Author: Kristen-Paige Madonia
Published: August 7th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Lemon and her mum, Stella, have never stayed in one place for long. Switching accommodations and schools was already a norm to her but it wasn’t something she enjoyed doing. Watching her mum switch boyfriends at every place they stopped and moving when the relationship didn’t turn out well made Lemon wonder who the adult was in their relationship. Everything changed when Lemon found herself pregnant.
She persuaded Stella to allow her to go on a road trip to San Francisco with the reason that she wanted to see the place her mother was living during the time she got pregnant with her. Inside, Lemon wanted to closure; she needed to know who her father was and what type of person he is. On the path of becoming a mother, she needed to know the other parent that has always been absent from her life.
Fingerprints of You is a coming-of-age book centred on the themes of single parenting and also teenage pregnancy. It sounded like two rather heavy topics but it was skilfully deployed. Each page of the book was filled with interesting perspective and emotions. This book was also the debut novel of the author which makes it even more interesting.
The meaning of the cover was explained at the beginning of the story: the origins of the hummingbird. The cover originally looked oriental to me but turns out in the end, the shades and drawings were akin to tattoos. However, the title starts to make sense and is explained during the resolution of the story although throughout the story I had the feeling that I vaguely understand why the book was titled Fingerprints of You. Fingerprints, like footprints, are something that is left behind by other people and in this case, the fingerprint carries the meaning of the impact left on us by the people we meet.
Lemon, like most teenage girls, needed assurance and the knowledge that she is desirable, but in her search for acceptance, she made a decision that changed her entire course of life. Although it’s arguable if what she did was wrong or just not thought through, the choices she made after that undesirable incident were bold once. She did not sit about moping or regretting, instead she moved forward and tried her best to adapt to her current situation. I would like to think that she was meant to be a mum the way she did so much research on pregnancy and did not even once considered abortion. Lemon was a person who was unafraid of being who she wants to be and enjoys doing what she loves best.
“You actually care about what you read and don’t just pretend to be reading because you think it will make you seem smart.” – Emmy
Lemon also has an interesting way of describing things and her view on life and the world around her is different and refreshing.
Stella was an adult who didn’t grow up but she loved Lemon dearly even though she rarely shows it. She suppressed her motherly instinct and tried to do what she think is best for Lemon. It was her way of telling Lemon that she cares and loves her deeply. Moving from one place to another continuously is not an easy task because it means starting everything all over again. But that’s what I admired about Stella. She was independent and she had a fiery spirit even though her personality is unpredictable.
“Take all of that in, but don’t forget where you came from.” – Stella
Fingerprints of You touched on friendships as well as the soldiers sent off to war. Emmy was a really good friend to Lemon. Theirs was a friendship that I believe will last until they’re old and grey. Although Emmy was a little on a wild side, she’s also vulnerable and anchored as she advised Lemon to return from San Francisco and back to Stella. Emmy is the type of friend who is hard to find these days.
Fingerprints of You focuses mainly on Lemon and her search for her past and her identity but even as she grows matured and independent, the other characters around her grow as well, especially Stella. It’s a story about gains and losses, heartbreak and love and the knowledge that a mother’s love runs deep.
“Life’s too short to walk away from people who love you. Even if that love is flawed and complicated and screwed up, it’s still love. And that makes it worth finding a way to hold on to it.” – Emmy