Book Review: You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

I know. I’m the worst. I really am. But I’ve been working on getting my transfer done and having awesome family time, and my internet has really been sucking it up lately. I have no excuse. I’m going to be better, I promise!

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Info: Contemporary YA, paperback, 251 pages, 2 days.

Synopsis: Emma Healyhas grown used to being the only ordinary one in her rather extraordinary family. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she realizes why she never felt quite whole. She sets off on a trip to visit her brother’s grave. Peter Finnegan, her neighbor, comes along for the ride. Emma thinks they can’t possibly have anything in common, but with each passing mile, they find themselves learning more and more about themselves and each other.

Why I Chose This Book: I fell in love with The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love and This Is What Happiness Looks Like, both by Smith. They are amazing books! You Are Here is a book I’ve had on my shelf for a while and decided this is the perfect time for a book about an impromptu summer road trip. I was so right.

What I Liked: Um. Everything? So good!! I laughed, I cried, and laughed while I cried. It was amazing. The synopsis doesn’t even come close to capturing all that this book contains. I loved Peter and his love of geography/history. He made me wish I could read a map to save my life. Plus, perfect road trip companion. Boy memorizes maps so easily and frequently that he doesn’t need a GPS even though he’s never left the state. AMAZING. He blows my mind. And the dog they pick up at the start of the trip is so precious I almost started considering how to ask my mom if we can get a dog. Emma is such a unique character in that she’s not just invisible and keeps people at a distance, but she has these flaws that we all have to some degree. She’s the comination of the worst of all of us without being completely unlikeable. She’s the spontaneous fire to Peter’s cowardly hesitation. This is an amazing story of loss never known, of finding people you never met. And yet, this is not a heavy book. I wasn’t exhausted after turning the last page,  but I wasn’t unaffected either. This book touches your heart in a soft way that ensures you’ll carry it with you long after it’s back on your shelf.

What I Didn’t Like: For once, I’m not going to say I wish this book was longer. It ended perfectly. I didn’t like how long it took for me to finally pick this book up. That’s about it.

Rating and Recommendation: 5 stars. Read this if you like books about travel, history, loss, coming-of-age stories, and/or family issues.

Final Thoughts: This was a phenomenal read. As with Smith’s other books, I’ll probably reread it at least once every two years.

 

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