Monday, June 10, 2013

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

* I’m giving away a signed/personalized copy of When You Were Here. You can enter it by clicking here. *

When You Were HereDanny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

This book is fantastic. Daisy Whitney’s writing captured me from the very beginning. Everything about When You Were Here sucked me in, and got me interested. Danny’s story, his mom’s story, the dog. I loved it all. I’m a huge fan of Whitney’s previous books (The Mockingbirds and The Rivals), but I think my love for When You Were Here trumps them both. In this novel, Whitney’s writing is beautiful and literary. However, it doesn’t lose the feel of being a YA book.

Danny’s character is brilliant. He was realistic and (for lack of a better word) beautiful. I loved reading about his journey in Japan. Throughout the novel, Danny goes from being a depressed “stick in the mud” kind of guy (I don’t blame him) to someone who’s happier and more comfortable with the life he’s been given. This story was very much about Danny’s personal growth, while trying to find out more information about his mom.

Daisy Whitney is an amazing writer. When You Were Here is original, beautiful, and unforgettable. I admit it, I cried. When You Were here is meaningful beyond belief. Every teenager should read it. Through Danny’s journey, readers are able to discover new things about themselves and the people around them. This tale of a boy trying to grapple with his past, while trying to conquer the future will tug at your heartstrings.

FTC- Received as an ARC from Netgalley.

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