Book Review: You Were Here

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can – by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends – all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend, the heartbroken poet, the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome, and… Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation, moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panels and word art poetry, perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, Jennier Niven, and Jandy Nelson. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park, You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak and inevitable change.

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on March 1, 2016.*

This book was better than I expected it to be. I don’t really know what I was expecting but I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with it as much as I did. Told in multiple point of views, Cori McCarthy weaves together a story of forgiveness, love, moving on, and hope.

It’s been five years since Jaycee’s older, dare devil brother Jake died while doing a dare. Since then Jaycee has kind of lost herself. She wears Jake’s clothes and follows his dares, trying to keep the memory of Jake alive.

On the night of her own graduation Jaycee realizes she’s lived past the age her brother did. Planning to go to the old, abandoned mental hospital she always does on the anniversary of her brother’s death she’s joined by her ex-best friend, Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend, Zach, and his friend, Bishop. Creating a rag tag team that’s soon joined by Mik, Jake’s friend and Jaycee’s…something, they decide to go through Jake’s dares together, each for their own personal reasons.

Jaycee’s chapters are told in first person, Zach and Natalie’s are told in third person, Bishop’s sections are just illustrations of the art he makes, and Mik’s point of view is told in the form of comics. You Were Here is put together so creatively and I sympathized and related to each of these characters. Plus, there’s just so much going on but not so much that the important themes get lost.

Each character is going through their own issues. Jaycee is still reeling from her brother’s death, Natalie feels guilty about not being there for Jaycee five years ago, Zach isn’t sure about his future, Bishop is getting over his break-up, and Mik is a selective mute who struggles to speak around Jaycee, the one person he really wants to talk to.

You Were Here is released today and you should all do yourselves a favor and purchase this one. It’s seriously a book you’ll want on your shelf.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

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