You Were Here – Cori McCarthy – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 1 March 2016
On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of disfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.
As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.
Brilliantly told, this story is beautiful and authentic, surprising and totally enjoyable. You Were Here is told in alternating chapters from each of the five main character. Jaycee’s chapters are told in first person, while Zach and Natalie’s are in third. Bishop’s chapters are gorgeous word art poems, while Mik’s are graphic novel panels. The result is five clear and differentiated voices and a book that is an exciting mix of novel, graphic novel and poem.
Jaycee’s brother died five years ago when he snapped his neck doing a backflip off the top of a playground swing in front of Jaycee and a dozen other kids. Jaycee’s life changed that day and five years hasn’t lessened the Jake-sized hole she has in her life. Every year, on the anniversary of Jake’s death, Jaycee breaks into the Ridges, the ruins of an insane asylum, and meets up with Mik, Jake’s friend. But this year, Jaycee is joined (rather reluctantly) by her ex-best friend Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend Zach, and their friend Bishop. What starts as one night soon becomes a whole series of adventures when Jaycee finds Jake’s map of old buildings and hidden dares. Continue reading