Wednesday, October 25, 2023

"The Search For Us"

Susan Azim Boyer (she/her), author of Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win, writes young adult fiction featuring Iranian American heroines she never encountered growing up, who make messy, complicated choices that rapidly snowball into avalanches. She hails from Nebraska but grew up in Los Angeles before spending several years in San Francisco and the next twenty in Sonoma County. She now lives in the Coachella Valley with her husband, Wayne, and her Pug mix, Teddy. Their son, Alec, lives in New York.

Azim Boyer applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Search for Us, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Samira FaceTimed Tara, who popped on-screen in the purple polka-dot, ruffle-cuff dress she had just purchased from Stitch Fix. “Why haven’t you answered my texts? I’ve been worried about you.”

“Don’t talk. Just listen. And look,” Samira said and turned her iPhone toward her laptop. “Did you get something like this from 23andMe, too? Is it a mistake?”

Tara squinted. “DMs? Yes. I get them all the time, they—”

“Look at the first message!” Samira shouted.

Tara squinted again. “Oh my God, Sami, you have a sibling.”

Samira turned the iPhone back toward her. “No. It’s a mistake, right? Or, like, spam.”

Tara futzed with the tag on her dress while trying to hold her phone. “Sami, no. It’s not a mistake, there are no ‘mistakes’ in DNA. Either you’re a match or you’re not. If it says you have another sibling, you have another sibling.”

For a moment, Samira couldn’t breathe. She’d been knocked off her feet without warning. Her mind went uncharacteristically blank. She uttered a sentence she hadn’t uttered in ages. “Wh-what am I supposed to do?”

“Open the message,” Tara commanded.

Samira sat there staring at the screen, immobile. She could be opening Pandora’s box. “I should call my mom first.”

“Click first, call later,” Tara said, taking remarkable control of the situation.

Samira clicked and stared intently at the screen, reading and rereading the message, unable to speak.

“What does it say, what does it say?” Tara asked, pulling the tag off her dress with her teeth.

“It’s . . . a boy. I mean, he’s a boy. I mean, he’s my brother, my brother is a boy. You know what I mean.” Her brain was totally scrambled.
Wow! Uncanny. This page would tell a browsing reader exactly what this book is about!

This page is the exact moment that Samira and Henry, half-siblings searching for their father who are instead matched to each other through a DNA test, are connected for the first time! It’s very indicative of the rest of the book, except that the chapters alternate between their points of view, and it’s also reflective of the tone: equal parts emotional and comedic.
Visit Susan Azim Boyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue