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What I Just Read: A D.S. Marquis Book Review of Finding Innocence by Karen Keith

Updated: Jan 12

Finding Innocence, a young adult fantasy by Karen Keith is a story written in first person narration from the perspective of a runaway protagonist, Alex, whose wildest dreams and more, come true.

Keith’s reader journey is joined by a diverse social group of bikers and wealthy elites, who we learn are all not without their own personal struggles. The power of love and support that results in being found, and hence recovered after being lost, is a loud and clear message in Keith’s Finding Innocence.

Characters’ dialogue, actions, and thoughts portray a solid respect for the love of animals, a strict no bullying policy, and a regard for the magic of music. “It’s not just the music for me…It’s the honesty of a loud, belligerent crowd quieting down because suddenly something bigger than the individual connects them all and compels them… Holding them suspended in the motion of sound. Sometimes it looks as if a big invisible hand reaches out and softly pushes them toward the stage.” (Karen Keith Chapter 5 Finding Innocence) Although subtle, I sensed an art heals theme running like a river through the story.

Some copy editing is lacking in the e-book that I read via Kindle, but not enough to take away the joy of the suburban California town setting and the perspective of life the reader gains from the believable and beautiful heart and mind of the protagonist, who levels all the playing fields in her friend group with her sharp wit, all the while healing from trauma. There were times while reading I felt like I was watching an episode of the cartoon, Monster High. The book is a clean and easy adolescent read with just enough sexual tension between love interests to leave the rest for the reader’s imagination. Drug use is handled in a way that alerts the reader of the risks. Keith’s ending left me riled with questions and speculations that only a sequel to which I look forward, can answer. Overall, Finding Innocence is a fun and heartwarming teenaged read filled with hope and a serious message. ☮

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