Marit Weisenberg’s This Golden State follows a family on the run, a restless teenage daughter hungry for the truth, and the simple DNA test that threatens their carefully crafted world
The Winslow family lives by five principles:
1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.
Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.
When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.
Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?
Named to YALSA’s Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers List
“This Golden State's mashup of gorgeously drawn coming of age and utterly gripping mystery had me magnetized to the page. A propulsive tale full of crystalline insights, told with such delicate ferocity."
—Melissa Albert, author of The Hazel Wood
“This Golden State is a luminous and gripping novel about family, identity, and what it means to love and to let go. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Jennifer Mathieu, author of Moxie
“This Golden State is that rarest combination of a page-turning, gripping plot that will keep you enthralled for hours, and a soul-stirring, coming-of-age story that will set your heart aflame.”
—Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King
"Marit Weisenberg hits the ball out of the park in This Golden State. The book transforms as you read, revealing layers that include a twisting, high-wire crime thriller, a sensual teen romance and, most significantly, a story about finding your place in your family. A Rapunzel-esque tale about breaking free, finding out who you are and where you can go, This Golden State shines."
"Weisenberg creates page-turning suspense surrounding a criminal mystery full of family secrets as the reader follows Poppy on her journey of self-discovery as well as unearthing her family’s past. This coming-of-age mystery is perfect for fans of Karen M. McManus who enjoy a romantic subplot."
—School Library Journal
"Combines a pulse-pounding mystery with a moving portrayal of the conflict between a young woman yearning for independence and her close-knit family. . . . Marit Weisenberg creates a suspenseful and surprising mystery. She also portrays messy family relationships with compassion and nuance. . . . Readers looking for an uncommon take on the classic coming-of-age story will enjoy following Poppy on her journey."
"Weisenberg delivers a compelling coming-of-age novel that explores personal responsibility and what we do for love and for family loyalty. Fans of crime stories, romances, and psychological thrillers will be fully invested."
—The Horn Book