Title: Me Since You
Author: Laura Wiess
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: February 8, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding—in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.
Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again.
While this book packed an emotional punch that I wasn’t expecting, it was a well written story that really spoke to me. The romance, while not even close to being a main aspect of the story, was one of the best I’ve read, because the characters really respected each other, and understood boundaries and what was healthy for both of them. And the book gods must have noticed my rant about YA families a few weeks ago, because the relationship between Rowan and her mom was healthy and realistic. Me Since You might not be for everyone, since there is so much emotion in it and Rowan’s pendulum moods might put some off, but I felt as though Wiess had written this story for me.
When I requested Me Since You, I knew that it had a reputation for being a bit of a tearjerker. But honestly, I didn’t expect to be so emotional over this book. To give you a point of reference: I have only ever cried so much over one other book (TFiOS). Basically, I was a leaking faucet the entire time, and at the very end the dam burst and I spent a good five minutes crying it out.
Long story short: pack some tissues.
In a word, I would say that Me Since You is raw. It’s an uncensored look at grief and the stages of healing after death, and especially suicide. Rowan is a brutally blunt narrator, and I related to her so easily that it was kind of scary. Have you ever read a book where you see so much of yourself or your personal struggles in a character that you feel as if the author wrote the book for you? I definitely had that with MSY, for more than one reason.
Other than how much this book meant to me (and really was a catharsis of sorts), it shines in a million other areas as well. First, a nod to the romance. I don’t even think this book falls in the romance genre, because it was such a minor aspect. But I need to applaud Weiss, because for once the two characters didn’t fall into each other and search for healing through their relationship. They both realized that they needed to work through their grief before they could truly be there for each other. And in the end, it made their love so much sweeter.
Second, THANK YOU for an amazing mother/daughter relationship. It felt very real to me; Rowan and her mother fought at times, had some screaming matches, but ultimately they loved each other. Queue another round of tears for me when Rowan and her mom confronted each other about how differently they were dealing with moving on, and realizing that they needed to work together in order to heal.
If I had to say there was one part that could have used improvement, it was maybe the plot/pacing. It meandered a bit at times, but it didn’t bug me at all, because it left more time to pick over Rowan’s thoughts and emotions. And the little plot twist at the end was something I didn’t foresee at all, but it was so perfect. I wish I could put that last line here, just to show how beautiful it was, but… spoilers. But those last four words – someday I hope I’ll reach that same place as Rowan.
I don’t often read an ARC that says “BUY A FINISHED COPY OF ME”, but you can add Me Since You to that list now. It’s going to stay in a very special place in my heart for many years to come.
My Final Rating: