ARC Review: You Were Here

Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Illustrator: Sonia Liao
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, (Young Adult)
Pages: 267
Published: March 1, 2016
House: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: E-book
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:
Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

My Thoughts:

This was given to me by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

»Plot: Jaycee’s brother Jake was a daredevil, always doing crazy stunts and dares, until one night, intoxicated with alcohol he attempted a dare that costed him his life. And Jaycee was there to see it. Shocked and traumatised with the sudden death of her brother, Jaycee is stuck; she can’t move past it, can’t accept it. She’s desprately trying to hold on to her brother, to keep him there with her; she keeps his room excatly the same, wears his clothes and always on the anniversery of his death goes to an abandoned asylum, one of his favorite places. When she find’s a list of incomplete dares in her brother’s notebook she’s determind to complete them. This is a story of finding closure, and not only for Jaycee, but also for the people who accompany her: her brother’s friend, her ex-best friend (who she drifted apart from), and two others. They each have some emotional hurdle they’re trying to overcome.

I thought this book was okay. I was expecting more of an adventure through urban exploration, since that’s what her brother’s dares involved them to do, and since the synopsis kind of suggested it but it wasn’t really there. Yes, they explored some places the dares led them to but I feel it was just providing a backdrop to the story. Plus they didn’t really do dares; they pretty much just explored places Jake once went. So if you’re thinking of picking up this book merely for the “adventure” aspect of it you might want to set your bar a little lower. This story is more about the characters, their personal problems and the relationships between them.

»Writing: The story is told from the point of views of the dfferent characters involved in this exploration. It switches from a first person narrative, third person and then (because one of the characters is selectively mute) panels. It isn’t hard to follow. I actually didn’t realize the different narratives right away.

»Art: In addition to the graphic novel pages that would pop up every now and then, there were illustrations. Those illustrations were the works of Bishop (one of the main characters) who loves art. I enjoyed looking at them when they popped up. Neither, the illustrations in the panels nor Bishop’s illustrations were remarkable or awing though.

»Characters: Jaycee is sarcastic and straight forward. At times I enjoyed reading about her and other times I thought she was a bit too much. The chracters kept me interested enough to keep reading. I wanted to find out more about Mik (the brother’s friend), about what Natalie was on edge about and if Jaycee would finally get closure. I don’t feel like I really connected to any of these characters, though.


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