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The Confusion of Laurel Graham

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Laurel Graham has a singular, all-consuming ambition in this life: become the most renowned nature photographer and birder in the world. The first step to birding domination is to win the junior nature photographer contest run by prominent Fauna magazine. Winning runs in her blood—her beloved activist and nature-loving grandmother placed when she was a g ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Feiwel & Friends
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Cristina Monica
I actually finished this book over a week ago but I was in my exam period and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I did not feel like writing a review for a book immediately after being done with it.

Part of it is that I find writing reviews for 3-star-rated books more boring than writing reviews for books I adore or hate. Because it’s good, but it’s not great. It’s readable but I wouldn’t re-read it and would only recommend it to specific people.

The other reason is that I read the firs
...more
McKinlay Dennis
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely fantastic. It was heart-warming, laugh out loud funny, sad, beautiful. I loved it. There's a f/f slow-burn romance. And it made me want to go birding. I love animals so this isn't a huge epiphany or anything, but i hate going outside, so that's a thing. Anyway, Adrienne Kisner is now an autobuy author for me. Highly recommend!
Camden
This was so bad lmao. It was poorly written, the plot was all over the place with all these loose threads that all barely came together if at all, the relationship between the protag and her mom was just never resolved at all, the relationship between the protag and her love interest was so weirdly devoid of affection that felt real, and it felt like the author wanted to commit to bird puns but couldn't quite bring herself to do it. It was just not a very good book.

Also, the swearing was so weir
...more
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
This was like 25% cute f/f romance and 75% birdwatching. I was totally there for the f/f romance, but not so much for the birdwatching. Other than playing Wingspan a few times, I have no knowledge of/interest in American avian wildlife so I think that made this not the ideal choice of book for me.

The romance was cute; very slow-moving (so slow-moving that for large portions of the book I couldn’t work out whether the MC and her love interest actually liked each other) but otherwise ok.

I liked
...more
Barbara
This one would be a 3.5 for me. I like books with characters that have depth or those that have unusual hobbies. I found both of those requirements met in this YA novel. Seventeen-year-old Laurel Graham is a passionate wildlife photographer and budding ornithologist. She comes by her interest naturally as her maternal grandmother also loves birding. When her grandmother is injured severely and ends up in a coma while out looking for birds, Laurel blames herself, especially when the woman remains ...more
Kim Fortin
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Loved the premise and the characters and would've given it a four out of five but whoever was tasked with doing the copyediting really pissed me off, so I deducted a star.

Contractions weren't used where they should've been so the language was clunky enough for the majority of the book that it took me out of being there with the characters in scenes where dialogue should've been smooth as opposed to stilted.

This book deserved better than that--also how I felt about the cover art that was chosen h
...more
Anne
Laurel and her Gran are avid bird watchers. When an accident puts Gran in a coma, Laurel starts hearing an unfamiliar bird call. She thinks it is her Gran calling to her and that if she finds this bird, she will somehow find her Gran. In addition to this, her mom is dating someone new in a long string of boyfriends, the park/wetlands where she works and does most of her birdwatching is the proposed construction site for a new school, and she may have a crush on her former photography nemesis.

The
...more
Lynn
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
There were so many enticing elements here that drew me to the book: activism, birding, nature photography, warm relationship with a grandmother. But despite my earnest efforts to enjoy this, I was very put off by the voice of the narrator. It never rang true to me and there was a casual flippancy that is something I often like but found very off-putting here. It also felt to me that we were told of Laurel's emotions but rarely really experienced them through the narration.

Disappointing.
Alexa
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A little slow the get started, but I really enjoyed this book!

It reflected some of my own relationship with my mother back at me, and did a good job I think of showing a mother-daughter relationship that was realistic in all the ways it was imperfect. And I appreciated that there was no quick fix for that part of the conflict. Sometimes you have to accept that your parents have failings, and move forward without their full support.

I loved the activism aspect also. It felt a little bit unresolve
...more
Brie
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have to be in just the right mood to actually sit down and read (not listen) to a YA Contemporary book. So when I decided to start THE CONFUSION OF LAUREL GRAHAM this weekend I was apprehensive. It tuned out to be *exactly* what I needed! I started it on Friday morning and finished it Sunday evening. It was witty, moving and I just loved all of the different bird and photography references.

Laurel is a senior in high school who is spending her summer working at the local nature reserve. When he
...more
Laura
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephan
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birds, queer, teen, young-adult
I heard about this book via Tara Santora and their article for the National Audubon Society. I knew it would be full of quality bird content, but I didn't expect it to be so wonderfully queer! (It made sense to me once I realized Adrienne Kisner also wrote Dear Rachel Maddow, which I'd seen in passing but made the mistake of not reading. It's in the queue now!)

As a queer birder who knows many queer birders, it’s amazing to see that queerness and birding represented in a YA novel. When I was a te
...more
Meghan
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I absolutely love the message of this book and the struggles, trials, and trubulations Laurel went through to save her life, her grandmother, and the sanctuary that her and gran love. This book also got me curious about the science of bird calling and what will it take to identify this mystery bird and the power it poss
...more
Jenni Frencham
Laurel loves birds, her grandmother, and nature. But when her grandmother is out exploring and is hit by a car, Laurel blames herself for her grandmother's coma. Things don't improve when her mother decides to sell gram's house to developers. Laurel is grappling with guilt over her grandmother's injuries, frustration at her mother, on top of the standard drama of high school.

This is an okay book but not a fantastic book. Laurel isn't the only one who is confused - I, too, had difficulty followin
...more
Sarah
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It is one of the few YA books I have read that is an accurate depiction of the teenage mind in this day and age. Not only that, but it was a well-written LGBTQ book and one of the few YA books that didn't force the romance story line.

Laurel is a powerful character who, like most teenagers these days, is growing up in an increasingly political climate. As an avid birder, she works at the local nature center alongs
...more
Leah
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, read-2019
Didn't spark for me quite the same way Kisner's 2018 release Dear Rachel Maddow did, but I thought it deftly tackled multiple plots - everything breezed right by, although that did make the ending feel a little flimsier and less rooted than the rest of the book. Overall, there was an importance to the issues without overdramatizing or adding gratuitous misunderstandings and twists, something I appreciated in Kisner's writing in the past. I liked reading Laurel's perspective, and I'm always drawn ...more
Ash
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
This was sweet. It felt a little like retro Nancy Drew, with the way the mystery was presented. It’s definitely a YA book that, despite some of the language, I would probably recommend to younger teens. Especially any kids who love birds. I loved Laurel’s reldationship with her grandmother. However, I found her mother to be an incredibly annoying character. I feel like this would would translate well into a fun quirky film.

*ARC provided by Netgalley for my honest review
Sophie
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Actual rating 2.5
It was just okay. Mom's character was really dumb and horribly written and I didn't feel like the conflict between these two got resolved. Honestly, I don't know that any conflict really got resolved. I was barely invested in it by the end that everything felt so anti-climactic and unimportant. It's a good mindless read but I personally did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping.
*This review is based off an ARC
Megan
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was fun to read! I really love birds AND not to mention theres a good sapphic romance in there. Its a win win! I've never read a book where the story involves birding so reading about it and seeing the characters get super excited over birds was something I could relate to and allowed me to get invested in the story! My only complaint was the writing at times was a little cheesy.
Tabitha
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A sweet story that takes readers into the world of birding, which is actually more exciting than it sounds. Laurel is dealing with a family crisis while her second home -- a nature preserve -- is being threatened.

I read an ARC and it needed a least two more proofs (grammar errors and stilted language). But the author has promise and I would definitely read another book by her.
Morgan Librarian
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had a lot of trouble buying into the idea that there was a town filled with teenage birders who all love nature photography... I just really struggled to get into the story and almost put it down. It redeemed itself somewhat in the second half, but definitely wasn’t my favourite and I can’t imagine it appealing that well to most teens.
Lisa
Aug 25, 2019 added it
Let me get this straight...an author goes to one of the best MFA programs in the country, and comes back with first a love story to Rachel Maddow followed by a novel that begins with the F bomb dropped on each page for the first 19 pages?? Glad I borrowed from the library and glad I DNF.
Diane
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Really enjoyable, with a fantastic heroine who’s obsessed by birds and challenged by family and community problems. She struggles, but also takes action, and the birds! Really fun, especially for nature lovers.
Terri Grief
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the story but thought the gratuitous graphic language was unnecessary. I don't mind graphic language when it adds to the character but this just seemed forced.
Muhemed Masika
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
To read you was the unconfusion
The period comes to wash you out of the confusion
Alana
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads, jri, ala
Slow to start and then picks up and is wonderful.
Kelly K
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars.
Pretty much your typical YA but with an ending I actually really liked, birding lingo, and LGBTQ+ main characters.
Kathleen
Nov 01, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, arc-galley
Queer content: f/f enemies to friends to lovers
Sharon Sheridan
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Language was HORRIBLE for a young adult book.
Roberta Weiner
I loved this YA author's other two books. This one I liked. It's uneven though, and the major plot points were telegraphed a mile away. Read her others if you haven't already!
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Adrienne Kisner has master's and doctorate degrees in theology from Boston University and was inspired by her work with high school and college students to write Dear Rachel Maddow. She is also a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in writing for children and young adults. Dear Rachel Maddow is her debut.

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