Review: Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest – A Heartwarming Contemporary #ownvoices Tale

Happy Friday everyone! Today, I’m very excited to share my blog tour review of Kristina Forest’s Now That I’ve Found You, which is a great contemporary YA novel that comes out in just a few days!

Thank you so much to Hear Our Voices Tours and the publisher for including me on this tour! Getting #ownvoices books into #ownvoices reviewers’ hands is very important, and I admire their dedication to doing just that. Keep scrolling for my review and my #ownvoices reflection on what the novel meant to me.


About the Book

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Title: Now That I’ve Found You

Author: Kristina Forest

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

POV: 1st Person

Genre: YA Contemporary

Release Date: 8/25/2020

Page Count: 336 pages

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Powells

Synopsis: A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places.

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.


About the Author

Kristina Forest is the author of I Wanna Be Where You Are and Now That I’ve Found You. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Writing for Children at The New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with two huge bookshelves. 

Favorite books: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Favorite song: “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince 

Favorite color: Turquoise

Website | Twitter | Instagram


Review & #Ownvoices Reflection

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Before I get into the review, let’s talk about the lovely book cover! If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I love talking about book covers! This one is pretty simple and fits in well with the covers of the contemporary YA genre. I really love the overall warm tones present in the cover, especially in the subway and skyline behind our main characters Evie and Milo. It gives a great summer vibe that goes perfect with both the book itself (set in August in NYC) and the general release date for the book itself! I like the art style for the characters, and while I usually like to form my own opinion of what characters look like, I think that this cover did a great job of setting up an accurate image of the characters and what they actually wear during part of the story.

Pros

  • It’s a #ownvoices story!!!! (We love representation)
  • A really fun quest story with a slight mystery involved!
  • Didn’t feel too young for adult readers (some petty school drama, but it’s easy to imagine yourself in the characters’ shoes at any age.
  • A really cool grandmother character
  • Old Hollywood meets New Hollywood!

Cons

  • The classic “absent parents” YA trope (Evie’s parents are out of the country for most of the book.)
  • Some storyline elements weren’t as wrapped up as I wish they were.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA contemporary novel, and even longer since I’ve read a YA contemporary with black characters, written by a black author. (The last one I read was The Sun is Also a Star back in 2016!) I was very excited to join this tour and read this spectacular book, which really helped me to break what felt like a never-ending reading slump!

The book is quite adorable, and it reads fairly quickly. It’s full of talk of both new and old Hollywood while being set in modern New York. I’m not very familiar with NYC (I’m from the Chicago suburbs and haven’t been farther east than Ohio) but the descriptions of the settings and streets helped me to understand the setting quite well.

I quite enjoyed the “mystery” elements in the book. It’s not a typical mystery novel, but the hunt for Evie’s grandma Gigi and the mystery behind Gigi’s past with her ex-husband were quite intriguing, and I liked the little clues and hints that were dropped throughout the story like breadcrumbs.

There were a few loose ends that I wish had been tied up better, like Simone and howthe relationship between Milo and Evie will go, but aside from those, everything wrapped up quite nicely. I thought it was a very cute read with a unique premise. Fans of La La Land, old movies, and Hollywood culture in general will enjoy this tale of young stardom, family, and public image.

To speak from a #ownvoices perspective, this book was quite fun to read. Hearing Evie talk about hair products for her curls was great, as well as the fact that she totally normalized wearing a wig to cover up your natural hair (which can be a great way to protect your hair or to cover up your hair after a big chop!) I also really liked that hairstyles like dreads and twists were mentioned throughout the book.

On top of everything – and this is a bit odd to say – but I’m glad that this book wasn’t really focused on race. Sure, out main characters are both black, but the overall story wasn’t about their race; it was about finding Gigi and redeeming Evie’s career and all of that. Sometimes it can be a bit exhausting for me to read books where the black characters are involved in race issues. A book where our characters just happen to be black is really great for showing that black people live normal happy lives too, and that narratives about people of my race aren’t only featured in novels about race issues or slavery. Definitely quite refreshing and just what I needed considering the current state of the world. Now That I’ve Found You gets a solid 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 on review sites.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you for reading, and please check out the rest of the tour schedule here! The other bloggers will also have reviews and other creative content like interviews, dreamcasts, quizzes, playlists, and more, so check them out if you’re interested in this book!


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