Book Review: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

There is something so magnetically poetic about the concept of growing up. There has to be, otherwise readers like myself wouldn’t continue to read books about coming of age, and authors like Kristen-Paige Madonia wouldn’t continue writing books about it. That beauty and pain and universal power of an honest coming of age story shine brightly in Madonia’s debut novel, Fingerprints of You.

Lemon Williams was raised buried in the shadow of her free-spirited mother, Stella, and consequently her childhood was spent on the move – dodging disasters and mastering the art of packing up apartments, of being the new kid, and of leaving the past behind.

But when Lemon begins her senior year at another new school, she realizes she’s taken an inescapable part of their last life with them: She’s pregnant. In an attempt to fill in the gaps of her history and to avoid repeating Stella’s mistakes, she decides she must set things right by going in search of the father she’s never met. So as new life grows inside her, Lemon boards a Greyhound bus and heads west to San Francisco in hopes of freeing herself from her childhood mishaps and discovering the true meaning of family.

Fingerprints of You is an eloquently written coming of age masterpiece. Madonia writeswith a captivating, honest voice that both teen and adult readers will latch onto. Lemon’s story could be your story; it could be my story. It doesn’t matter if the details are different. She’s struggling to grow up, discover who she is, and what family means to her. And in this day and age, these are struggles every teen can relate to. Hell, they are struggles every adult can relate to.

Madonia deftly tackles these issues, spreading them wide open on a colorful palette of tattoo parlors, Greyhound buses, San Francisco nightclubs, and crappy motel rooms. A disposable camera becomes a canvas; a window to one young woman’s journey from childhood to adulthood.

Fingerprints of You delivers every aspect you’d want to see in an honest coming of age story: love, pain, humor, romance, family, and hope. Finishing the last page of Fingerprints of You, and closing the cover at the very end, felt like releasing a long sigh. You are satisfied, content, and yet a little part of you is sad to see it end.

Luckily, you can always flip back to the beginning and start re-reading. Fingerprints of You is in stores now.

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