I have read plenty of books by both authors and was happy to learn they were co-writing one. They seem to have been friends for quite some time and it’s amazing when two (or more) authors craft a story together.
I feel the need to issue a trigger warning first: this story tackles abuse, so if this is something that might be sensitive for you, maybe pass this one.
This book is written as an email exchange between a brother and his older sister. Epistolary novels always had a special place in my heart and this one is no different. Modernized by the use of emails instead of pen & paper letters, this makes the story more believable, especially for a Young Adult audience…
The story of Bea and Ezra took me by surprise. Their family story is difficult, as their Mom has been dating an abusive man for a long time; however, contrary to most books dealing with this sensitive topic, the step-father is only violent towards the children. There is a twist I did not see coming. I won’t spoil it for you here but I was not expecting this turn of events that changes things for our protagonists. It was something I could relate to, which often creates a deeper bond between the characters and I. Tell me I’m not the only one feeling like this?
This is not an easy read, we (the readers) learn of the events as they are shared in the emails. This is how we both get their backstories and their current lives, away from each other for the first time.
I am often scared that the ending will just feel weird but this time, it seemed like the perfect way to finish the book. This is not a fairy tale, the characters go through a lot (both in the past and in the present, actually).
I loved some of the suportive ones as well, such as Ezra’s boyfriend, or even Franco.
If this is not a trigger, I highly suggest you pick up this book and give it a try. It was hard for me to put it down and even weeks after I finished it, my thoughts still go back to it now and then…
About the authors
David Levithan is known for his gay young male characters, showcasing their struggles and hopes in his stories. He published more than 20 books and has often co-written some.
Jennifer Niven writes about acceptance, about loss, about these difficult feelings and experiences that happen during the teenage years. She’s an advocate for mental health and is not shy to tackle this subject through her characters’ lives.
Both are award-winning celebrated authors in the Young Adult community. Some of their stories have been adaptated for tv or for movie theatres. Some of the most known adaptations include Nick & Norah’s infinite playlist, Naomy & Ely’s no-kiss list, Every Day, Lily & Dash for David Levithan. All the brigth places, from Jennifer Niven, is currently streaming on Netflix; she is also writing the script for Holding up the universe.
Young Adult Fiction
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother. How is he supposed to navigate life without Bea? Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible. But a message in her inbox changes everything