Untold stories

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It's great when middle-grade authors don't shy away from dealing with serious issues through a child's lense, especially when they clearly have experience with these issues themselves. How to Find What You're Not Looking For doesn't shy away from the complexity of Jewish isolationism and anti-semitism post Second World War, but it doesn't excuse racism and its destruction of families either. Besides the social issues, I thought it was so creative that the author chose to use second person for her main character—though it jarred me at first, it became increasingly fitting for Ariel as the story went on. I'd only ever read second person in choose your own adventure books, so this was a bold choice that definitely paid off. I also appreciated Ariel's learning disability and the message about letting children get the help they need to succeed, instead of following a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality and forcing them to work beyond their capabilities.