Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
This week’s pick is a YA contemporary debut I loved because the voice was fun, authentic, and humorous and full of heart! It combines some favorite tropes and elements like road trip story, dual POV, sisters, and family drama to make for an unforgettable read!
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Lulu and Milagro’s Search for Clarity by Angela Velez
Lulu and Milagro are two sisters who couldn’t be more different, and they both have exciting plans for spring break: Lulu is headed out on the school’s cross-country college road trip, and Milagro has finagled a way to stay home alone so she can finally lose her virginity. But when Milagro’s plans fall through, she finds herself tagging along on the trip, much to Lulu’s horror and Milagro’s annoyance. As they try to get along on the road trip, Lulu is bent on learning the truth behind the fallout between their mom and oldest sister—her hopes of attending school out of state depend on it. Meanwhile, Milagro discovers there are many different paths in college, and maybe a college career is in her future after all.
This novel is told in dual POVs, allowing you to get into both Lulu and Milagro’s heads. Velez does a great job of making each girl sound unique yet similar enough that you can buy that they’re sisters, and their perspectives on the world will make you laugh and also have you empathizing with their struggles, which aren’t as dissimilar as they might believe at first. While Lulu is very focused and Milagro tends to be the fun-loving sister, they teach each other that there is value in exploring your academic options and in taking the time to socialize and venture outside of your comfort zone. There is plenty of excitement on the road when the trip gets underway, but underneath it all is a big question: Why did their older sister Clara stop talking to the family after she went off to college? And what is their mom not telling them about Clara? It was just enough of a mini mystery to pull the story along and add some great tension to this story of discovery, and the truth will have readers contemplating what it means to work towards the future, and how if a plan falls apart, then it’s okay—you just make a new one.
The tl;dr version? Read this book if you like sister stories, humor, and soul-searching alongside family secrets.