Me Since You
by Laura Wiess
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books; MTV Books
Release Date: Feb. 18, 2014
Page Count: 368
Source: From Publisher via NetGalley
Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl's journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding--in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.
Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
Before and After. That's how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old--a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger's shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother--and herself--from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
Review: This is the first book that I have read by Laura Wiess, which seems a bit silly now that I have looked through all of her books on Goodreads. They all look amazing! Once again, this is one of the books that I found while browsing through the titles on NetGalley, and the description caught my attention. I have always been a fan of contemporary novels, even before my love for science fiction began, and this book took me back and reminded me just why I have always loved reading contemporary young adult novels. This book is beautifully written, and I applaud Wiess for writing head on into a very difficult topic that affects more children than I am sure any of us like to believe.
When reading the novel, you get to know the main character, Rowan, right away. As she is skipping school you can tell the caution and fear she holds, which makes sense as her father is a police officer in their town. In the book she has gotten to that age, sixteen, where she believes that her friends have much better ideas and advice than her parents, and she is willing to go with the crown. Unfortunately, it is one of those decisions that seems to lead to the spiral that becomes the story-one thing leads to another, which leads to another-and most of them are not good things. As the novel continues it is revealed that Rowan is a wonderful teenage girl, just struggling to get through regular teenage girl things. Despite her bad choices sometimes, she is still a character you root for, one you want to come out of everything okay, even if it looks close to impossible.
Along with Rowan we meet Eli, wonderful Eli. It would be difficult to dislike him no matter how much you wanted to. From his first step into the novel he is there to help other people, and it is something that he continues to do throughout the novel, despite fighting many demons himself. In the end, these things are what bring Rowan and Eli together. They have both suffered tragedy and loss, and they might be just what each other needs to finally pick up and move on, even if it is not easy. Their relationship seems to REAL, the feelings and emotions so true to what I assume would happen in the situation that occurs. Overall, I feel like Wiess did a beautiful job of entwining the two characters together through their stories. That is a wonderful thing to find in contemporary novels.
Of course, based on the dilemmas involved in the book, it caused quite a few tears on my part. I feel that is always a mark of a well-written, realistic book when it comes to things like this. I can only imagine what it feels like to be in the character's shoes, but Wiess does an amazing, almost haunting, job of getting the reader to that point. The pain becomes almost real as you feel it along with the character. And boy, was there a lot of emotion. Sadness, anger, fear, depression, happiness. It was all there, and all completely understandable and believable. Wiess did a wonderful job with this novel, and I very much look forward to reading more of he work in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone.