Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
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Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?
On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideoutÂ—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.
As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.
When I read the description of the book, my reaction was Â“Ugh, why did I request this.Â” I couldnÂ’tÂ remember why I had wanted to read it and nothing about the description spoke to me. If IÂ’m beingÂ honest, the synopsis made me feel actively turned off. I avoided picking this book up until the lastÂ possible moment before my review was due because I just didnÂ’t see myself liking it. This isnÂ’t the kindÂ of book I usually pick for myself and I thought that at best I could expect to tolerate this story.
With my low expectations, imagine my shock when this book completely consumed me. Every singleÂ thing about this book blew me away. It exceeded my expectations in every area. Then this bookÂ completely destroyed me.
At its core, You Were Here is about continuing on after someone you love has died. However, whatÂ happens if you were responsible for their death? Or if they werenÂ’t actually that nice of a person? WhatÂ if their death changed everything about your life? Or if their death makes you determined that nothingÂ will ever change again? This book explores the different ways people grieve but also how people surviveÂ a major loss. It takes time, effort and help to pick up the pieces and continue on. Sometimes, itÂ’s notÂ survivable. Sometimes you will never be the same.
The characters in this book were real and deep. Each one is battling their own demons and keepingÂ secrets. I loved each and every one of them. There wasnÂ’t a single character that I didnÂ’t connect with orÂ care about deeply. Natalie and Zach, Bishop, Jaycee and Mik, excuse me, Ryan, each of them damagedÂ and struggling in their own ways. Whether for good or for ill, they all made decisions that led them toÂ grow and change over the course of the book. I loved that their paths werenÂ’t straight. They made badÂ choices, had set backs and didnÂ’t always know why they were acting out. Jaycee and Mik will alwaysÂ hold a special place in my heart.
IÂ’ve read a lot of great books this year already. IÂ’ve had many 4 and 5 star reviews. So itÂ’s hard when IÂ come across a book thatÂ’s somehow fundamentally better than others IÂ’ve already rated 5 stars. ThoseÂ books were great. However, this book emotionally affected me in a way that still has me staggered daysÂ later. This book is a 5 star book.