Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jasmine Warga
Publisher: Harper Collins
Taliah Sahar Abdallat has never known who her dad is, but she's pretty certain he’s the famous indie rock star Jullian Oliver. They have the same eyes, the same smile, and the same love for music—not to mention the shoebox of letters from him to her Mom. Since Taliah’s mother still won’t give her a straight answer about who her dad is, she decides to write letters to Jullian himself. After years of letters, she has received no answer from him, until one day he shows up on her doorstep. Her suspicions of her parentage are confirmed, as Jullian Oliver tells her that his father—her grandfather—is dying and he wants her to say goodbye. Since Taliah’s mother is out of town, Taliah and her best friend, Harlow, make the rash decision to go with him. There, in Jullian’s hometown, Taliah meets family members she never knew she had and uncovers a history of her Mom and Jullian she never could have imagined.
This book has a great storyline. It tells Taliah’s story from her view and then flashes back to her mother’s story in her mother’s view. The characters are relatable and likable. The writing, however, isn’t always the most engaging. It can get a little long and wordy and, at times, repetitive. The story can be a little hard to follow, and readers may find themselves skimming over paragraphs that seem unimportant. Some parts of the book do have great imagery and quotable lines, however. Taliah’s character is well developed and her story encourages loving people for every part of who they are and learning to understand yourself. The book also could hearten aspiring artists, particularly musicians, as music and what it takes to make music is often discussed, along with following your dreams. Again, the story line is great and exciting, but the writing is often less so. Younger readers may enjoy it regardless.
*Contains severe language and mild drug abuse.