Monday, June 6, 2016

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Adoption, Coming of Age, Family
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It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

Hello Lauren! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.

Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about Autofocus?

Sure! AUTOFOCUS follows Maude as she searches for information on her deceased birth mother. She’s never known her, and doesn’t have much information, so she goes to Tallahassee, Florida, to try to track down old friends. While there, she stays with her best friend, Treena, who’s changed a bit since graduating high school, and meets Bennett, a boy who helps her on her quest. 

Can you tell us a bit more about Maude and her personality? And what about Bennett?

Maude is artistic. She’s a photographer and loves seeing things through the lens. She always wants to find the perfect shot, and the perfect view of a person. She’s a bit single-minded, but aren’t we all at one point? And she’s very determined to figure out more about her mother, and how her mother’s life may relate to her own. Bennett is a boy who’s friends with Maude’s best friend Treena. He’s into Star Wars and Doctor Who and wants to be an animator for Pixar. He’s kind of dorky, super understanding, and really just wants to find good in everyone. 

So, as a personal opinion, do you think that we are determined at birth? Why?

Yes and no. I think some things—physical things, of course and some personality traits. I see this every day raising my own daughter. But I think other people around you, that aren’t family, also shape you. I think you become the person you want to be, and only some of it is from birth. (It’s why I like writing YA—it’s that stage where you’re figuring out who you are, and what you want to do with that.) 

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I thought of the place first, actually. I love Tallahassee, and starting thinking about why someone would visit. I wanted the person to be on a quest, be trying to find something, or in this case, someone. And then I thought of a girl trying to find herself and everything kind of fell into place. 

Tell us your favorite quote from Autofocus.

I actually just made a graphic to go with it! “I'm a blur. I'm not clear and crisp like some people; instead I'm messy on the edges and not quite formed. I'm many pieces all put into one, and one day I'll figure them all out.” I think that sums up the book nicely. 

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

Two. There’s a scene at Lichgate that was super fun to write. It’s a real place, so it was fun, for me, to revisit it in writing. And it’s a sweet scene. The Pineview scene (which includes a possibly haunted building) was the hardest to write because I’m not good at writing anything scary, apparently. Ha!

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for Autofocus – Which one would you pick? 

I don’t know! I really like “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran, but not for Maude and Bennett, but for Maude and Treena. Strip the romance love out of it, and instead think of it as that strong best friendship love that grows and changes and becomes complicated but always lovely. I think that’s them. 

Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters?

I’m SO not good at this question. For my last book, bloggers always had better responses to this than me, so I’m going to go with…who do YOU think? 

Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read Autofocus (specific music, snacks…)?

Hmm. I can’t read with music on, so I’d say no music. I think you need a nice cup of tea (for relaxation, of course), or some ice cream (because ice cream means friendship in my opinion). The girls in enjoy both in the book. 

What’s next for you?

I have a third book coming out with HarperTeen / HarperCollins coming out in 2017, titled THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD. It deals with an acting camp, and I’m so excited to share it with everyone!

Thank you so much for everything, Lauren!

Follow the Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, MATT'S STORY (a Night We Said Yes novella), and AUTOFOCUS (out 6/14/16), all with HarperTeen / HarperCollins. Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.


  1. I haven't read Autofocus yet, but I love Lauren Gibaldi's books so I'd love to read it, I enjoyed The Night We Said Yes!

    1. So glad to hear you like Lauren's book, Melanie! She's an amazing writer! Hope you win this one :)

      Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I haven't read this book yet, but I love that it's about a girl searching for her biological identity as well as a friendship story

    1. I agree with you, Danielle. Autofocus sounds like a great read! Hope you're one of the lucky winners!

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the giveaway ;)