Emma has never felt a part of her family. Her parents, professors at a local college, and her much older siblings are always discussing poetry, philosophy, or topics important to the world. She is more interested in the here and now, not in deep intellectual thoughts.
Her feelings of not fitting in are dramatically increased the day she stumbles across the birth certificate of a twin brother she never knew she had. When she also discovers his death certificate tucked away in the same box in the attic, she can't believe that no one ever told her.
Turning 17 in less than a week, Emma decides to get her older brother to take her to his apartment in New York City. Once she gets there, her real plan is to "borrow" his car and travel to North Carolina to visit her twin's grave. When the car gives out at a rest stop along the New Jersey turnpike, she calls her neighbor, Peter Finnegan, another soon-to-be 17-year-old.
Peter is dealing with his own personal conflicts. He has grown up with just his father since his mother died shortly after his birth. Lately, his frustration with his silent and often absent father, and the desire to leave town and see the world, are almost more than he can tolerate. When he gets Emma's call for help, he sees it as the perfect opportunity to hit the road, see some of the sights he's dreamed of, and also spend time with a girl he realizes he's had a crush on for quite some time.
Together, the two loners begin a journey that will change them both. Not only do the teens come to know one another better, but their families also begin to recognize the ways they could be more present and supportive.
YOU ARE HERE is a carefully crafted story about families and relationships and the secrets that complicate them. Author Jennifer E. Smith has created an intricately layered cast of characters that give readers a peek into the various ways that humans handle tragedy and conflict. Smith's depth and sensitivity make YOU ARE HERE a must-read.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
on 11 March 2013
I had never read anything by Jennifer E Smith before until I was bought this for christmas. And I have to say that
it was quite brilliant. Emma feels like a misfit in her family, the odd one out who nobody understands or even tries
to get to know. One day she discovers something in the attic, a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew
existed, and tragically, a death certificate dated just 2 days later.
In a state of shock she feels unable to confront her family about this secret they have kept for so long and with her
birthday just days away, she decides to "borrow" her brothers car and drive down to visit her lost twins grave and try
to find some answers. After experiencing car trouble she calls on Peter, a sort of friend, to come help her and he very
quickly obliges. He's having his own problems at home with his Dad and had already decided to make an escape of his own.
The 2 embark on a road trip, picking up a stray dog on the way. Learning things they never knew about themselves and
the people they care about most, and discovering new things about each other.
This book is written from both Peter and Emma's perspective in alternating chapters, but in the third person. At first I
found this a bit odd and it took some getting used to as I don't often read books written in this way. However, it's clear
that the author chose this as it is the only way that we can see everything that both Emma and Peter experience and once
I got used to it it worked really well and I enjoyed seeing inside both characters in a complete way, knowing what both
were thinking. Jennifer E Smith has written a funny whilst heart breaking story that at times had me in tears. I couldn't
help but feel for Emma and Peter, who have both suffered tragic losses in life, and their families who may not have
handled things well, had only done the things they had done to try to cope with their own grief, in the only way they
knew how. Truly excellent book that is well worth a read.
on 23 August 2014
So this will be the fourth book I've read by Jennifer E. Smith and considering she only has 6 books out, and I have yet to dislike one, I think that's pretty good don't you?. While it may not be my favourite, that title goes to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, it still was fluffy an cute and all things we come to expect while reading a book by Jennifer.
This lovey story is set around two neighbors, Emma and Peter. Both very different from their family, both hoping for what the other has. Not long before her seventieth birthday, Emma stumbles upon a box in the attic, at the bottom of the box she finds a birth and death certificate belonging to her a twin brother she never knew she had. Emma finally thinks she found whats been missing. She decides to go on a road trip to visit her brothers grave in the town she was born, and after losing her mode of transport, calls Peter and ask's him to come to her rescue and help her continue her trip, although she doesn't explain what it is or why she's desperate to do it, he agree's, more than happy to get away from home himself.
You Are Here is written like any other of Jennifer E. Smiths books, by the end of the book you feel like you know the main characters inside out and sometimes , the sub characters too. She creates enough back story for you to really get a feel for them and enough of the present for you to slowly fall in love with them. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the fact that it seemed to drag a bit, and though it was developed nicely, I didn't seem to feel the romance. Unlike her other books I have read, I think she would have been much better making this story about friendship instead of a budding relationship. One thing I did like about this book was how they understood each other without words, the connection they have runs much deeper than they thought, and the road trip just opened both their eyes to the person who was always there for them
You Are Here wasn't perfect, but a mark of a good book is accepting the flaws but being able to see past them and enjoy the book anyway. I know lots of other people are tired of the road trip story line in YA books but I happened to really enjoy it and although I loved the chapters where they visited battlefields, I think more could have been done to make them fun as they were the times in the story that dragged for me.
Overall I enjoyed it, like already stated it wasn't my favourite but it was still a really lovely story about friendship, family and first love. The love aspect to the story didn't overshadow everything else, it was subtle and part of me thinks that's why I thought they were better of as friends. For those of you who have read and loved her others books, if you are going to pick this up do not expect an emotional roller coaster when it comes to the romance , its there just done in a different way to the others :)