#AA2019 Nominees Round Up, July 18 Edition

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira, read by Adenrele Ojo
Audio Published by Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-1543661491

In alternating perspectives, Ava Dellaira relates the stories of a mother and daughter when both are seventeen years old.

Biracial Angie lives in present day Albuquerque, New Mexico, fully aware of her single mom’s deep love for her.  Angie is unsettled, however, feeling that knowing little about her late father is preventing her from planning her own future.  Then, separate discoveries about her father’s family prompt her to embark on a road trip to Los Angeles with her ex-boyfriend in search of her uncle, and possibly her father.

In 1990s Los Angeles, Angie’s white mother, Marilyn, has little evidence of her own mother’s love. Pressured by her to audition for modeling and acting jobs, Marilyn can’t wait to gain her independence. She’d rather be behind the camera, often taking “mind-pictures” as practice for the day when she can afford her own equipment. Then she becomes friends with her black neighbor James, soon falling in love with both him and his welcoming family.

Narrator Adenrele Ojo is a gifted storyteller, and empathetically voices both girls’ experiences with clarity and warmth.  She speaks as a multitude of characters, believably portraying both males and females; children, teens and adults. Simply put, Ojo narrates with great earnestness and care.

For those who enjoy Dellaira’s novel, Meg Medina’s Burn Baby Burn is a suggested read-alike about a teen saving up to escape her difficult family life. Another read-alike is Abdi Nazemian’s The Authentics, in which teen Daria searches for her birth mother.

—Anna Dalin