Release date: March 1, 2016
On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—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.
You Were Here is am emotional book – there is a lot of grief among the characters, resulting from the death of Jaycee’s older brother, five years ago. She has been living her life for him since then, trying to keep him alive through herself. Natalie, her ex-BFF, is about to leave for college and initially wants closure from her town, and wants to save her friend from herself. Zach is Natalie’s boyfriend, who has had a rough home life and his perspective on life has been affected because of that. These three characters had a prose POV, but Bishop, a heart-broken artist, has an artwork to speak for him, while Mik, the socially anxious friend of Jake has graphic novel-like chapters. Through alternating perspectives, a story of developing friendship generates; they explore ruins and find something beautiful there.
While the story could be considered more of a character-driven plot, I felt I couldn’t really connect to the characters. Jaycee’s behavior was snarky (that I liked) and erratic (did not make sense), and I felt Mik’s anxiety wasn’t given it’s due. As for Bishop, he speaks through his art, but his friendship to the others was not something that was really explored. Natalie was perhaps the only character I felt was written well. The overall pacing is also very slow, which I did not like much. Also, I feel the Tyler situation wasn’t addressed properly; the overall lack of authoritative figures in the book was a tad bit unrealistic. In conclusion, it has a good story but reading it wasn’t enjoyable.
Received a free galley from Sourcebooks Fire, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.