NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU is Kristin Forest’s second YA novel, and it is a lively and enjoyable read appropriate for ages 12 and up. The novel follows Evie, an 18-year-old budding actor on the verge of stardom when a leaked video brings her down and she goes into mortified seclusion. Evie’s character is self-centered and privileged, but being the granddaughter of an ultra-famous Hollywood star and the only child of an award-winning documentary team will do that to anyone. Young Adult audiences will appreciate the novel’s central message about shaking off public opinion and learning to trust oneself and others.
Burned by her best — and only — friend, Evie emerges from a months-long hibernation hopeful that an appearance with Gigi, her famous grandmother, will re-start her career. She travels from California to NYC to present an award and convince Gigi to give her blessing to a new project. However, the appearance of Milo, a live-in friend and helper to her grandmother and sudden (but voluntary) disappearance of Gigi interrupts the plans. What follows is a fun, delightfully adventurous week during which Evie learns more about herself and her grandmother she ever thought possible.
Milo is an endearing character, and readers root for him throughout the novel. His calm and bemused responses to Evie’s scattered, sometimes snobbish manner also help us have more patience with her. The slowly emerging but resisted romance is told from Evie’s point of view, but Milo’s character is well-developed, and he is an effective foil and support to Evie.
Peripheral characters serve as a fabulous, active, backdrop to the events in NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU. Milo’s bandmates are a collection of goofy but believable personalities who grow into solid characters. Evie’s former best friend Simone begins the story’s action, but she also gets a few appearances later in the novel that round out her character. Evie’s agent, Kerri, is a likable and reliable support throughout the novel.
Kristina Forest’s sophomore YA novel is a breath of fresh air with minor use of harsh language, light romantic kissing, and no violence. It reminded me of IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY in its ability to delve into interpersonal drama without passing canceling judgment on any characters. The point comes across as self-affirmation and deserved joy in a firmly Black-centered world of drama, family, and growth. It is a joy to read.