Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Return To Me by Justina Chen

Publishing Details

Release Date: January 15th, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Recommended For: Readers who enjoyed The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen or Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler


Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She's weeks away from starting college--at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad's last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there's the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.

And if that isn't enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb's dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her "perfect" boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?

Justina Chen, the acclaimed author of North of Beautiful, has created a moving and powerful novel about the struggles that arise from betrayal, the uncertainty of life after high school, and the joy that ultimately comes from discovering what's truly in your heart. (GoodReads)


Okay, so I went in not thinking a lot about it. My expectation hovered somewhere around a frou-frou chick lit of the Sarah Dessen variation with a positive message and an inspirational coming of age story. (Mind, those kinds of books aren't bad, but I'm not usually a fan.) But Return To Me was kind of unusual, and not exactly in a good way.

For starters, Rebecca Muir, also known as Reb, is a daddy's girl who is nineteen, fresh out of high school, and awaiting an architect internship in New York City. It's hard to see this book appealing much to teens who aren't hard core fans of Justina Chen. I know I kind of had (and still have) misgivings. I couldn't relate to Rebecca as much as I wanted to, especially because of the age and situation gap. However, Reb deals with a lot of heartfelt situations that occur in life after high school that really contribute to her character. I could see this doing well as a literary adult fiction, but young adult? Not so much.

Second thing: Yes, you may be surprised (because there's no mention of it in the synopsis) but Rebecca has visions. Yep, you heard me right. I was a bit confused, too, when the idea is introduced early on in the book. Reb is part of a long line of women who have visions of the future-and are also victims of a curse, one that says that every one of them will die single. I'm probably kind of stupid or something, but this confused me to no end, trying to register whether Return To Me was a realistic fantasy novel or a fantastical realistic novel.

Although at times confusing, however, and at others filled with lengthy, wanting-to-be-philosophical prose, it has promise.Return To Me is beautifully written, and Reb is a strong female character in a weak and scary situation that many can relate to. Her coming of age is a great self-help in a novel form, though not exactly flawless.


Post a Comment

Appropriate comments, don't reveal your private information, etc., etc.! You know the drill. Thanks. :)