Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Review: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

Title: Fingerprints of You
Author: Kristen-Paige Madonia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 7th 2012
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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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.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From the first time I saw Fingerprints of You, I knew I'd love it, and I'll admit it was mainly because of the cover - this book is gorgeous! I am totally in love with the whole design; it's subtle but powerful and just so beautiful. And that's how I feel about the actual novel, too.

Lemon is not your average main character, and not just because of her unusual (and awesome!) name. She makes every possible bad decision, but there's an honesty about her voice that makes this a compelling instead of frustrating quality to her character. It does seem at times like she's made it her goal to screw up her life in every possible way, but she's still a character I could relate to easily, and I kind of grew to love her. Lemon's character growth is tremendous but still realistic, and I loved being with her on her journey.

What made Lemon such a great character is the writing. I know this is such a cliched and overdone thing to say, but Kristen-Paige Madonia really does have a way with words. Her style is vivid and captivating; the kind of writing that makes it impossible to put a book down. Every word in Fingerprints of You is simply beautiful.

I think what I love most about this book, though, is the setting. Once they get to San Francisco, everything feels... alive. Fingerprints of You's atmosphere conveys a pulsing energy that made me feel like I was right there with Lemon. All the different secondary characters are fully developed, and I love how it feels like they're all somehow part of this distinct energy.

There is something that bugged me about this book, though, and I think it has to do with how much showing and how very little telling the author uses. In general, lots of showing is a good thing, but I wanted to know more about Lemon's direct thoughts and decisions. The biggest example would be the pregnancy. I wanted to know how Lemon felt when she found out, whether she ever considered anything but keeping the baby. But we don't get to know about her thoughts; we just get to see the consequences, i.e. wanting to find her father. I do see how this method is helpful in some cases, and it does fit the style, but I personally prefer to be closer to what the main character is thinking in the situations we're reading about.

But other than that, Fingerprints of You is a book I loved. Subtle but vivid and beautifully written, it has an energy that captivated me until I'd turned the last page. I can't wait to read more from this debut author!


  1. I've had my eye on this one for months. This sounds like an enjoyable contemporary novel. Great review.

  2. I've seen this around as well. It's got such a distinctive cover for one. Worth a read I'd say.


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