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You Were Here Hardcover – March 1, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"You Were Here  is wrenchingly beautiful in its honest and achingly accurate portrayal of grief and how it breaks us--and the way unconditional friendship puts us back together." - Jo Knowles, award-winning author of See You At Harry's and Read Between the Lines

"Through razor-sharp wit, no-holds-barred momentum, and heart-wrenching twists, Cori McCarthy dares you to climb through the broken, abandoned wreckage of the past, stand on the edge of the world, and face something even scarier: the truth.
" - K.A. Barson, author of 45 Pounds (More or Less and Charlotte Cuts it Out

"The mix of forms as well as the insights each character gleans through their urban explorations render this book both readable and teachable on multiple levels." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"A beautiful coming-of-age story, this book will leave readers thinking about it long after they close it." - VOYA Magazine, a VOYA Best Book

"A skillful blend of storytelling, emotion, and adrenaline-fueled daring" - Publishers Weekly

"Readers who appreciate stories of searching for personal truths will be happy to join this meaningful quest for identity and independence." - Booklist

"The topic of urban exploration and the inclusion of graphic novel style chapters will appeal to teens" - School Library Journal

About the Author

CORI MCCARTHY studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before she landed in Michigan. Learn more about her books at CoriMcCarthy.com.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492617040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492617044
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Jake was a daredevil and always tempted fate with his crazy stunts. He did urban exploring, going into abandoned places and coming up with the most dangerous thing to try, climbing elevator shafts, climbing old roller coasters, climbing up on roofs. Unfortunately on the day Jake graduated from high school he was drinking and someone dared him to back flip off the playground equipment at which time he fell and snapped his neck.

Five years after Jake’s death his presence is still felt by those that he left behind, especially by his younger sister Jaycee who has just graduated herself. Jaycee has never figured out how to deal with the loss of her big brother. She wears her brother’s old clothes, she sleeps in his old bed and still somewhat idolizes her big brother trying to imitate his stunts and make herself still feel him in her life.

On the fifth anniversary of Jake’s death, Jaycee finds herself forming friendships with an odd group that has also been touched by Jake in their own way. There’s Natalie who used to be Jaycee’s best friend growing up, her boyfriend Zach, his best friend Bishop and Mik who had been Jake’s best friend during their childhood.

In the summer after high school and just before starting college where most teenagers need to start thinking of growing up and figuring out who they are this group of five bonds together. They tackle several adventures that their old friend had done exploring several of the abandoned places Jake had been. During this time they come to grips with who they are themselves, secrets are shared, painful memories are dealt with, they come to terms with their past and their futures.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“That’s what regret does well and grief does better: rips out your energy and leaves you feeling each and every heartbeat.”
You Were Here is a fantastic coming of age YA novel. This book was everything that I love about YA. The angst, emotions, humor, love, loss, were all mixed in with relatable and likable characters. The writing was fluid, strong, and filled with tangible emotions. I loved the complexity of each of the characters. From the beginning to end the I devoured each piece of this novel.

Grief or the aftermath of grief is such a powerful thing. It basically destroys you, reshapes your life, and you’re forever changed by it. Jacyee Stronglove knows grief well. Five years ago she lost her older brother, Jake, in a freak accident. Jaycee was there the moment that Jake died and since then she hasn’t really been the same. She’s always been this bold and honest force but Jake’s death made her even more brazen and brutally honest. From wearing Jake’s clothing to trying out each of his stunts, Jaycee is obsessed in keeping his memory alive. She keeps her distance from friends and family. No one seems to be able to get through to her. Jaycee doesn’t talk about her future at all. Her only plan is to do the one thing Jake didn’t do….live past graduation.

The story starts off on the evening of her graduation. The way Jaycee decides to cope with Jake’s death was to recreate all of Jake’s old dares and stunts. A sequence of events brings a unique group of people back into her life. You get to meet her former best friend Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend Zach, his best friend Bishop, and my personal favorite Mikivikious aka Mik, who was Jake’s best friend. What was supposed to be a solo adventure suddenly becomes this group effort. I loved these characters. Ms.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I received a complimentary ARC copy of YOU WERE HERE from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Grade: B

Truth or dare? Five years ago, on his graduation night Jake Strangelove (his actual last name) flipped off a swing set on a dare and broke his neck, forever changing the lives of his best friend Mik, his sister Jaycee, her ex-best friend Natalie, Natalie's boyfriend Zach, his best friend Bishop. Now, Jaycee has graduated from high school and outlived Jake. She's on an odyssey to recreate the dares he never accomplished, with the others in toe. They all have secrets about that fateful night five years ago, and the struggles they've had dealing with the trauma of seeing Jake die.

YOU WERE HERE started off slowly for me. The introduction felt overwritten with superfluous language. As I got into the story, I didn't understand why Jaycee's first person account needed Bishop's and Mik's graphic accounts, and Natalie's and Zach's third person POVs were necessary. Once I was thoroughly pulled into the story, I realized Cori McCarthy's set up was the best way to tell not only Jaycee's story, but the others' tales as well, even though she was the definite main character.

Jaycee was unlikable more often than not, but underneath her nastiness lied pain so deep it jumped off the pages. Natalie was my favorite character, although I didn't understand why she wasn't honest with Jaycee about her withdrawal from the get go. Her reasoning felt flimsy. I loved that Mik suffered from selective mutism, and McCarthy did a good job researching the condition, as she did with Natalie's OCD tendencies.

Aside from the overwritten into, I enjoyed McCarthy's writing a great deal. Her clever way with words made for engaging sentences and paragraphs.
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