Sorry For Your Loss – Jessie Ann Foley – HarperTeen – Published 4 June 2019
As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path. The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick, the family’s golden child. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”
But when Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose. And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.
Gritty and deeply emotional, Sorry For Your Loss is, unsurprisingly, about grief. But it’s also about love, brothers, big drive-you-crazy families, finding your voice and learning to remember while also letting go. With an honest and realistic teen male protagonist, Sorry For Your Loss will appeal to older teen readers who enjoy moving books.
Pup is the youngest of eight. His family has been floundering, silently, since the death of one of his older brothers. Parents and siblings who won’t speak about Patrick, a brother who is losing himself to alcohol and Pup himself who is sinking – in his classes, his relationships and in the deafening silence at home. When his art teacher hands him a camera in the desperate hopes he can redeem his failing art grade, Pup is presented with a whole new lens with which to view the world, and maybe even the chance to bring his family together again.
I really loved Pup. The youngest of eight, plus uncle many times over, he knows the chaos of a big family. He also knows his place. But as he witnesses the decline of his family through grief and struggles with his own sadness, Pup has to challenge what he thought he knew about his parents, siblings and even himself. Pup has such a realistic and down-to-earth voice. He narrates the story and readers are welcomed into his world. He is 100% teen guy, but also one of those awkward, nice ones who doesn’t quite fit into his body and certainly hasn’t worked out how to talk to girls or why they would want to talk to him.
Relationships, school, family – Pup is facing it all, from old friendships and stagnant crushes coming to an end to the blossoming of a new romance, and reconciliation and understanding his siblings. And maybe even passing art.
Sorry For Your Loss is a wonderful YA title that explores grief, family and finding your place. It will appeal to readers of all genders with its honest and raw narration, diverse characters and heartwarming story.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Grief, death, brothers, family, photography, romance, alcoholism.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent strong sexual references, innuendo. References to alcohol use and abuse. Coarse language, f*** (7), sh** (21), pi** (4), as***** (9), di** (5).
Published: 4 June 2019 by HarpenTeen
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.