This Golden State

Flatiron. Mar. 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250786272.
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Poppy doesn’t know why she and her family have been living on the run her whole life. All she knows is not to use real names, her family means everything, and not to ask her parents any questions, since not knowing the truth protects the family. As Poppy approaches her 18th birthday, she becomes increasingly curious about her parents’ past as well as what her future holds beyond her secretive life. Her quiet world quickly spirals out of control as she unravels the truth and breaks her rule of getting too close to someone outside of family. Weisenberg creates page-turning suspense surrounding a criminal mystery full of family secrets as the reader follows Poppy on her journey of self-discovery as well as unearthing her family’s past. The plot is made current and relatable to teens by using references to various social media platforms as well as modern technologies such as DNA testing, smartphones, and car-charging stations. It is also populated with complex characters who are revealed to be deeply emotional. Poppy and her family are white; her love interest is biracial with ancestors from Kerala, India, and Jamaica.
VERDICT This coming-of-age mystery is perfect for fans of Karen M. McManus who enjoy a romantic subplot.

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