Published: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Teens
Review: Library Book
Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon.uk
Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.
I saw this book in my public library as I was glancing around to see what was there. I saw the title picked it up and flipped it over. When I read the back it pulled me because it says "When someone you love has died, there is a certain grace period during which you can get away with murder. Not literal murder, but pretty much anything else."
I read that and went umm I wonder what this is about I dived right into it and was amazing at how I fell in loved with the story.
We are introduced to Danny and boy has he had it hard. He was very close to his mother and she passed away from a long battle with cancer. He is having a hard time because she promised to be there at his graduation no matter what and she didn't make it. So when he gets a letter mentioning what would he like to do with the apartment in Tokyo he decides to go there and see if he can find out more about this mother. He learns things that he never knew before and there was a big secret that was never told until now. This is one part that I felt so much for not only with Danny but also the one who has his heart.
Danny is not only finding himself, who his mother was as she was in Tokyo but also how to get over the death of love ones. Especially those he never got to meet.
At times this book felt raw to me and there was one scene that I wanted to cry on but I didn't because then I have to explain to my kids why I was crying. Needed to avoid that explanation.
I have to say I highly recommend this book and I am so glad it was a random pick me up book, as I probably would have never heard of this author or book.
By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE releases in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids. A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma. You can follow her writing blog and new media adventures at DaisyWhitney.com. (I don't rate books on GoodReads, nor do I check the site so please friend me on Facebook instead.)