Center for Children's Literature Blog

Children’s Book Committee – June 2022 Pick

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For
Written by Veera Hiranandani

In 1967 when Ariel Goldberg’s Jewish parents oppose her big sister Leah’s plan to marry a man from India, the older girl disappears.

Our Young Reviewers Say:

“The most unique thing about How to Find What You’re Not Looking For is that it is written in second person. This choice was a wise one because it really draws the reader in and, rather than reading a story told through another person’s perspective, the author chose to make you Ariel. The only downside is that this limits the age at which a person would enjoy this book. Ariel is 12 years old, and if you are much younger or much older than that, it could be a less engaging read. This novel also tackles race and religion in a really thoughtful way. Ariel’s sister, Leah, has married a Hindu, Indian man named Raj. Leah and Ariel, as well as their parents and family, are Jewish. The story follows Ariel in dealing with this major event in her life. Veera Hiranandani provides a lens into how race and religion was dealt with in the time period of the book, 1967, and allows the reader a chance to compare and contrast. In my opinion, not enough has changed regarding the worlds’ views of race and religion, but it was a fascinating perspective nonetheless.”

–Lucy, age 13, New York City

“I rate this book 9 of 10. I have dysgraphia and this was the first book I have actually read that tells what that is like. It was a ‘mirror’ book for me and I wish more kids and teachers understood about this. The time line was set in the 1960’s and I liked the popular culture historical references, like the Beatles. I wanted to spend my money to buy it and put it in my school and local library.”

–Quade, age 12, Encinitas, CA

Young people who are interested in reviewing are invited to do so as we welcome the individual perspective of our age appropriate readers. If you are interested in being a reviewer, contact

See our Monthly Picks Archive 2012–2018, and our Monthly Picks 2019–present.