Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
March 08, 2016
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""Natasha Friend, I loved your book. I was hooked from the first page." —Judy BlumeI didn't just love this book, I loved the characters, too. I was going to say I loved Anna . . . then add that I loved Marnie . . . then add that I loved Shawna, so really I just love them all.
The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself...
DUMPED by her best friend Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade "hanging out with different people."
DESERTED by her mom, who's in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
TRAPPED in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.
STUCK at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.
But what if all isn't lost? What if Anna's mom didn't exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna's stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn't such a bad fit after all? With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.
From the very first paragraph,
"I USED TO THINK your friends were your friends no matter what, but that’s not how it works. There is elementary school, and then there is middle school, where suddenly all the rules change and no one tells you how to play and the only thing you know for sure is that you are losing. Everything about you is wrong: your hair, your personality, your jeans."I was pulled in by Anna and her narration. Whether it's thinking about her (ex) best friend Danielle, her mother's mental health, her father's new wife and baby or what it all means for her, Anna has a very captivating narration. She's incredibly frank, straightforward way of seeing things. It's at once incredibly informative - about the actual event, person, place, thing Anna's talking about but also her life in general - and very poignant, too.
"What about mothers who try to kill themselves? Do they love their children less? This is the question I need answered--the thought I can't stop thinking." (pg 73) You get Anna's insecurity over what happened, sometimes even her guilt, but also that honesty, those questions she has that don't hide behind what's more acceptable or correct. Even as she's telling the world she's fine, we see the truth in her thoughts.
(Read an excerpt from Where You'll Find Me here on the publisher's page and see what I mean.)
I know I said I love all of the characters, but I may need to amend that a little bit because I didn't love Anna's dad. It's easy to see, especially once more details are given, how her parent's divorce and her father's remarriage were so hard on Anna. It made me want to dislike her stepmother Marnie, but I really couldn't. I didn't even dislike her dad, just wanted to give him a bit more sense.
Eighth grade characters can be a little young for YA books, but with Anna and Where You'll Find Me, it's the perfect fit. With Anna's age, what she's dealing with both at home and school, what's happening socially and all of the questions Anna has, it's the perfect time to meet her and hear her story.
Anna is dealing with more than a lot as she starts eighth grade and Where You'll Find Me could be depressing, but it isn't; it's funny and sweet, honest and real and even hopeful. Don't miss out on Where You'll Fine Me.
review copy received, via NetGalley, thanks to publisher