Historical fiction set in the 1960s, immediately following the Loving v. Virginia court case that made interracial marriage legal. Twelve-year-old Ariel's beloved older sister, Leah, elopes with an Indian man, and is subsequently disowned by their parents. As Ariel frantically tries to find Leah, her parents' Jewish bakery, which has never had it easy in their majority-Christian town, begins to struggle financially. Hiranandani is incredibly good at dissecting prejudices between marginalized communities, as she did with the Hindu and Muslim populations of India in her Newbery-honor debut, The Night Diary, and this book is further proof of that: she gives great depth and complexity to her characters' bigotry, where a lesser author might take it at face value. I was a bit hung up by Hiranandani's choice to write in present tense and second person, but overall really enjoyed this read. — Nadja Tiktinsky
New historical fiction from a Newbery Honor–winning author about how middle schooler Ariel Goldberg's life changes when her big sister elopes following the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, and she's forced to grapple with both her family's prejudice and the antisemitism she experiences, as she defines her own beliefs.
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Twelve-year-old Ariel Goldberg's life feels like the moment after the final guest leaves the party. Her family's Jewish bakery runs into financial trouble, and her older sister has eloped with a young man from India following the Supreme Court decision that strikes down laws banning interracial marriage. As change becomes Ariel's only constant, she's left to hone something that will be with her always--her own voice.
About the Author
Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor–winning The Night Diary, earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asia Book Award finalist, and How to Find What You're Not Looking For, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award and the New York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA Program at The Vermont College of Fine Arts.
A Sydney Taylor Award Winner A Jane Addams Children's Book Award Winner A Judy Lopez Memorial Award Winner A NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award Winner A National Jewish Book Award Finalist A Junior Library Guild Selection A 2022 ALSC Notable Children’s Book An Amazon Best Book of the Month A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2021 A New-York Historical Society's Children’s History Book Prize Winner An Amazon Best Children’s Book of 2021
PRAISE FOR HOW TO FIND WHAT YOU'RE NOT LOOKING FOR by Veera Hiranandani
*"A splendid historical fiction tale of bravery and determination." —School Library Journal, starred review.
*"A powerful blend of important themes and everyday triumphs and sorrows." —Kirkus, starred review.
*"...explores the benefits and costs of assimilation and the complexity of being both white and a religious minority in America then—and now." —Publisher's Weekly,starred review.
"In this moving novel about a turbulent time, Ari and her family discover that what is most important is not what you think you want." —Booklist
"What’s most striking about the book is how kind it is. People learn, forgive, try to do better. In a knee-jerk time (ours), it’s powerful to witness Ari’s realization that people can grow and change." —New York Times Book Review by Marjorie Ingall
“Gorgeously written and deeply moving, with a main character you can’t help but love, How to Find What You’re Not Looking For deals with the hardest act in one’s fight for justice—confronting the prejudice of those who are closest to us. Hiranandani is a master.” —Adam Gidwitz, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale