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~ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~
You Were Here is a surprisingly enjoyable novel and authentic. Told in alternating chapters from each of the five main character in a variety of ways. The main protagonist Jaycee’s are told in the first person, while Zach and Natalie’s are in third. Bishop’s chapters are graffiti art, while Mik’s are graphic novel panels. The result is five clear and differentiated voices and a really refreshing way of reading a book.
Jaycee’s brother died five years ago when he snapped his neck doing a backflip off the top of a playground swing in front of Jaycee and others. Five years later, the time hasn’t changed the Jake-sized hole she has in her life. Every year, on the anniversary of Jake’s death, Jaycee breaks into the ruins of an insane asylum and meets up with Mik, Jake’s friend. But this year, Jaycee is joined by her ex-best friend Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend Zach, and their friend Bishop. This was the beginning of a series of adventures when Jaycee finds Jake’s map of old buildings and hidden dares.
You Were Here had such a great authenticity to its storyline, dealing with mature themes of death, family, and growing up. It’s a fairly long novel, but there’s so much going on, you don’t even realise. Each character had such a unique voice, and there was no problem separating them because each and everyone had such a distinct voice, and it’s brilliantly executed.
Jake’s death left a hole in Jaycee, but she wasn’t the only one affected. All five characters’ lives were changed that day, whether they were present or not. And how it all connected was really well done, and as their adventure slowly exposed the truth, it becomes a really gripping tale.
I really liked how brutally honest Jaycee was, and as she holds onto to the memory of Jake, she throwing everyone else out.She’s a very different but fun narrator and is the key piece to putting the group back together, even when she doesn’t want to.
Nat’s determined to slowly cast away all her attachments before leaving their town, and starting anew at college, and using her last summer as a chance to make some things right. I really related to Nat, she’s a goody-two-shoes and if it was me, I would definitely be yelling at everyone about how dangerous that roof looks.
Despite how closely I related with Nat, I absolutely loved Mik. He has selective mutism, so we don’t hear a lot from Mik personally but his scenes are shown through graphic novel panels and I LOVED IT. It was such a creative way of showing another character’s POV, and he was a great character!
Zach is a joker and how his storyline was developed and revealed was really good. But I won’t say more because it’s best left as a surprise. Bishop seems like a lesser character, and his chapters are similar to Mik, showing the graffiti work rather than writing but his presence was vital to the working of this book.
Together, You Were Here brings a mix of humour, heartbreak and honestly creating an uplifting and interesting novel that I can’t wait for it to be released to the world.
Advance Readers Copy (Kindle), pages unavailable Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire ISBN: 1492617040