Confusion Is Nothing New

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Book Information
Rating: Dependable
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Paul Acampora
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9781338209990
Pages: 180

Ellie has never met her rock star mother. This doesn't make much of a difference in her life, until the day she finds out that her mother has passed away. Ellie goes on an emotional and physical journey to learn about the woman who gave birth to her. With the help of her friend Daniel, Ellie tries to get to know her mother by talking with her dad and her mom's high school friends, and even by sneaking out of the house to go to her mom's band's concert. In the end, Ellie learns a lot about her deceased mother, but the most important thing she learns is that it's her mother's loss that she never got to know her daughter. Ellie finds ways to honor her mother's life while recognizing that she doesn't need to find an emotional connection to the mother she never had.

This book is a fun read, but it struggles in a few areas. The dialogue between the characters is hilarious, but a bit unbelievable. The characters respond to each other in a way that is too funny, too clever, and too complex. For example, Ellie and Daniel are talking to each other and Ellie gives a detailed monologue about graveyards. Daniel responds to her with a hilarious retort that references multiple things she said in her monologue. It is the type of response that is only really possible through text, where a person can think through their response and re-read the previous person's thoughts. This book also struggles with theme. While reading the book, the point or moral of the story is unclear. At the end, it seems like Ellie suddenly arrives at this realization without much explanation.

*Contains mild sexual content.