Friday, March 20, 2015

Novel Review: You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2009
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Now in paperback with a new cover, Jennifer E. Smith's breathtaking novel about finding out where you are going by discovering what you've left behind.

Emma and her neighbor Peter are both lonely in a way that only bothers them on occasion. They both come from families they don’t quite understand. They both feel like something big is missing from their lives—and they’re both about to search for answers. When Emma makes a discovery that shakes the foundations of her identity, she convinces Peter to join her for a road trip. Each of them has something to find: For Emma, it is a grave—a grave that may be her only connection to her family. Peter is seeking something harder to define, but perhaps easier to navigate—a freedom, a sense of something more than what he has. Together, they take to the open road, engaging in a universal quest to make sense of who they are and where they come from…and learning a thing or two about love along the way.

The Cover:

Oddly enough, I think all of the covers are pretty good for this book. The one above, mine, I like enough. The original cover is pretty good, and they're making a new one that's also very pretty and matches her newer books. I like that they all show them in a car, traveling, clearly showing the road trip part. And on top of that this one and the new one represent the map part, Peter's geography inclination, and I like that. They're all pretty, and they all show important parts of the book--not the romance.


  • "It was about issues and causes and ideas, and what more could you ask a person, Peter thought, than to risk all that they were for all they believed they could be?” (Paperback, pg. 55)
  • "'You can be really certain about really uncertain things.’” (Pg. 136)
  • "...and then they stood there together and waited for news like so many families in hospital waiting rooms: grateful for their support, relieved for the company, yet somehow feeling terribly alone just the same.” (Pg. 204)
  • "Wasn’t it just so typical that all the things you never really meant to say were the very ones that came back around to you in the end?” (Pg. 206)
  • " the manner she came to realize most things: gradually, stubbornly, and then all at once.” (Pg. 215)


I enjoyed this book. The journey it took was very good, and the ending was especially nice.
The writing didn’t pull me in, nor did the characters, quite as much as some of Smith’s newer books have. But this was still an enjoyable book.
Emma discovers that she had a twin brother, who died, and goes to find out more about him. She’s never felt she fit in with her genius family, and now she feels she understands why. So she steals her brothers car, only to hitch a ride with Peter, her smart, geography inclined neighbor, as well as taking on a stray dog.
The romance is really underplayed here, and is even kind of ignored by the characters for the first half of the book. It takes an interesting turn, but I really like where it is at the end. Mostly Emma and Peter grow during this, on the road alone, discovering who their family is and who they want to be and how to fix these things. I really liked Emma’s ending for it, the way she grew into herself, and the way her family goes to her. I feel like Peter will still fumble with his dad, but they’ll figure it out.
Overall, a pretty good book. I will definitely be picking up another of hers.

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