Anne Cassidy’s new young adult novel, Looking for JJ, is certainly not for the faint of heart and should be read by young adults no younger than 13. This author explores a unique storyline and tells it with emotional flair. Her skills as an author are commendable as she handles a difficult story of violence, sadness, desperation and dependence with tenderness.
The main character is a young woman who grows up with a difficult home life and is haunted by a terrible mistake. She has paid for her crime of passion and taken on a new name in order to hide from the press and keep her identity hidden from her peers. Suddenly she finds herself actually caring for those around her. She forms attachments and begins to understand herself, and also learn to understand and forgive other’s reactions to her past. Yet she is forced to leave all this behind and start a new life when her true identity is discovered.
If I were asked to use one word to describe Looking for JJ, I would have to choose “haunting”
- even after nearly a week had passed since reading the book, the lead character did not leave my thoughts for more than a few moments.
I commend the author on her choice of an ending that is full of promise and opportunity, and the unknown. It
is a perfect closing to an emotionally charged tale.