Every Time You Go Away
– Abigail Johnson –
Published 5 December 2023
Abigail Johnson writes the most beautiful stories of resilient characters. She’s one of my favourite authors. And I’ve always wondered if she would ever write a story with a wheelchair using character, being a wheelchair user herself. She is very clear, this is not autobiographical, but she brings the same depth, heart and beautiful writing style to this story as she has done with all her previous books. I loved every page of Every Time You Go Away.
If you asked about Ethan and Rebecca;;s relationship, complicated might be a word they’d use to describe it. Eight years ago Ethan’s mother left him with his grandparents for the first time and since then he’s been an inconsistent presence in Rebecca’s life. There one summer, gone the next day. Then, one year, Ethan left for good, choosing to care for his mother. Then, Rebecca was in a car accident that killed her father and left her in a wheelchair and Westling with grief and guilt. Now, Ethan is back. Staying next door, but unhappy, desperate to find his mother and keep her safe. They have so much history, shared and unshared, they are not sure if they could ever rekindle what they one had – or if they should.
Every Time You Go Away touches on some really heavy topics – substance abusing parents, neglect, death of a loved one, guilt – but it does so with care and heart and the most beautifully, aching story. Ethan and Rebecca are both loveable characters and despite that poor communication skills (just trust one another again already!!), they finally learn to confront the trauma of their pasts and what their futures might hold.
Pack tissues for this one. Beautiful.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young Adult fiction
Themes: Family, substance abuse, neglect, family, friendship, romance, grief, death, mother-daughter relationships, wheelchair users, disability.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Published: 5 December 2023 by Inkyard Press
Format: Hardcover, paperback, audiobook, ebook. 400 pages.