WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy  Whitney

WHEN YOU WERE HERE

Age Range: 14 - 18

KIRKUS REVIEW

As Danny Kellerman prepares for his high school graduation, the absence of his loved ones pitches him into a dangerous tailspin.

Estranged from his adopted sister, separated by death from his parents and inexplicably jilted by his childhood sweetheart, Danny feels nothing but empty. Following graduation, Danny seeks connection with his mother, who succumbed to cancer only eight weeks prior, by heading for Tokyo—a foreign but familiar city, where his family maintains an apartment and his mother spent some of her last days in a state of peace that is baffling to Danny. Upon arrival, Danny seeks clues to better understand his mother but ends up uncovering even more questions about her and those absent from his life. Determined to learn more, Danny partners with Kana, a fierce Japanese teen who helps maintain the Kellermans’ apartment and who had been his mother’s friend. Kana provides Danny a unique lens to view the city, his mother and his life. Themes of prescription drug abuse, death and teen pregnancy make this a heavy go, but they don’t drag the text down, as they are expertly balanced by Kana’s spunk, Danny’s pained but authentic voice, and the overarching theme of love.

A poignant coming-of-age story intertwining loss and hope against a background of Japanese culture. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 4th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-20974-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2013




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