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Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

3.3 3
by Barbara Shoup

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Everything is falling apart for high school senior Jackson Watt. His best friend Brady disappears without a word. His mom remarries, which means a new stepdad, a new house . . . a new life. He falls in love with the girl of his dreams, and then risks blowing it for good. It's only when Jax takes one last road trip to Graceland that he can accept the past year-and what


Everything is falling apart for high school senior Jackson Watt. His best friend Brady disappears without a word. His mom remarries, which means a new stepdad, a new house . . . a new life. He falls in love with the girl of his dreams, and then risks blowing it for good. It's only when Jax takes one last road trip to Graceland that he can accept the past year-and what it really means to grow up.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This ambitious debut touches on safer sex, death, self-worth, relationships, love and the meaning of it all. Jackson (Jax) has more than adolescent angst to contend with during his senior year: his best friend, Brady, runs away and leaves him feeling abandoned and betrayed; his mother remarries; his father, a freewheeling stagehand for rock groups, is almost killed in a fall; he meets Amanda, the girl of his dreams, during a vacation but falters in maintaining the romance. For much of the book, Shoup handles Jax's growing awareness of himself and others with grace and ease, even when many plot devices ring false. Amanda is unbelievably saintly, for example, and the marriage of Jax's father and Brady's mother seems a gratuitous touch while the suicide of Jax's ex-girlfriend on graduation day borders on soap opera. The ending, however, seems to belong to (or constitute) another novel: Jax is reunited with Brady (who has been following the Grateful Dead from concert to concert) and the two make a pilgrimage to Graceland, where they attend an candlelight memorial to Elvis. All of these experiences may have occurred in someone's life, but crowded into one book they seem disjointed and unreal. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Years after his parents' divorce, Jackson Watt is still shaky on his feet, still trying to mediate between them. In almost every respect this is a typical Young Adult Problem Novel: first-person narrative, rough language, conversational tone, a charming and sensitive hero, humor, and plenty of problems (divorce, suicide, sex, parental pressure, school boredom). The characters are extremely well drawn and very vivid: Dad, the immature womanizer who nevertheless deeply loves his son; Mom, who finally comes to terms with being a square; two little stepsisters; Dad's lycra'd aerobics instructor girlfriend; the concerned English teacher. The only character who doesn't quite ring true is Brady, Jackson's best friend who runs away in the second chapter. Brady is charismatic and troubled, and his disappearance crystallizes Jackson's anguish over the divorce and his life in general. Brady returns at the end of the book in a tragic and hilarious scene at Graceland that helps Jackson clarify his confusion and make some decisions. Overall, this book is a success and is several notches above the usual YAPN. However, it also shares the flaws of the genre. There is a heavy load of internalizing and explaining of feelings; readers will almost certainly become thoroughly tired of Jackson's internal monologue by the middle of the book. In addition, there is a tendency to pack in so many problems that plot weaknesses result. In the first half of the book, Jackson is preternaturally mature-then he crumbles into drunk driving, manipulative sex, withdrawal-then near the end of the book, his mother suddenly takes charge and starts to act like an adult for the first time, relieving him of a great burden. Even with these flaws, this is a solid and well-written story.-Kathy Fritts, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR
Jeanne Triner
Seventeen-year-old Jackson Watt is a self-described "good kid," so he tells his parents he understands about their divorce, is happy about his mother's remarriage, and accepts his father's love-the-one-you're-with approach to women. Only with his best friend, Brady, does Jackson let down his guard; but one day Brady, fighting his own demons, just takes off with no word to Jackson or anyone else. During the year that follows, Jackson has to learn to face his anger and recognize his own needs and frailties (including the inability to break off a sexual relationship with a troubled girl). Jackson is a complex, thoughtful, completely believable character. Teens, especially boys, will identify with his struggle to get in touch with his feelings while preserving an aura of being in control. Girls will see him as hiding the sensitive soul they hope is in every boy; however, the author also expresses the reality that on the road to self-discovery, even a sensitive hero may not leave the 20women in his life unscathed. That is precisely what makes this beautifully written novel so powerful; Shoup has created a cast of well-developed, well-meaning characters who truly care about one another but who are also trying to achieve personal happiness. Unfortunately, that can't always be done without hurting or 20disappointing someone--but that doesn't mean they love less. A touching, thought-provoking, and very candid coming-of-age tale.
From the Publisher
"[A] touching, thought-provoking, and very candid coming-of-age tale." —Booklist

Product Details

North Star Editions
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Barbara Shoup is a critically acclaimed and award-winning author of novels for teenagers and adults. Shoup has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Master Artist Fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writers Award. Her novel Wish You Were Here was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. It will be published in paperback by Flux in May 2008. She lives in Indiana.

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Wish You Were Here 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jackson pretty much had a normal teenage life. With two parents who were overly worried about him due to their divorce, to his best friend, Brady, who pretty much had the best ideas for the both of them, Jackson's life was the way he liked it. He was just too excited about his senior year and the plans he and Brady were making, like getting an apartment close to school.

Then everything changed when Jackson hadn't heard from Brady for quite some time. Turns out Brady ran away right after the fight he had with his father when he was hanging out with Jackson. With no phone calls, messages, or any details, no one knows where he went. He was the talk of the town; that is, until his disappearance was all-too-soon forgotten.

Everyone around Jackson seems to be moving on. His mom is dating a very successful businessman who really loves her, and the prospect of getting married is very positive. His dad has met a personal trainer who he seems to really like, but of course she could just be another one of his girlfriends. And his friends are starting not to care about what happened to Brady.

Jackson's dad, mom, and even his grandmother are trying to get him to move on. It's up to him to make the move, to forget about Brady and find his own identity.

An edgy and realistic novel, WISH YOU WERE HERE is one of the few teen novels out there that even guys can enjoy. Jackson is a character that anyone can relate to, and the teen angst in the novel is current for this generation. A perfectly chosen novel for a personal revival.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like
Unique33 More than 1 year ago
This book was umm very bad. I barely got half way through. It was awful. Don't waste your money on this book!