Review: When You Were Here

Nov •  17 •  2013

I received this book for free from FTC: Exchange for honest opinion, Paragraphs Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: When You Were HereWhen You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Brown For Young Readers, Little on June 4th 2013
Genres: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: FTC: Exchange for honest opinion, Paragraphs Books
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Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity. 

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

My goodness. There are very few books that make me cry just within the first few chapters. And this one…this one hit me in the heart fast.

Plot: As a parent of a little boy, I can’t imagine dying right before his graduation. But this plot…this plot grabs the reader right away. The range of emotions thrown at the reader along with the twist of death, you can’t resist it. I read this book in under a few hours. And let me tell you, it stuck in my mind afterwards.

Death: I think I related to this book so much because I’m a parent. Now, I’m not trying to be morbid but I do think how would my son take it if I were to die early. Would he understand? Would he be angry? And all of questions were answered through the mind of Danny. Danny, a wonderful teenage by faced with an onslaught of bad karma. I felt his emotions and thoughts come in clearly. I could see, feel and hear every emotion that rocked through him. The anger that coursed through his veins when he thought of everything that he experienced. Hell, even I was angry. This author did a fantastic job, capturing the voice of teenage boy facing hard times.

Love: Even though this book is full of bad events, I felt like this little tidbit in Danny’s life is important. It gave the reader that small chance of hope. That there can be peace for this character even in the midst of all the trouble.

Ending: The ending I felt was fitting. Everything felt completed yet the reader knows that it is not the end for Danny. Life sucks, yet we can move on.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading it and feeling my heart flutter in my chest with every turn of the chapter. When You Were Here is a great mix of edgy plot and lots of emotions. A wonderful tale with a journey that is sure to bring you to tears, When You Were Here is superb.

I give it 5 BITES!


Happy Reading!

1 Comment

  1. This sounds really good. I love that it made you react so strongly. Books that can do that are my favorite. I’ll have to read this sometime. Great review!