It’s the five-year anniversary of Jake’s death, and his 18-year-old sister Jaycee is still grieving. In order to feel closer to him, she wears his clothes and recreates the daredevil stunts he performed while exploring abandoned sites and buildings. A group of friends decide to tag along with her: Nathalie, her bossy, cautious ex-best friend, Zach, an inveterate gamer, Bishop, a broken-hearted young man, and Mik, Jake’s mysterious friend. Will Jaycee be able to put the past behind her and look to the future?
You Were Here is a young adult fiction that will also appeal to adult readers. The story is told from 5 different points of view: Jaycee’s is written in the first person, while the other characters’ are in the 3rd person. The book is a mixed media novel that alternates between prose (Jaycee, Nathalie and Zach), graphic novel (Mik) and word art poetry (Bishop). The artwork is beautiful, and it allows the story to be more energetic and powerful. You Were Here deals with two important themes: mourning and depression, but it does so without weighing down the story. In addition, I especially enjoyed the fact that the group of friends went urban exploring. It reminded me of my childhood when I lived close to an airport where a lot of buildings were abandoned. Like Jaycee’s group of friends, I was curious about what these sites were hiding. However, I must say though that I was sometimes impatient with Jaycee, with the way she reacted. On the whole though, this novel was original and entertaining, and I highly recommend it.
You Were Here was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
About the author and her work: Cori McCarthy’s Website.
Fun facts about the author and the book:
- Cori McCarthy got the idea for the novel while watching a documentary on the National Geographic channel about people who explore abandoned buildings.
- The urbex locations featured in You Were Here are real, although the Ridges’ TB ward and the Randall Park Mall have recently been razed.
- Cori McCarthy’s first job was as a zombie entertainer at Geauga Lake Amusement Park, one of the sites the group of friends explore.
- The book is dedicated to Matthew Wakefield, a classmate and friend who died when the author was in eighth grade.
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