Really lovely story

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How to Find What You're Not Looking For is a great middle grade historical fiction set in the late 1960s. Twelve-year-old Ariel is faced with many challenges; among them, a severed relationship with her sister, antisemitism, and an undiagnosed learning disorder.

Ariel's sister, a white Jewish girl, marries her Indian boyfriend (who is not Jewish), leading to overt prejudice from Ariel's parents and Ariel essentially cut off from a relationship with her sister. The author deftly incorporates the Loving v. Virginia decision, providing a historical backdrop to the plot. At the same time, Ariel is confronted with anti-Semitic remarks from a classmate.

School is difficult for Ariel in that she struggles to form letters/write while also thinking about the words she intends to write down. Poetry becomes one way in which she can better harness her thoughts; poems distilling her complicated feelings feature throughout and give an additional layer to the novel.

I found this to be a really lovely story of a young girl finding her voice and agency. And the author's note was a beautiful addition.