You Are Here

You Are Here

3.7 16
by Jennifer E. Smith

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Emma Healy has grown used to being the only ordinary one in her rather extraordinary family. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she realizes why she never felt quite whole. She sets off on a trip to visit her brother’s grave. Peter Finnegan, her neighbor,


Emma Healy has grown used to being the only ordinary one in her rather extraordinary family. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she realizes why she never felt quite whole. She sets off on a trip to visit her brother’s grave. Peter Finnegan, her neighbor, comes along for the ride. Emma thinks they can’t possibly have anything in common, but with each passing mile, they find themselves learning more and more about themselves and each other.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—This book has as rocky a start as the road trip it describes. Emma, 16, feels disconnected from her family of academics and brilliant people. Rather than compete for attention, she's happier being alone. Then she discovers a reason for her feeling of isolation. She had a twin brother who died two days after they were born. Emma, determined to find out more, sets off on a road trip from New York State to North Carolina to see her brother's grave. When her car breaks down in New Jersey, she calls her neighbor Peter, who arrives in a stolen yellow convertible. Along the way, Emma adopts a stray dog, makes peace with her family, and learns that there's more to Peter than his interest in maps and the Civil War. Told in alternating chapters by Emma and Peter, the plot moves jerkily from the present to the past, then back to the present. After an uneven beginning, however, the novel becomes more engaging as Emma seeks answers to why she was never told about her brother.—Melissa Rabey, Frederick County Public Libraries, Frederick, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Two 16-year-old loners plus a dog take a road trip that brings them together; it's a familiar plot, but Smith invests her somewhat odd and isolated characters with some distinctions that help to make this feel more fresh than that description might lead readers to believe. Emma is a much-younger child in a family of academically gifted children and parents, while Peter's father is the town sheriff in the upstate New York college town where they live and occasionally share space at the same time. As acquaintances recognizing a bond of sorts, they gradually begin to open up to each other. Peter's mother died at his birth, and Emma has just discovered a birth and death certificate minutes apart for a twin brother never before known. An alternating focus on each establishes the differences that have nonetheless managed to lead them to share a similar journey. Still, it's a half-relayed journey at best, one that fails to deal realistically with money, potty breaks or other mundane details of life on the road-a lapse that might well prove fatal with readers. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"A unique voice, comic and moving." — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of All We Know of Heaven and The Deep End of the Ocean

"You Are Here doesn't just take you on a memorable road trip, it takes you on a journey of the heart." — Lisa Schroeder, author of I Heart You,You Haunt Me

"You Are Here is a thoughtful, sensitive story of self-discovery." — Deb Caletti, author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart and Wild Roses

Children's Literature - Amalia Selle
Put a map-crazy history buff, an ordinary teenage girl, a three-legged large-hearted dog, and one blue convertible together and the result enchants. Emma Healy, daughter of two college professors, and Peter Finnegan, son of the local police chief, have lived next to each other for years. As the youngest in a brilliant family of academics who often forget the basics amidst their philosophizing, Emma as always struggled to fit in. The only son of widower with no ambitions and few parenting skills, Peter struggles to relate to a father who refuses to tell him about his mother. Emma's discovery of the birth and death certificate of a twin she never knew she had provides the catalyst that propels both teenagers out of their homes. They are drawn together by mutual need. Emma needs a car; Peter needs to finally follow his beloved maps. They begin a trip from upstate New York to North Carolina. This trip soon proves more than pilgrimage to a grave or a Civil War battlefield. The characters are masterfully drawn and the plot contains the right amount of humor and poignancy to attract those in search of a heartwarming and entertaining read. Reviewer: Amalia Selle

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer E. Smith has an MFA in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews. She lives in New York City. This is her second novel.
Jennifer E. Smith is the author of Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between, The Geography of You and Me, This Is What Happy Looks Like, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, and her work has been translated into thirty languages.

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You Are Here 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Emma has never felt a part of her family. Her parents, professors at a local college, and her much older siblings are always discussing poetry, philosophy, or topics important to the world. She is more interested in the here and now, not in deep intellectual thoughts. Her feelings of not fitting in are dramatically increased the day she stumbles across the birth certificate of a twin brother she never knew she had. When she also discovers his death certificate tucked away in the same box in the attic, she can't believe that no one ever told her. Turning 17 in less than a week, Emma decides to get her older brother to take her to his apartment in New York City. Once she gets there, her real plan is to "borrow" his car and travel to North Carolina to visit her twin's grave. When the car gives out at a rest stop along the New Jersey turnpike, she calls her neighbor, Peter Finnegan, another soon-to-be 17-year-old. Peter is dealing with his own personal conflicts. He has grown up with just his father since his mother died shortly after his birth. Lately, his frustration with his silent and often absent father, and the desire to leave town and see the world, are almost more than he can tolerate. When he gets Emma's call for help, he sees it as the perfect opportunity to hit the road, see some of the sights he's dreamed of, and also spend time with a girl he realizes he's had a crush on for quite some time. Together, the two loners begin a journey that will change them both. Not only do the teens come to know one another better, but their families also begin to recognize the ways they could be more present and supportive. YOU ARE HERE is a carefully crafted story about families and relationships and the secrets that complicate them. Author Jennifer E. Smith has created an intricately layered cast of characters that give readers a peek into the various ways that humans handle tragedy and conflict. Smith's depth and sensitivity make YOU ARE HERE a must-read.
GirlwiththeBraids More than 1 year ago
The way Emma Healy thought of her childhood and family changes. At the age of sixteen, she finds a birth certificate in the attic of her supposed twin brother. And with it, his death certificate dated two days after. Emma never felt like she belonged with her scholarly family and now she can imagine that there had been someone else like her, someone ordinary. Though she doesn't own a car, she wants to visit her brother's grave, states away in North Carolina. Her neighbor, Peter, offers to drive her there so she accepts. What she didn't expect, though, was to find someone who understands her way better than she does herself that it's almost scary. And he'd been next door for all these years. <br><br> <i>You Are Here</i> is now my All-Time Favorite book. Enough said. But since you want to know, here is a list of everything I loved about it: Each sentence, paragraph, and chapter ended on the perfect note. The characters and their lives were so fully described that I felt connected to them and wanted to never, not ever, stop reading. At 2am I finished it and I could feel a cry coming up my throat just because it ended. There is a whole world inside this book that explores every corner of awkwardness, kindness, love, failure, imagination, death, hope, anger, and all the other kinds of emotion. And I experienced every one myself while reading. It's amazing! I have nothing bad to say about it. Author Jennifer E. Smith has an unbelievable talent that I can't even dream of having. She weaves together great writing, a wonderful storyline, an amazing plot, completely likable characters, and emotions that make the reader feel like they are just discovering them for the first time. All while keeping her unique voice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book I didnt know what to expect... but once I started it I was instantly intrigued, this book is exactly what your looking for if your looking to find yourself and that we all have promblems with family and personal issues but you can met someone just as lonely as you and somehow you met in the middle.... lovely lovely book plaese buy!
obsessedCaLiGirL13 More than 1 year ago
Emma has never felt like she belongs when it comes to her family even her next door neighbor Peter gets along with them better, but what Emma doesn't want to admit is that she is more like them than she thinks. When Emma finds out she had a twin brother that died a few days after his birth, Emma realizes that its always felt like something was missing but she didn't know what. Now she is determined to go visit her brother's grave. She plans her escape but doesn't make it far. With the help of Peter they both set out on a journey and find more than what they were looking for. This book was real and displays hardships and losses. Emma and Peter grow closer as they grow farther from home. With an excellent ending, all will appreciate the story. this is definitely a great book- not one of my favorites but it is definely up there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her book. But this was not one.of them it was way to slow.
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