Review of We Weren’t Looking to Be Found

We Weren’t Looking to Be Found We Weren’t Looking to Be Found
by Stephanie Kuehn
High School    Hyperion    320 pp.   g
6/22    978-1-368-06410-1    $17.99

Dani is a sixteen-year-old debutante whose “life revolved around Black cotillion and Black society and Black choir,” until she started to rebel by drinking and using drugs. Camila is a Latina teen dancer who secretly self-harms, believing that “it’s not through sacrifice one finds salvation. It’s through suffering.” After online photos of an intoxicated Dani embarrass her parents and Camila attempts suicide following the news that her family can’t afford dance school, both girls are admitted to Peach Tree Hills Treatment Facility, where they become roommates. Assigned to clean out a storage shed, they find a set of letters from a past resident that initiates a personal journey for each of them toward wellness and imbues the recovery narrative with a hint of mystery. In alternating chapters, each girl shares the story of her treatment: brooding Camila looks inward; brash Dani is ­argumentative. While the detailed dialogues between Dani and her psychiatrist (who is also Black) can occasionally feel didactic, they also underscore the importance of culturally ­relevant therapy in supporting patients of color. (Kuehn, When I Am Through with You, rev. 9/17, is a clinical psychologist herself.) Fans of Emily X.R. Pan (The Astonishing Color of After, rev. 5/18; An Arrow to the Moon, rev. 5/22) and Amy Reed (The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World) will be drawn into Camila’s and Dani’s healing processes. ­

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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