There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

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“So I just let go. My feet skipped to the frantic tempo…And then I was laughing too. It was the sound made by a girl who hadn’t lost a brother. A girl who wasn’t angry, who hadn’t had her world upended.”

I’ve been trying to think of what I could say about this book. Some basic background information that you should know is that this is the third January in a row that I have read this book. The first time I read the story of Finley Sinclair was shortly after my great-grandmother passed away and I was struggling with some of the same things that Finley was and this book brought me so much healing that for whatever reason I can’t not read this book at the beginning of every year and every year it has a different meaning to me.

There You’ll Find Me is about eighteen-year-old Finley Sinclair, hotel heiress, who following the death of her brother Will, has a wild year. Putting that party year behind her, she decides to study abroad in Abbeyglen, Ireland to follow the travel journal of Will and try to reconnect with God.

On the plane ride she meets Beckett Rush, teen heart throb and Hollywood bad boy who is wrapping up filming for his vampire saga in a nearby town. Finley is the only girl who is seemingly immune to Beckett’s charm, so he convinces her to be his personal assistant in exchange for him being her tour guide around Ireland.

“’I believe this is yours?’ I looked up and saw Becket Rush standing over me, my rogue suitcase beside him. ‘How did you know that was mine?’ ‘I just got a hunch.’ His arrogant smile quirked on his lips. ‘Like when I saw you nearly swan dive onto the conveyer belt.’ ‘Your vampire instincts are uncanny.’”

Between perfecting her audition piece for the Manhattan music conservatory, the pressure of school, healing from her brother’s death, reconnecting with God, and whatever is going between her and Beckett, Finley slowly starts to crumble.

“What if it fell? What if the breeze took it away? I was that kite. Fragile against the wind. Soaring one minute. Spiraling straight down the next. Just looking for something to hold me up.”

To cope with everything, Finley starts to control the little things that she can- her weight, diet, her exercise. Throughout the book there are side, underlying comments about her eating less and less and running more and more. This is probably my favorite part of the book because Finley’s border-line anorexia slowly sneaks up, in and out throughout the story and blows up on you at the end, exactly like real life.

Last year I would occasionally forget to eat. My counselor called me depressed. I called me devastated.”

I love this book for many reasons. The first reason is because the characters are funny and real, it deals with real issues like depression, perfectionism, eating disorders and grief. The core of There You’ll Find Me is not a sweet love story, but the healing of past wounds. We look at the healing between father and son, sister and sister, and a girl losing her best friend. I also loved the focus on Christ and her trying to find herself through God. I like how Jenny B. Jones breaks the YA mold and brings Christianity into the equation.

Okay, don’t freak out, but it’s about to get all sorts of personal right here.

To be completely honest, when I read this book it feels like I am narrating, not Finley. In the months after my great-grandmother passed away I didn’t know how to deal with all of the emotions going through me. I started eating less, not necessarily to lose weight, but because I had no appetite and it was one thing I could control in my life. I also started running multiple times a week at long distances to get out of the house and think. I liked the feeling of being exhausted and hungry after a run. This parallel between Finley and I was and is crazy to me.

The first time I read this book I didn’t realize that depression and eating disorders were a thing, I had never heard of it before. I know, kind of crazy. But seeing myself in Finley helped me deal and understand what I was going through and the danger of my decisions.

“He told me to stop growing up. And then he died. And I’d grown up overnight.”

At the beginning of this review I said how every time I read this book, it has a new meaning for me. This year was something I never noticed before. I moved to NYC four months ago and until the day before I booked my ticket New York was not on my radar. I couldn’t care less about it, so in reading this Manhattan wasn’t a noteworthy name to me. But now that I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan my mind was almost physically blown haha. Also when this conversation between Finley and her host sister happens:

“You know, we’re surrounded by people, but it just feels so… lonely here.’ Erin lifted her head, giving me a faint, thoughtful smile. ‘Only if you let it.’”

I could not help but apply that to NYC.

Wowza, this is a long review. Sorry not sorry?

I 100% recommend this as a positive, clean read. I think that even non-Christians will be able to relate and will fall in love with this book.

“’Are they playing hymns or something?’ She put some new sheet music in front of me. ‘Depends on who’s doing the listening.’”

P.S. This book is totally for Bookshelf

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Love. Fear. Freedom. Sick. Pain

Madeline Whittier is seventeen years old. She has a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, also known as SCID, which basically means she is allergic to the world. For 16 years she is kept safe in her house and the only two people she sees are her mom and her nurse/best friend, Carla.

She is in her normal routine when a new family moves in next door. That’s when she sees Olly- black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap. She tries to ignore him and what he has stirred inside her, but at some point she has to face it.

They begin chatting online and playing charades through their bedroom windows. This story is about her falling in love for the first time and having to navigate and overcome her mom’s fear of letting someone from outside of her sterile bubble- in.

What I Loved

SCID is a very real thing and its cool getting to be transported into the life of someone who has SCID when people with SCID usually read to get a taste of the outside world. I like the development of the characters and how we get to be a part of falling in love for the first time.

Also, I can’t be the only one who was cheering her on in my head.

What I Didn’t Like As Much

The ending didn’t quite have the closure that I was hoping for, but it was every hopeless romantic’s dream.

Why I Recommend

I recommend this book as a cute, easy read that still has a nice plot arch. It doesn’t make you overly invested, but it’s not boring either.

My Favorite Quotes

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”

“Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backwards until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt… your favorite characters come back to life.”

“You can’t predict the future. It turns out that you can’t predict the past either. Time moves in both directions- forward and backwards- and what happens here and now changes them both.”

“Promise- the lie you want to keep”

“My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in.”

Borrow or Bookshelf?

This is a book that you borrow and pass on. But if you do keep this one for your shelf I will not blame you. I mean seriously?! This book is pretty freaking gorgeous.

The Fun Stuff