Emma Healy has always felt like a part of her is missing. When she discovers a twin brother who died only two days after they were born, she realizes she has been right, and sets out to find what she lost so long ago.
Peter Finnegan has an affinity for maps because they all lead away from the small town he desperately wants to escape. He decides to tag along with Emma on her trip, but at first glance, the fact that he and Emma are neighbors is all they have in common.
Starting their trip in a beat-up (and technically stolen) car and picking up a stray dog along the way, they begin to discover that they are more alike than they thought. And with every mile they cover, they get one step closer to finding everything they are after.
(From the back cover of You Are Here, 2015 Simon & Schuster)
At first glance, this book is a love story, but it is so much more than that. This delightful road trip adventure is foremost about family. Both Emma and Peter have distant, strained relationships with their families and feel out of place. Peter’s relationship with his town sheriff father, and Emma’s nonexistent relationships with her siblings, are such interesting dynamics to explore. Not to mention Peter’s relationship with Emma’s professor parents, which is a huge part of the novel’s driving plot.
It is rare to find likable main characters in YA books these days, but author Jennifer E. Smith manages to make Peter and Emma relatable and likable in their own ways. Peter is a dorky, map-obsessed sweetheart with a calm understanding of Emma, and Emma herself is alluring in the way she sees herself as a black sheep yet keeps from the age-old trope of constant whining over her own problems. There are many instances where Emma realizes her own mistakes and admits wrongdoing, which is thoroughly refreshing. The dog they pick up on the way makes for a cute addition as well.
Altogether, this novel is a nice, feel-good read that I definitely recommend. It has minimal language, and very little sexual content (always a plus considering most YA books are drenched in it).