In a dual POV novel, Angela Velez takes readers on a road trip with the Zavala sisters. Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity is a humorous and heartfelt debut about sisterhood, coming of age, and piecing together the aftermath of a shattering family conflict.
Lulu, Milagro, and Clara have always been drastically different. But the Zavala sisters and their mom are a tight-knit family. That is, until oldest sister Clara leaves to attend college in Iowa and a mysterious falling out between her and Mami splinters the bond between the Zavala women. Fearful of their family falling apart, Mami becomes even more determined to keep her other two daughters in state, pushing for them to attend local colleges.
Coming-of-age in a critical family conflict
Youngest sister Luz “Lulu” Zevala is an overachiever, aiming to be a Stanford-bound student of marine biology. Except there’s one problem—Clara and Mami’s falling out means attending an out-of-state college is out of the question. That is, unless she can uncover what really happened between Clara and Mami and resolve it in time to achieve her Stanford dreams.
Middle sister Milagro is branded as a boy-crazed troublemaker at St. Agnes, the private Catholic school Milagro and Lulu attend. It seems that everyone—including Lulu—wonders why Milagro can’t be more like her older sister Clara: a goody two-shoes. When Milagro and Lulu find themselves on a bus cross-country bound on St. Agnes’ annual college tour, the two sisters are forced to face resurfacing family issues and reevaluate their own plans for the future.
A well-balanced, voice driven dual POV book
The story draws readers along with its strong sense of voice. Told through alternating POVs between Lulu and Milagro, the two sisters have distinct perspectives that are reflective of their differing personalities. As a dual-POV novel, Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity is beautifully done—bringing readers to empathize with both characters and their personal struggles. The story also resonates strongly as a work that touches on the pressures of achieving generational aspirations, especially within immigrant families. Lulu and Milagro draw readers into their story from the first page. The book perfectly balances heavier themes of familial pressure and imposter syndrome with lighthearted and humorous storytelling, and a healthy dose of romance to top it all off.
A few elements in the book felt too easily resolved or too convenient to be believable, but as a whole Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity resonates in the story at its center. The messy sibling relationships, the coming-of-age elements that tackle imposter syndrome, and fear of failure, as well as the pressure to succeed, are familiar for many readers, especially as a young adult novel.
For readers who enjoy diverse coming-of-age stories centering family such as How Moon Fuentez Fell in the Universe, Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity is a perfect next read.
Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity was released on February 8th, 2022.