Author: Samantha Shutz
Read Time: One Sitting
Tag Words: Death, funerals, secret relationships, sex, first love, poetry, novel in verse
Annaleah met Brian and kissed Brian and slept with Brian. She thought she was in love with Brian. She isn’t sure Brian loved her back.
One thing she knows for sure?
Brian is dead.
Why do I love books about death? No, I should rephrase. I love books about death when the author offers hope. Why? I have my theories as to why I connect with these kind of novels, but it’s more to share than I have the space for.
So yep, I loved it. I had been hearing mixed reviews and was worried, but Shutz and Annaleah won me over.
I will say that I wish this novel had been done not in verse. I think Shutz’s writing would have supported it and although I don’t feel like the verse took away anything in You Are Not Here, I don’t feel like it added anything, either.
I also am a bit annoyed that Annaleah never dealt with her family problems. Shutz attempted to connect her issues with Brian to her father in one chapter and then those thoughts just fell off the edge of the literary world. To me, it was always a tad unclear if Annaleah was making up her fathers new life, or if she did, in fact, visit him. I’m guessing it was all made up. Annaleah never tells her mom about Brian, either, so though there is redemption at the end of this sad story the theme didn’t follow through to le fin.
Notes on the Names:
Annaleah... I really appreciate the detail about her parents each wanting Anna or Leah, then combining, but because of the lack of follow through in her relationship with the parentals the detail didn’t sparkle.
I also worried I was prn. it wrong the whole time, is it, Ahn-ah-lay-uh or Ahn-a-lee-uh? If it was suppose to be Ahn-a-lee than I would have suggested Annaleigh as a spelling.
Thoughts on the Cover:
I really like this cover. It’s a non-model cover that perfectly reflects the tone and plot of the story.
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
Kissing, mention of sex, but no description of the act, a described scene in which Brian and Annaleah shower together, but the tone of this scene is not sensual.
Brian’s father is portrayed as an alcoholic and just not a nice person, but we never meet him.
Brian shows up at Annaleah’s house drunk one night and she turns him away.
Brian dies a non-violent death.