The Compulsive Reader: You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Average Emma Healy doesn't really fit in with her family of overachievers, with her professor parents and smart, talented siblings nearly two decades older than her. Instead, she coasts by with her "polite but detached" smile and feigned interest. But when rummaging in the attic one day, Emma finds birth and death certificates for the twin brother she never knew existed, dated two days apart. She suddenly feels like she's discovered the missing link, someone so much like herself. Before she knows it, she’s enlisted the help of Peter Finnegan, the shy, studious guy next door, to go with her on a road trip from New England to North Caroline to visit her brother’s grave.

Jennifer E. Smith's second novel is full of heartache, loss, and new discoveries. The emotions in You Are Here are conveyed perfectly and beautifully, making it a sensitive and thoughtful read. Peter's passion for maps and places provides a wonderful vehicle for the many ways in which Smith relates Emma and Peter’s dizzying journey of self discovery to the readers, and are a unique element. Emma's wish that a sign that read "You are here" is all it takes for a person to find themselves is one many can relate to, and many will be able to find a little piece of themselves in the characters’ search for identity. Despite the sad undertones of loss and grief and family secrets, You Are Here does have some subtle humor that creeps up on you every now and again, making it a quick and enjoyable read.

Both Peter and Emma are searching for something they have lost, and both learn valuable things about their families and each other by the end of the novel. You are Here has a satisfying, optimistic ending that will make you smile, and is a heartfelt and insightful novel that once again proves that Jennifer E. Smith is an author to watch.

Cover Comments: I love this cover! I like how the blue Mustang is included, as well as the maps in the background towards the top of the cover, an element which follows through to the back of the book. I also like how the wind is blowing the girl's hair, creating the impression that she is in transit, which Emma is throughout the story, not just physically, but emotionally. This is such a beautiful cover.


kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review! I've seen this one in stores often, and I thought it looked interesting.

Sarah said...

This book sounds good! Now i gotta jus go and find it! :) Good review!

Michelle said...

This looks like a wonderfully emotional read. I'm definitely adding it to my list of books to pick up.