You Are Not Here

You Are Not Here

4.5 12
by Samantha Schutz
     
 

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A startling novel about love and grief from the author of the acclaimed memoir I Don't Want to Be Crazy.

Annaleah and Brian shared something special - Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.

And then, out of nowhere,

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Overview


A startling novel about love and grief from the author of the acclaimed memoir I Don't Want to Be Crazy.

Annaleah and Brian shared something special - Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.

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

In You Are Not Here, Samantha Schutz has written a startling novel of love and grief, death and recovery. It is a jarring reminder of how the things we love the most can be lost so quickly--and what must be done in the aftermath.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for You Are Not Here:

"The death of someone you love will define you in ways small and large. It can defeat you. Or deliver you. You Are Not Here is a story about ultimate deliverance, and one you'll not soon forget." - Ellen Hopkins

"These refreshingly spare lines tackle tough relational issues–intimacy, risk, abandonment–with aplomb, making for a moving tale that also effectively shows teens how life can go on." - Kirkus

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Annaleah grieves for her friend Brian, who dies unexpectedly. The novel's short verses chronicle Brian's death in the present tense and flash back to the past when Annaleah and Brian meet and begin their romantic relationship. Annaleah's friend Marissa does not support her decision to sleep with Brian. Near the novel's end, Annaleah begins a new job and meets another boy, Ethan. It appears that Ethan actually likes Annaleah, whereas Brian may not have. This unexpected development provide momentum for the story, whereas earlier discussions of Brian's death drag the story down. This novel succeeds in showing how a teenage girl deals with the death of a first love, and makes effective use of the verse form. However, Annaleah appears to take much too long to recover from her loss and some readers may feel she is wallowing in her grief. Readers who enjoy introspective main characters will appreciate this novel. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
VOYA - Paula Brehm-Heeger
High schooler Annaleah cannot believe it when she learns that Brian is dead. She was not his official "girlfriend" but had been involved with him for months and believed the two of them shared a deep connection. Unable to move past her grief, Annaleah spends the months following Brian's funeral visiting his grave and dwelling on how much she misses him. But as she recounts the details of their relationship, Annaleah realizes that Brian's treatment of her was not ideal. When she meets Ethan, Annaleah's eyes are opened to the truth about her inflated opinion of Brian and the new potential for real love to enter her life. This well-written novel in verse offers an authentic portrayal of the debilitating effect of grief. Annaleah's confusion about her intense emotions, her inability to articulate her pain to anyone, her slide into depression, and the helplessness her loved ones feel as they watch are effectively conveyed. At times the story drags, and some readers will feel frustrated by Annaleah's incessant sentimentality and maudlin response to Brian's death. The pace of the story quickens when Ethan enters the picture and Annaleah faces the cold truth about Brian's apathetic treatment of her. Readers who stick with it will be rewarded with a genuine tale of self-discovery. For another novel in verse with broad appeal that is focused on unexpected high school death, try Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon Pulse, 2010/VOYA April 2010). Reviewer: Paula Brehm-Heeger
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Annaleah had been spending all of her time either with Brian or thinking about him. In the space of a few whirlwind weeks, she'd fallen in love and alienated her closest friends. When he suddenly drops dead shooting hoops. Annaleah retreats into herself and lingers at his graveside. When Brian was alive, his attention was hot and cold: one minute he was sweet, spontaneous, and caring, the next he'd disappear without explanation. Was he with another girl? Much of this novel-in-verse dwells on Annaleah's grief and her awkward position as a pseudo girlfriend who had never met Brian's family or friends. In the midst of her sorrow, her longing for her own long-gone father and anger toward her present-but-absent mother pop into her thoughts. Though her voice rings true, her endless grief becomes tedious, even as the narrative pace moves quickly. However, this "enough already!" reaction echoes the feelings of her patiently skeptical friends. Eventually, her heartache reaches a neat resolution in the shape of a new boy. While there is an "aha" moment in relation to her father, the mother thread hangs loosely at book's end. Though certainly not unique among novels-in-verse for teenagers (think Lisa Schroeder's books), Schutz's work will undoubtedly be welcomed by fans of the genre.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
Kirkus Reviews

"Death is a period / at the end of a sentence," concludes Annaleah, the 16-year-old protagonist of Schutz's captivating fictional follow-up to her verse memoir (I Don't Want To Be Crazy, 2006). And much like the resolute finality fixed in that tiny dot, Annaleah spends a great deal of this free-verse novel stuck contemplating the harsh reality that her sometime boyfriend, Brian—a seemingly healthy, dark-haired, cloudy-blue–eyed 17-year-old—has just dropped dead on the basketball court. Reeling from both physical loss and lack of closure to the meaning of their clandestine relationship, Annaleah finds herself routinely visiting and addressing the deceased Brian, until a chance graveside encounter yields advice that finally begins to hit home: "Nothing grows here," says Brian's grandmother, "besides grass." At first blush appearing to pull out all the melodramatic stops in classic teen fashion, these refreshingly spare lines tackle tough relational issues—intimacy, risk, abandonment—with aplomb, making for a moving tale that also effectively shows teens how life can go on. (Fiction/poetry. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545169127
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
730,277
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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