Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Mini Review: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

When You Were Here
Author: Daisy Whitney
Pages: 264
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity. 

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

This is the first novel I chose to read after my exams were done was and I must say I chose the right one. When You Were Here is an incredible novel with stunning writing and a solid protagonist. 

What I Liked: 

I absolutely loved Danny. Whitney writes him so unbelievably well that I couldn't stop reading. His thoughts and his feelings are quite intriguing and saddening at the same time. With the loss of his mother, Danny doesn't know what he wants anymore. His sister is in China and his father is dead. The only person who watches over him now is his mother's best friend, Kate. He's alone and now, Danny must figure out what he wants to do with his life. 

He goes to Japan, to the apartment where his mother lived. After discovering that his mother's medication was barely touched, he wants to see  the doctor his mother went to. Most of the novel is set in Japan and  I absolutely loved it. I've never been to Japan, but I love it when books take place in different continent. Don't get me wrong, I love North America, but I like reading new cultures and language. Not only it is refreshing to read, but it is fascinating. 

I also really liked Danny's dog, Sandy Koufax. I don't usually care for pets in books, but this one definitely took a hold on me. It was cute seeing how attached he was to his dog. When he leaves for Japan, he has his friend, sending him pictures of Sandy.  

Whitney's When You Were Here takes to you on a journey of boy who struggles with the death of his mother, and finding peace in the midst of it all. 

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