Review: In Search of Us, Ava Dellaira

There are no spoilers in this review.

In Search of Us was my first Dellaira book and it did not disappoint. From the story to the characters to the writing overall, it was such a beautiful story I felt compelled to read on. It was gorgeous, emotional and made me want to read everything the author will write, for sure.



The originality in this story has to be the way it’s told. Divided between two different timelines, In Search of Us tells the story of Angie, a teenager looking for her father she has never met, she has been told is dead but believes is not. Yet, In Search of Us also tells the story of Marilyn, Angie’s mom, at the time where she meets James, Angie’s father. These alternative time lines can, if you ask me, either be a hit or miss. Here, it was beautifully written, the story divided at key points, making you want to know more, both about Angie’s story and about Marilyn’s story. I equally cared about both characters, which is something I loved as well.



Angie is mixed-race, from a white mother and a black father and, never having known her father, we can see her struggle with her own sense of identity as well, not finding herself entirely in Marilyn and feeling like some part of her is missing. If, at times in the story, leaving to find her father miles and miles away, hitting the road with her adorable ex-boyfriend, being sometimes selfish and annoying, Angie was one character I still rooted for from page one. There was something about her and her quest that were so endearing.

Marilyn was equally as endearing as a teenager, if more. Living with her uncle, trying to meet her mother’s expectations and dreams at best, even if they’re not her own, falling in love with someone for the first time and having all of the struggles, feelings of confusion and everything else coming with it all… Overall, Marilyn was such a complex, endearing character as well and I loved following her story.

In Search of Us offers us an interesting, three โ€“ dimensional cast of characters to accompany our two main point of views, which I loved. We have James, our love interest for Marilyn, we have Sam, Angie’s adorable ex-boyfriend I just wanted to hug all along, we have James’ family, warm, welcoming and a second family overall for Marilyn, we have Justin, James’ little brother and my personal favorite…All of the characters felt real and brought a new dimension and emotions to this gorgeous story overall.



I think what impressed me the most, with In Search of Us, was the ending. From the start, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Angie’s dad, whether he is alive or not, what happened in both time lines, with Angie and with Marilyn at Angie’s age. I was emotionally invested in the story all the while and that’s what made the resolution all the more emotional for me. No spoilers here, but I didn’t see this coming and my heart kind of hurt.



Overall, In Search of Us is really a beautiful book, really. If ultimately, I feel like we could have gotten more interactions between mother and daughter, I still fell in love with the way this story was told and its characters. If you’re looking for an multi generational story with beautiful, poetic and compelling writing, I’d heavily recommend this one.

Final rating:ย  4 drops!

A million thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Ava Dellaira, In Search of Us, ย Published by Hot Key Books, March 6th, 2018.


The author of the beloved Love Letters to the Dead returns with a parallel story of a mother and daughter each at age seventeen. Marilyn’s tale recounts the summer she fell in love and set out on her own path. Angie’s story is about her search for her unknown father.

This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie. To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie’s father, James, who was African-American. But Angie’s never met him, and Marilyn has always told her he died before she was born. When Angie discovers evidence of an uncle she’s never met she starts to wonder: What if her dad is still alive, too? So she sets off on a journey to find him, hitching a ride to LA from her home in New Mexico with her ex-boyfriend, Sam. Along the way, she uncovers some hard truths about herself, her mother, and what truly happened to her father.

Did you read In Search Of Us? Do you want to? Did you read the author’s other book?

Do you like multigenerational stories? Do you have other recommendations for me? Let me know in comments!

ICYMI in my monthly wrap-up, I’m on a small break, which means I most likely won’t be blog-hopping and answering to comments. Be back around the 10th of June! xx

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. ๐Ÿ“š |๐ŸŒ | ๐Ÿ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

60 thoughts on “Review: In Search of Us, Ava Dellaira

  1. I GUESS I SHOULD START READING THIS ONE SOON. I probably won’t get to in June but most definitely July ahah. i’m so glad to see you enjoyed it. I have no idea if I’ll enjoy it because…it…is…CONTEMPORARY which take a LOT to impress so ha, we shall see. I am sooo glad you enjoyed it though!! Amazing review, as always ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (also look Im not late to commenting on ur post!??! *beams*


    1. AHH I can’t wait, I hope you will be able to read it soon and that you will enjoy it. It was such a wonderful book overall ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Ilsa, you’re not late at all, I’m the one very late at answering to this because of my break haha ๐Ÿ™‚ โค


  2. I am not sure I would pick up another Dellaira book as I really wasn’t a fan of Love Letters to the Dead, but I am really glad you enjoyed the book and were emotionally invested in the characters. That’s always a good sign!


    1. Oh no, I’m sorry to hear you weren’t a fan of her previous book! What did bother you in that one, if you remember it? I’m curious now haha ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you, Kat! โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So, I read Love Letters to the Dead and I just couldn’t connect with anyone in the book. It’s told in letters, which should 100% appeal to me, but the voice just didn’t work at all. And it felt like a genderswapped carbon copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I didn’t like that one very much either.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh okay, damn :/ That really sucks – but sometimes I guess when you’re just not feeling the voice at all… there’s nothing you can do about it :/ I heard someone saying they didn’t like Love Letters either, but enjoyed that one better? Who knows, someday you might want to read the first couple of pages (maybe you can on amazon?) to see if that’d fit you better ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review for this book Marie, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are very few books out there that split the story between two timelines, so I agree with you in that if it’s not done well it can be a bit of a mess so I’m glad that wasn’t the case with In Search Of Us. The characters sound amazing too, and while I guess it’s a shame there wasn’t more mother/daughter interaction if that’s the only complaint I can see why you loved this one so much.
    Again great review, I haven’t read any of Ava Dellaira’s books but I may have to add them to my TBR list. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค


    1. Oh thank you so, so much, Beth! It is risky to divide a book’s narration like that, but there it was done brilliantly, in a way that I was invested in both of the stories and I loved that so much ๐Ÿ™‚
      I hope you’ll add that one to your TBR and that you will love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much, Beth! x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to hear that you liked this one — I’ve been really looking forward to reading it! I absolutely loved Dellaira’s debut, Love Letters to the Dead, when I was younger, and I’m so excited to see how this one goes ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post!


    1. Ohh, I really want to read the author’s debut now, I am so happy you enjoyed it. I really loved that one, it was such a beautiful read โค I hope you'll love it!
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Marie! Great review! Glad that you enjoyed this book ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don’t read intergenerational stories very often, but your review of this book actually reminds me so much of Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga. It is about a girl who searches for her estranged father (who happens to be a rock star). We also get to read about how her mother and father initially fell in love and the ups and downs of their relationship. I think you may enjoy this book as well!


    1. Ohhh, I remember your review for that book and I actually added that book on my TBR because of you. You really make me want to read it more now, it sounds amazing! Thank you for the reminder, Sophie! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I know this sounds a bit weird, but there are just some authors I have this feeling I won’t be able to get into, and Dellaira is one of those authors. D: BUT!! I do love the sound of complex heroines, 3-dimensional characters, AND cute little brothers, so I ~might~ give this a try in the future. So glad you loved it, though!! โ™ฅ

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always


    1. Oh it doesn’t sound weird at all – I think we all have these authors we’re not… feeling, overall, haha. I hope you might want to give this one a try someday though, who knows, maybe you’ll want to sometime ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Aimee! โค โค


  7. Lovely review Marie. This one sounds like a really interesting read with the two timelines running alongside each other. I imagine it would really make you question and eager to continue reading to find out what went wrong with Marilyn and James for Angie to never have known her father. This is being added to the TBR immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that was one of the strongest suits of the book, how it kept me engaged and guessing up until the very end, I loved it ๐Ÿ˜€
      I hope you’ll love it as well! Thank you so much, Hannah โค โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh this sounds absolutely beautiful Marie! I hadn’t heard of this one, but now I really want to read it. I love the idea of following both her and her mom while they’re both teens and finding out what happened to her dad. Definitely adding this to my tbr! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was my second book from this author, and I really enjoyed them both. In Search of Us was a fabulous read for me and earned a place on my favorites shelf. I will admit, Marilyn’s story captivated me more than Angie’s. It was painful, but beautiful. And yes, Sam was a great book boyfriend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed the author’s other book, I really want to read that one now ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m with you, I was a bit more invested in Marilyn’s story, but I loved both characters so much ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! โค โค


  10. Oh yay, I loved this one too! The writing was stunning, and like you, I was so invested in the story and what was going to happen! Funnily enough, I DID read the author’s other book and haaaated it. So I was scared to start this one but then it was awesome so that is always fun- and rare tbh! Fabulous review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhh I’m SO glad you ended up loving this one – especially if you didn’t love the previous book. I would have been SO nervous to read another book by an author I wasn’t convinced in, if it were me! I’m glad you did though ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you so much, Shannon! ๐Ÿ˜€


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