Friday, November 27, 2009

YOU ARE HERE by Jennifer E. Smith


Emma has never felt a part of her family. Her parents, professors at a local college, and her much older siblings are always discussing poetry, philosophy, or topics important to the world. She is more interested in the here and now, not in deep intellectual thoughts.

Her feelings of not fitting in are dramatically increased the day she stumbles across the birth certificate of a twin brother she never knew she had. When she also discovers his death certificate tucked away in the same box in the attic, she can't believe that no one ever told her.

Turning 17 in less than a week, Emma decides to get her older brother to take her to his apartment in New York City. Once she gets there, her real plan is to "borrow" his car and travel to North Carolina to visit her twin's grave. When the car gives out at a rest stop along the New Jersey turnpike, she calls her neighbor Peter Finnegan, another soon-to-be 17 year old.

Peter is dealing with his own personal conflicts. He has grown up with just his father since his mother died shortly after his birth. Lately, his frustration with his silent and often absent father, and the desire to leave town and see the world, are almost more than he can tolerate. When he gets Emma's call for help, he sees it as the perfect opportunity to hit the road, see some of the sights he's dream of, and also spend time with a girl he realizes he's had a crush on for quite some time.

Together the two loners begin a journey that will change them both. Not only do the teens come to know one another better, but their families also begin to recognize the ways they could be more present and supportive.

YOU ARE HERE is a carefully crafted story about families and relationships and the secrets that complicate them. Author Jennifer E. Smith has created a intricately layered cast of characters that give readers a peek into the various of ways humans handle tragedy and conflict. Smith's depth and sensitivity make YOU ARE HERE a must read.

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