Auto-Focus by Lauren Gibaldi

It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

Auto-Focus was a satisfying book to read. I say I loved it, nor did I hate it. I’m not a huge fan of Lauren Gibaldi’s writing, which I should have realised last year when air read the Night We Said Yes. Without a certain character, I probably wouldn’t have liked this book. So let’s talk about him
Bennett is a film major, cute and nerdy. He’s a Pixar nerd and I basically imagined him as my brother. It felt like being with Jake again, to read about Bennett. It also gave me hope that Jake might actually snag a cute girlfriend. I also really liked the photography aspect of this book. I have a passion for photos, and I loved reading about Maude’s own passion for photography. 
Another great thing was the adoption side of this. It wasn’t your usual “I hate my parents for adopting me” angsty read. I think Maude handled everything with maturity. It was also cool to see a story about a girl tracking down her birth family when her birth mother is dead. I don’t think I’ve seen that before.
One thing I didn’t like is how this book portrays college. I personally haven’t been to college, but I think my siblings would mention if it was all parties and booze. I really didn’t like that portrayal.
Overall, this is a three star, maybe 3.5 star read. 

INTIMACY – Mild kissing, a lot of innuendos.
DRINKING/DRUGS – There are several instances of drinking and drunkenness
CUSSING – Mild-ish? Like, twenty cuss words

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