Friday, September 22, 2017

"Finding You" by Lydia Albano

Finding You
by Lydia Albano

Finding You by Lydia Albano

Finding You by Lydia Albano is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Taken from home and family, all they have is each other: a young woman learns to rely on her inner strength in this suspenseful debut that celebrates the power of true love and never giving up.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla's only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as the days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming... If they're going to survive, they'll have to escape on their own.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Lydia Albano's debut novel Finding You is a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope even in the worst circumstances.

There was no doubt that we were the two most opposite people in all the world. But for all my failings, and the ways he balanced them out, I loved him with all my heart.
“Let’s run away,” he’d say when we were little. “Think of all the amazing places there are, waiting for us to see them, still secret and undiscovered.” And he’d spread his arms at the stars and breathe in deeply, eyes aglow with the lure of adventure. And if anyone could have ever made me try something reckless, it would have been he.
But I was the little girl who took out a book instead: about gemstones and minerals, industry in the past century, the lifespans of butterflies. Nothing that would interest the adventurous boy I loved. Nothing that translated into action.
And he’d look at me like I was sad and hopeless, and he’d sigh. He’d say, “You’ll never understand, dear. The world isn’t in books.” And he would leave, climbing off of the roof outside my window, down the iron bars and gutters and across the street to his own home.
But the next day he’d be back.
That was when my life—our life—was sweet and simple; before my mum died and his too, before Nicholas took over power, and everyone wanted copper and so many men were sent to work the mines. That was before the hottest day of the year I was sixteen, when the boy—who had somehow become a man, suddenly—climbed the rusty ladders to the roof outside my window, dressed all in brown.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Isla’s determination to reunite with her beloved Tam will captivate romance fans, and all will cheer her newfound self-reliance." ~ Booklist
"A timely reminder that female subjugation must always be fought. Hopefully, Isla’s journey of rebellion and self-exploration are only the beginning - a sequel would be a welcome treat." ~ VOYA
"So many times while reading this book I read the same sentences over and again because I loved the word choices and the imagery they crafted. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, suspenseful, engaging, and wonderfully substantive." ~ suellen foreman, Swoon Reader
"This book has an uncanny way of getting under your skin and staying there, making you recall not only your first crush but also inviting you into a dangerous world that hits all too close to home - sometimes all in the same sentence. Albano has created something incredibly special with Finding You. This is a story that will give you chills and keep you turning pages until the very end. I know it did that for me. The world needs more books like this one." ~ Samantha Chaffin, Swoon Reader
"Beautifully and emotionally written! ... Through this experience, these girls - especially Isla - grow and become stronger. They are able take action and come up with plans, despite never thinking they could be anything but weak. Girls can be smart, strong, and badass." ~ Chen Yan Chang, Swoon Reader

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Isla and Tam are two young people torn apart by circumstance. When Tam leaves to join the army, he gives Isla a heart locket to which he has the matching key. Isla is kidnapped while seeing him off at the train station and ends up in a dungeon, along with several other young girls. During her incarceration and the distressing events that ensue, Isla maintains her sanity by her unwavering faith that Tam will come to her rescue. The heart locket is her symbol of this hope and, when it is taken from her, Isla realizes she must plan her own escape. Will Isla and Tam ever be reunited and, if so, at what cost?
The book is set in a dystopian future, a world where there is no electricity, no motor vehicles, nor any modern methods of communication. How this world came to be is not explained. But the themes of the story are timeless, and the main theme of sex trafficking is especially timely. The book is slow to begin, but the pace picks up halfway through, when the story switches from Isla's captivity to being on the run. The book is very well-written, with some wonderful lines, but I found the overuse of the words "grating" and "rifling" to be, quite frankly, grating.
From the very first line, there is no doubt that Isla is in love with Tam. However, she is not sure that he reciprocates her feelings. It is this doubt that gives Isla the impetus to grow in confidence and self-reliance throughout the course of the book. She goes from being mild and bookish to being the leader of her ragtag band of new friends. Given this growth, I was disappointed by how she was "rescued" toward the end of the book. Although, as Isla herself says, "Maybe everyone needs saving sometimes."
While this story is complete, the author leaves it open for a sequel.
Warnings: sexual references, graphic violence.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"There was no doubt that we were the two most opposite people in the world. But for all my failings, and the ways he balanced them, I loved him with my whole heart."
"Everything is in chaos. The locket and the kiss are at war with the longing and the pain, and suddenly all I can think is that I never told him I love him."
"My dress clings to me like a cobweb."
"Every novel I’ve ever read tells me it’s possible, that the girl is always rescued from danger at the last minute."
"At least if I sleep, I might dream. And if I dream, I might see Tam."
"There’s only darkness in here. Thinking about the light just makes the shadows seem deeper."
"Doesn’t miss the sun. He’s made for the shadows, and the filth."
"I need a plan. All the books tell me that a heroine has a plan."
"I love books, and meeting the people inside them who don’t exist until you turn the page."
"I don’t know what to say, so we sit together in silence, and I think about how beautiful my old life looks now."
"... it’s as if saying his name out loud lights a match in the darkness: bright and warm, but only there for a second, and then the cold surrounds us again."
"I don’t have a guide to tell me what to do, moment by moment. But every story I’ve ever read has some love and some good and some evil."
"Maybe everyone needs saving sometimes."
"I’ll find him and make my own happy ending."
"A library. There are hardly a dozen books between all four walls, but I feel instantly at home."
"In some ways I’ll never be the same again, never be able to go back. The person I was before that hot day in the crowded city, that person is gone."

About the Author
Lydia Albano
Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, has just been released by SwoonReads/Macmillan.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Finding You by Lydia Albano (US/Canada only).