Hello everyone! So a few hours ago I posted my second monthly challenge wrap up here and now I'm ready to post the review I have been super excited about since finishing this book last weekend. You Were Here by Cori McCarthy, I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review, so thanks to them. This title comes out next week, March 1st.
You Were Here is about a girl named Jaycee who had her life turned upside down when her brother Jake died in front of her five years prior. She hasn't dealt with things and has instead become somewhat of a daredevil taking any dare and trying to keep her brother alive in some way. We start on the anniversary of his death, where she normally goes and breaks into Jake's favorite place, an old asylum. This year she is joined unexpectedly by some classmates, her former best friend and her boyfriend, and someone dealing with a broken heart, and the one person her expects to be there Mik an old friend of Jake's who's been meeting her this day for the past couple of years. This one night leads into a serious of dares, things left behind by Jake that Jaycee decides to take on and complete while her newfound band of fellow explorers join and try to get her to face her past and maybe learn a few things about themselves.
I didn't know a ton about this book when I went into it. The cover caught my eye and then the idea of stunts and dares combined with the idea of facing grief was enough to interest me. Everyone is different. Everyone handles things in life differently, Jaycee almost turned into her lost brother in a way. The story is told through multiple POVs but also more interestingly in different formats. One character simply a picture, a piece of art he did while another is told in graphic novel form which was beyond amazing and one of the many reasons I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy next week. The other three are the normal words on the page kind but no less amazing.
Our band of misfits do some stupid things. With Jaycee and her somewhat off-putting complete and blunt truth 24/7 is a bit harsh at times but she was always true to that self and that was nice. She hasn't dealt with her brothers death and it's had an impact on her life. Natalie is a straight laced girl full of plans and how things should be, planning rather than living and not feeling much of life. Zach is a bit of a party boy who is good hearted but a bit immature sometimes. Bishop the heartbroken guy who has good intentions but can come off as a bit aloof in his pain. And Mik, the selective mute who doesn't speak often but still has so much presence to himself and when he does talk he is just….I fell for him. At the start they seemed a bit hard to like, well accept Mik I liked him from his first page, but then somehow without me noticing I was invested and cared about all of them and wanted so many things for them.
You Were Here also manages to keep things real and focus on real issues like grief and all that can bring from stress, depression, and recklessness. Each person in the story was dealing with things in their own way and that is how life goes. Not everyone handles things the same way, and I particularly loved Jaycee and her truth and how when people asked how she refused to simply say fine. It makes you think how often you reply fine when you are not in fact fine and on the flip side how often you ask about another person and expect them to tell you the same. I liked the realism there, even if parts were to the extreme they made for a great read. Oh and having the romance in there developing in its adorkable way just made me swoon a little bit.
Now one of the other amazing things in this book is that as they move about and go to these old locations, which FYI are real locations and some of them are still standing, you could feel like you were there. And even more fun for me is they are 2-3 hours from where I lived as a kid and used to go back and visit every summer growing up. I had heard of the old mall and the theme park before so to have that previous point of reference and connection to growing up was super cool. But even without that, simply knowing these places exist in the real world and not made up was pretty cool. You can read all about the locations here in the authors own words.
That's all I have to say on You Were Here. I highly recommend this title and can't wait to re-read my physical copy. It comes out March 1st, which is only next Tuesday so not that long of a wait! Anywho I'd love to hear what you think about the book down below in the comments. Also don't forget to check out my open giveaway (until 3/7/16) for a chance to win a signed copy of Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman here.
Until next time…