Friday, June 21, 2013

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Two months before his high school graduation, Daniel Kellerman's mother lost her battle with cancer. Having also lost his father six years ago in a sudden car accident, Danny now must navigate college, girls (especially his ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Holland), and the world on his own.

Within a few days of his graduation and his rebellious valedictory "speech", Danny receives a letter from his mother's friend in Tokyo, a city he knows well and family has a storied history with. The letter is the impetus for him to travel halfway around the world to find answers about why his mother found so much joy in her final days.

When You Were Here was a really quick read for me and I appreciated that aspect of it since I had just come off reading a really long, dense biography, but I think what kept me from loving this one was how, despite the grief Danny endured at the loss of his mother and the fact that he pretty much has no family left, everything else in the novel felt a little too neat and well-constructed. As I was reading I often found myself saying, "Well that's convenient." I don't think the logistics at the real-life loss of a parent and being a teenager on your own would be that simple. Not that Danny's life is simple. He has some major pain to work through and a big bombshell that is laid on him about two-thirds into the novel that I never saw coming. At the same time, I also felt there were a lot of situations and logistics that were created for Danny out of convenience and simplicity of writing. Still, I enjoyed reading this book, and I especially enjoyed Danny's journey in Japan and meeting Kana, who was by far my favorite character.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Published: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 261
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: ARC received from publisher

1 comment:

  1. I really like the premise of this book, and it does sound interesting, although I think I would be frustrated by the convenient situations. It's one thing that really irritates me when I'm reading - still, I think I will keep an eye out for this. :) Thanks for the review!