t as engaged with their stories until I could see them physically connecting in their quest. I wanted to explore how virtual strangers discover they have a connection of family and heritage.
Perhaps it was my mood, but I also felt the bittersweet qualities of the story and didn’t feel engaged as deeply with them and their situations, at first. Samira is one who put herself completely into her family and lost a bit of herself in the process. And, when I say put herself out there, I mean for a brother with substance abuse struggles for whom she sacrificed a lot. Henry has the difficulty of the tug o’ war between adopted parents who raised him and their expectations and his birth mom and her. I started to get more into it as Henry and Samira started to connect. I was glad for the immersion into the Iranian American cultural side since I wasn’t as familiar going in. The ending was good and brought closure and a realistic way.
All in all, I was well-satisfied with a coming of age YA that explored family and was rich in cultural heritage. I would definitely recommend it to those who like strong character-driven non-romance plots.
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