You Have a Match / Emma Lord / Book Review

You Have a Match

Blurb

Abby Day doesn't need a DNA test to tell her who she is: a photographer, a friend, and a decidedly less-than-stellar student. But when Abby's best friends purchase a test, she decides to join in. A DNA test can only make the group closer, especially after the Big Embarrassing Incident between Abby and Leo that left the group dynamic a little awkward. Little does Abby know the results will change her world forever: she has a long lost older sister she knew nothing about. Savannah Tully is perfect in ways that Abby isn't: an Instagram influencer, a health guru, and undoubtedly a model student and daughter. The girls decide to meet without telling their parents, trying to piece together the mystery of Savvy's birth and adoption. But with high school graduations, summer school, and college all on the horizon, the girls know their schedules are tight. They decide the best way to get together away from their parents will be at summer camp. Savannah will be a junior counsellor, Abby can join the SAT prep class, and in their free time, they will try to understand why they were kept apart from each other and what secrets their family history holds. 

Pros

  • Photography: Photography, both as a hobby and as an artform, plays an important part in this book. Abby and Savvy bond over photography, though they come at this unique hobby from different angles. They know and discover that love of photography is generational, something Abby shared with her grandfather and now with her older sister. Passion for the craft intermingles with the plot but without overwhelming the reader with jargon. The portrayal is balanced and nuanced, and this special passion is a great way to pull the sisters together. 
  • Low-Achieving Student: Students who are interested in or bound for something other than college, higher education, and/or academia in the near future are incredibly underrepresented, and that is what makes Abby so very important. She struggles with her grades--admittedly more so since her grandfather's death--but she isn't too worried about her GPA. She recognizes that there are other paths for her and other places her passion could lead. She doesn't define herself, her future, and her success by her grades, and the plot isn't defined by grades-and-parents drama either, even if her parents show their fair share of concern. Abby is confident in who she is and what she can achieve, and that sort of representation is important. 
  • Romantic Subplot: Though there is an underlying thread of romantic tension running throughout the book, it doesn't overwhelm the whole plot. A lot of contemporary YA is simply a love story or, conversely, simply a coming-of-age plot. In this book, Emma Lord manages to marry the two types of contemporary stories together. Though Savvy and Abby coming to terms with each other and their families takes centerstage, the budding romance between Abby and her kind-of-sort-of best friend Leo has its part, too. 

Cons

  • Immature Voice: Abby's voice is very high-energy, which is unusual for YA and in general. This energy level reflects her high-energy, low-inhibition character, and it does keep the plot moving along. However, because of this, Abby's voice sometimes comes across as immature--or less mature, anyway, than one would expect of a teenage narrator. Abby's occasional immaturity was something of a drawback for me personally, but not everyone will feel the same way. And, all things said and done, it wasn't a major drawback by any means. 
  • Drama of Omission: A lot of the dramatic tension of this book revolves around lying. Abby's parents have, obviously, kept a whole sibling secret all of Abby's life. That is a major part of the plot and not so much a problem. However, this dramatic lie is compounded by the lies Abby tells in order to end up spending time with her sister, to smooth over tension with her friends Connie and Leo, et cetera. I dislike plots that rely heavily on characters not divulging secrets in order to create tension, so this wasn't exactly my cup of tea.  
  • Too Many Lesbians: This sounds like a silly critique, and it definitely is. It isn't a critique that had any real bearing on my rating or my enjoyment of the story. I just felt like there was a conveniently high number of lesbians in this story! Two or three lesbians may be par for the course, but much more than that feels extraordinary. So many lesbians...

Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
7/10

Anyone who enjoyed the blend of Bildungsroman and romance in Julie Halpern and Len Vlahos's Girl on the Ferris Wheel will enjoy the careful balance created in this contemporary work. Fans of journeys of self-discovery and family-and-friend bonding like in Clare Vanderpool's Navigating Early will appreciate this cast of older characters wrestling with newfound family-and-friend struggles. 

Details

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Date: January 12, 2021
Series: N/A
Buy It HERE


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