You Are Here

I just posted over on TWFT, a blog I'm an administrator/contributor of, for the start-of-the-month bookclub post. The beginning of the post was a discussion of last month's book, which you've all seen on my readinglist here at Creare, You are Here by Jennifer E. Smith. I thought I'd post my thoughts on the book here as well, in case some of my readers don't care to type www.teenswritingforteens.wordpress.com into their address bars or click on this linky here. ;)



As the summary of the book will tell you, You are Here is about Emma Healy, who has never really fit in with her family of geniuses. She feels she has found the reason why when she discovers both a birth and death certificate for a twin brother she’d never met. The bond between twins has been studied for years and it is amazing how close they can be without ever knowing each other, so it wasn’t a surprising turn of the story when Emma decides she needs to see her brother’s grave, to somehow visit or settle this integral part of her life. Enter Peter Finnegan, who has his own reasons for wanting to leave town. Together they start their road trip in a beat-up car that was stolen (excitement? Yes! Stolen cars excite me. We’ve discussed this). In short, You are Here is a road trip story written in beautiful prose that makes you keep turning the pages.

Now that you know the story, let me answer a few questions that I ask myself after I put down any book. Basically, once the book hits the table, I say to myself “Self, who, what, when, how, why?” Who was my favorite character? What was my favorite part (line, paragraph, chapter…)? When did the story really kick in for me on the emotion level? How did the writing drag me in? And, most importantly, I ask myself “why” for all those questions.

Favorite character: In answer to this question I have to say Peter. But this is one thing that a person doesn’t have to agree with. I tend to like “odd” characters. Basically, I never fall in love with main characters. In reading, and writing. Perhaps it is the romance books… why would I fall in love with a female MC when I’m a straight female? The hot males are much more attractive… but I digress. Before I move on, just a note to say, You are Here would be nothing without Emma and the story surrounding her, but Peter has a story too.

Favorite part: Read pages 207 through 210 of the hardcover. You’ll notice it is mainly about Peter. His dramas were important to me. I believe favorite parts of a book tell a lot about the situation you are in, and at the time of my life (dealing with college, mainly), I was attracted to the unsettledness of his situation. It mirrors how I believe a lot of teens feel about their futures.

When did the story really kick in for me on the emotion level? This took awhile. If I were to change anything about You are Here, it would be cutting down on the backstory a bit. It is important information, but the writer in me was rebelling.

How did the writing drag me in? If you all remember, this month I asked all the readers to pay special attention to the use of 3rd person. In my opinion the best part of this book was how I could get into many different character’s heads, which Smith managed to let me do even as she stayed mainly in her MC’s point of view.

I won’t reveal much more of You are Here, in case you haven’t read it. But if you have you need to speak up about your opinions. Because the book did eventually drag me in. I was breathless at the end. I started to care, something only the best fiction can do for me. Oh, and, by the way, the ending was perfect.

I encourage you to stop by TWFT to see August's bookclub pick, but I'll give you a hint. Terry Pratchett wrote it. That narrows it down some. ;)
Race