Me Since You by Laura Wiess
Expected Publication: 18 February 2014 by MTV Books
Pages: 368 (paperback)
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher for review
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?
The synopsis of Me Since You was what first grabbed my attention - although I'm very particular when it comes to Young Adult contemporaries, some of my favourites are those that fall into the realistic fiction genre - because the good ones really stick with me.
Rowan is an average teenage girl who makes one choice that changes the lives of her whole family, and herself. It's not even something earth-shattering - just a decision to skip school with her best friend to meet up with a couple of boys. Despite the fact that her parents border on being helicopters, there's obviously a lot of love in her family which is obvious from the very beginning. And although the synopsis hints at quite a heavy romantic theme, this is very much a book about family, grief and how every person has different reactions to difficult situations.
The one thing I really disliked about this book was Rowan's best friend, Nadia. Right from the very beginning her attitude grated on me, and it only got worse as the book progressed. I don't believe that Wiess was actually trying to make Nadia a good person with a few flaws, but was instead trying to show how true friendship is a very difficult thing to find, and for that I loved this book even more - it was just frustrating that Rowan couldn't see it herself.
That point aside, this is a very emotional book - it's raw and emotional, and although I'm not a crier when it comes to books, this one really hit home - I could FEEL Rowan and her family's pain, and I loved that Wiess really went in deep - this is a book that is unflinchingly honest and realistic and doesn't try to glamorise or gloss over just how a tragedy can have a ripple effect through many different people.
Although I did mention that there isn't a heavy romantic element to the story, the relationship between Rowan and Eli is particularly heartfelt and very realistic - everything didn't fall neatly into place for them and it didn't feel insta-lovey - it was just the kind of romantic theme that I really like.
Me Since You is a heart-breaking look at how one decision can change many people's lives, and it's a roller coaster of emotions, but it's also incredibly satisfying and is definitely a story that will stick with me for a long time.