Props for no prom dresses and for incorporating a geographical detail that plays a very prominent part in the story. No cover hoodwinking here! Laura Wiess devotees will notice the lovely script font that graces the covers of all her books. I’d love the same treatment for everything I write (hint, hint, Future Publishers).
Sixteen-year-old Rowan Areno has been sheltered her entire life. Particularly by her father, a police officer who’s all-too-familiar with the cruel complexities of the world. So when Rowan steps out of her good-girl box and skips school, she has no clue that choice will draw her into the aftermath of a stranger’s senseless crime. As her family suffers under the staggering weight of grief, regret, and remorse, Rowan turns to Eli, a witness to the crime. Together, they try to make sense of the insensible. Can stolen innocence ever be reclaimed? How do you heal and learn to hope again?
And one side of me whispers, Get in there and hug him, say something nice, something filled with love and comfort, because he looks so sad, but the other side is riveted, aghast, because the screen he has open is the website with all the terrible, hateful comments about him. Knowing he’s read them leaves me helpless, furious at their malice, at his weakness and my own, embarrassed by the stranger he’s become, and so I just mutter, “Sorry, Dad,” step back, and leave him to battle his demons alone.
Wiess is one of the most slept-on young adult contemporary authors around. Someone please tell me why this woman doesn’t get more shine! If I had a tissue-rating system, this one would be off the charts. The sniffles started mid-way through and I finished the book in full-out tears. Getting to know Rowan before the tragedy makes the pain she experiences after even more visceral, evidence of Weiss’ skillful character development. It hurts to witness Rowan’s journey but while she may not be okay right now, you have the sense that she will be. While there may be some criticism that the ending is too pat, I was grateful for that small glimmer of hope.
ME SINCE YOU published February 18, 2014. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.