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Monday, November 15, 2010

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

Annaleah and Brian had something special—Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared.

And then, suddenly, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?


While the summary does not do this book justice, the cover sure does. It is definitely my favorite cover ever--I swear, I spent more time staring at the cover than it took me to read the book. It's absolutely stunning, and is a beautiful cover for an even more beautiful story.

You Are Not Here is written in verse, which is not exactly my favorite. To be honest, this is the first book in verse that I've finished before. Ever. And I'm glad that that I didn't torment myself by trying to read any others; I'm positive I wouldn't have given this novel a chance if I had.

The writing is stunning, and the verse form correlates perfectly with the pure beauty of Schutz's writing. The imagery is unbelievable, and one of the novel's strongest points. The grief of losing someone close to you--something that I personally have not experienced--defined Annaleah in so many ways, and her story is unforgettable. Annaleah herself is a very well-constructed character. One thing in particular that really hit me was the way that she created entire situations and events spent with her father throughout her life, a man who abandoned both Annaleah and her mother when she was barely one. The fictionalized situations were very realistic; you tend to forget that they didn't really happen until she states it again towards the end of the novel. This was very bittersweet to read about; it was very easy to feel bad for Annaleah, but also very easy to admire her strength and independence.

All in all, You Are Not Here is fantastic, heartbreaking, and beautiful. I know I won't forget it anytime soon.

Grade: A+


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