Autofocus – 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?


Look guys. Growing up isn’t easy, and it’s even less so when you don’t even really know yourself or your family. Luckily, Maude got a little help on both fronts in this book. Actually, she proactively went out and got the information that she wanted. You go girl.

Bennett was a sweetheart, but I felt like that one-week romance was so unnecessary. I’d believe it more if Maude visited FSU every weekend for a few months or something. Or I’d like it better if she began this quest after starting university there. I just felt like the quick fling was so unsustainable (but I guess they realized that too, and never committed to anything!). Actually, in general, I would’ve liked to see where Maude went after this journey. Did she pick a future at FSU too, happily ever after with Treena and Bennett? Or maybe she went all the way across the country; forging her own path. I think that would’ve been a nice touch!

Photography played a key part in Maude’s life. But I felt like her interest in photography was a little disconcerting/creepy at times with the candid pictures of people. It would’ve been nice to see Maude quickly editing pictures before posting them or something, not just haphazardly uploading phone photos. But regardless, the photography felt like a key part of the story.

I wish Chad and Claire’s mom had more to offer. But sometimes people in this world will disappoint you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Related Reading

  • Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller
  • When You Were Here – Daisy Whitney
  • The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin
  • How to Love – Katie Cotugno

Rating: 4/5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s