Book #16 of 2016: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

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Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

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.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

I found You Were Here through a list of books NetGalley had that stated it was like Lauren Oliver’s book, Panic. I loved Panic. I wanted to see what another author could do with a dark coming of age like motif. Though I’m not big on coming of age (I have to be in a mood), the dark elements can keep me reading.

That was the case with You Were Here.

I was instantly pulled in by Jaycee’s blunt and honest nature about her brother’s death. She is cavalier about her opinions and doesn’t beat around the bush to say something dark and dismal. I like that. She is the kind of girl I could respect and understand. She lives with her grief in a way that she purposely says the truth to keep others away. She can be cruel, but it’s a different kind of defense mechanism.

Every character had their own personal issues that seem to be solved through their experiences through abandoned places. Each abandoned place in the book is a real place. It is an inspiring touch to the book that makes me want to explore abandoned areas.

I feel that I should mention the style of the book as well. I was a bit surprised with some of the chapters, but they were fun to read and I found myself using the depictions for the characters in my mind. The book is a mixture of first person, third person, expressive art, and a comic book feel. The comic book chapters seem perfect for the character Mik, a selective mute who is my absolute favorite in the book.

I honestly really  liked this book. I found myself inspired by the art and the urban settings. I found myself remembering books that I’ve read that could have inspired You Were Here. The dynamic of Jaycee and her parents reminded me of the book Ordinary People (another book that deals with exploring grief and self discovery).

 You Were Here is definitely a book worth reading.

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