Insecurities, Introspection, and Growing Confidence

Submitted By:
Jessica May, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

Look No Further by Rioghnach Robinson and Síofra Robinson
Amulet/Abrams, August 25, 2023

Described as "The Parent Trap meets The Vanishing Half," Look No Further is a compelling YA novel that explores family, race, identity, and finding one’s voice. Authored by siblings Rioghnach Robinson and Síofra Robinson, the novel follows Niko and Ali, high school students from opposite sides of the country who meet at a prestigious summer arts institute in New York City – only to discover they are half-siblings. They embark on an adventure to find their father, a reclusive Chinese sculptor whom neither has ever known, and on a journey of self-discovery. Niko, a 17-year-old surfer from California, raised by his white mother and stepfather without exposure to Chinese language or culture, reflects "I don't feel like a real Asian.” Ali, a queer 15-year-old who has her mother's blond hair and grey eyes, grew up with her Chinese grandmother in a Mandarin-speaking home in Flushing, Queens and "never thought of [herself] as anything other than Chinese" until friends and strangers perceive her as white. Alternating between Niko’s and Ali's points of view, the book shares each character’s thoughts as they gain new insights about essential questions of identity: Who am I as an artist? As a person? What does it mean to be biracial? How do I address stereotypes and microaggressions? If I am fully myself, will others accept me? How do I define family? The book's depiction of Niko's and Ali's insecurities, introspection, and growing confidence to define themselves feels authentic and engaging. Look No Further provides windows and mirrors for teen (and adult) readers that can launch meaningful conversations.

Psychology & Human Development