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You Are Here Hardcover – May 19, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416967990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416967996
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anne Gaughen on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reasons I loved this book:
1. Factoids. Like do you know where we get "OK" from?
2. I loved Emma, the female protagonist. She's spunky, fun, adventurous, and unapologetically moody.
3. Peter really won me over! At first I, much like Emma, kind of dismissed Peter, the map-loving male protagonist, but he wormed his way into my heart!
4. The Maps. I've always loved to travel, but for some reason I never considered the maps, and what they represent, and how interesting they really can be.
5. There's no big twist, no crazy surprise, but the ending really snuck up on me and made a huge impression. I keep thinking about it, and inevitably rereading it, not because it's shocking or unexpected, but because its so heartfelt and true.

This book really struck a chord with me; all throughout, I kept thinking that not all who wander are lost and that despite the fact that I can't always find my way, the journey is the most important part.
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Format: Hardcover
Contemporary YA
Simon Pulse

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Emma Healy has resigned herself to the fact that she's the only normal person among her family of extraordinary scholars. She's had years of experience being the odd one out, of feeling like she doesn't totally belong. And she doesn't know why, but she's always felt like a part of her is somehow missing.

Her shy but intelligent neighbor Peter Finnigan feels more at home with Emma's family of academics than he ever has is his own house. As much as he'd like to, Peter can't spend every minute of the day in the Healy's house, but with little other friends, he spends most of his time alone with his books and maps, dreaming of escape.

Opportunity presents itself when Emma finds the birth certificate of her unknown twin brother--and a death certificate dated two days later. Now that she knows which part of her has been missing, Emma feels the need to visit her dead brother's grave to greet the twin she never knew. Chance and impulse invites Peter, desperate to see the world, along for the ride. And so these two loners make their way from upstate New York to Emma's birthplace in North Carolina in an old and technically stolen vehicle, picking up a stray three-legged dog and trying to figure out what exactly they're looking for. Along the way, they'll learn about themselves and each other, and maybe even figure out how to make themselves whole again.

YOU ARE HERE is a story that covers multitudes of topics from family to friendship to forgiveness. This is all possible due to Smith's very descriptive, almost lyrical writing style, which covers nearly every aspect of the two teens' lives and allows great insight into their most intimate thoughts and desires.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was an interesting book. I thought it was going to be a little more moving, but it wasn't. It had good characters but I felt bored at times. It didn't draw me in as I wanted it to. It was very similar to John Green's Paper Towns but his was much much better. Still worth a read, I suppose as everyone is entitled to their own version of a road trip.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review is also posted on my blog, nataliereadsbooks (dot) blogspot (dot) com.

My first experience with Jennifer E. Smith's writing style was when I bought The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight on a whim when it came out at the beginning of this year. I wasn't looking for much more from that book than a sweet love story, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a depth to the story that made it all the more believable and beautiful. Smith's choice of using the third person present threw me at first, because that's not the typical style in YA novels, but it added a certain charm and careful feeling to the story that I ended up really loving. That was a five star book for me, one I wasn't expecting, and so when I was looking at my to read shelves the other day and realized that this was by the same author, I made it a priority and bought a copy for my Kindle. I'm happy to say that I'm glad I did.

Smith also uses the third person narrative in this novel, and it is a perfect fit for our two main characters. Peter and Emma are both loners of a sort, although for different reasons, and this perspective highlights their respective struggles to connect with others and to face the issues in their lives. They are unlikely partners in crime--and there is, technically, crime--and yet at the same time it seems like neither of them could embark on this journey without the other. To me this was really a story about understanding and making peace with the past. Peter is obsessed with maps and history but while he can recite the Gettysburg Address and navigate all over the country without consulting a map, he doesn't know much of his own personal history.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book so much. Ever since I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I knew I loved Jennifer E. Smith's writing. Despite my high expectations, I didn't know what to expect going into You Are Here. It was published before The Statistical Probability, so I didn't know if her writing style used to be different. I was not disappointed at all. You Are Here is a road trip book, and an awesome one at that.

I loved Emma. I loved that she embraced her differences and wasn't afraid to defy her siblings/parents to go do what she believed in. And then there's Peter. Peter was fantastic as well. He was adorable and, like Emma, felt like he didn't belong. However, Peter found solace in Emma's family. He could relate to them. I loved Peter's personality. He was smart, selfless, and willing to stick with Emma through all the craziness that was happening while they were on the road trip.

You Are Here is a fantastic read. Jennifer E. Smith is one of those writers who can flawlessly pull off writing a book with romance, while still making it about more than just love. I will forever recommend all of Jennifer E. Smith's books.
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