Saturday, June 29, 2013

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Nook Book, 264 pages
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Published by: Little Brown
Source: Bought
For fans of: Realistic Fiction, Loss, Travel, Love, YA

     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 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 thought when I wrote this review I'd be an emotional wreck. I actually just lost my aunt in the same fashion he lost his mom, so I was thinking I might not even have a review for this because I wouldn't be able to see through the tears. To be frank, I was wrong. 
     Te entire time I didn't understand Danny. In my head I was screaming "Don't do that, your mom just died. She would not appreciate that!" I felt like he wasn't in mourning, just acting out. Don't get me wrong, everyone mourns in their own way, but really the graduation thing was a bit much. Where I'm from, they would have with held his diploma for a stunt like that, I'm just saying. And Kate should have strangled him for that. And really I just couldn't understand what a woman who was already in her residency wanted with a dude that was barely graduating high school... I'm not one to judge, but that definitely isn't for me. As far as the Holland situation, I just didn't like hw she handled it. She should not have done that by herself. She should have let him know so she wouldn't have to be alone. Maybe with him there and that extra help she wouldn't have been as stressed and saved the situation completely. But that's just me. 
     With that being said, I just couldn't connect with the characters. And because of that, I was turned away from the emotional aspect of this book as well. As stated, I expected to be crying my eyes ut. Especially for this to be such an emotional story and to feature so much loss. Me and Danny shared something kind of deep, but even in that aspect I couldn't handle that. Because of this, I barely felt anything while reading this. I just felt mad. And disappointed. 
     The one thing I did like about the story was the visions of Tokyo I received while reading this. Whitney gave enough descriptions that I felt like I was looking at everything with my own eyes. I learned all Japan, from its legends to its fashion. 
     I really feel like the black sheep since everyone else loved this, but in my honest opinion  the delivery of the emotion and the characters was poorly executed. Thank goodness I was able to learn a little something about a foreign culture or I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it at all. 
Overall, I give this



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