Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: You Were Here

Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Page Count: 400
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
*I got this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Everything can change in a day. Jaycee learned that when her brother died in an accident hours after he graduated from high school. In the aftermath, she is abandoned by her best friend and watches as what’s left of her family falls apart. Years later, on her own graduation day during an unexpected reunion with friends, she begins to see how that accident changed their lives forever too.

You Were Here is a story that is carried by character development. Cori McCarthy breathes complexity and nuance into her characters through their every thought and action, and shows how they grapple with their friends’ imperfections while trying to sort out their own. The action of the plot takes a backseat to the developments of relationships and growth within the characters themselves. And despite at times painting some of the characters in an unfavorable light, McCarthy still manages to evoke a sense of sympathy for the invisible hurts they all carry.

This book was also a fascinating read because of the structure of how it was told. Each chapter would alternate between the main characters’ points of view: three of them in writing, two of them in graphics. This really enhanced the overall telling of the story because it complimented how each of the characters communicated. For example, of the two characters whose stories are told though a graphic novel style, one is an artist who expresses himself through his work, and the other is a selective mute who, for the most part, communicates through gestures expressions.

You Were Here is a complex, emotional roller-coaster of a story about love, loss, and transition. Its memorable cast of characters, sense of adventure, and unflinching exploration of difficult topics is reminiscent of John Green and the interplay between writing and graphics will appeal to fans of Brian Selznick. I recommend it for readers of contemporary YA across the board.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

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