How to Live Without You

HarperCollins/Clarion. May 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358256229.
Gr 9 Up–Despite the Parent Trap-esque arrangement that sent Emmy to California with their Mom and kept Rose in Ohio with their Dad after the divorce (a.k.a. the “civil war”) six years ago, they are tight. Super tight. They talk every day, and Emmy religiously follows the set of “separation instructions” Rose created to protect her, chief among them “Never kiss a boy who can’t name his favorite book” and “Make lots of friends, but tell just one person your secrets.” When Rose disappears, no one seems overly concerned. No one, that is, except Emmy. Rose has never gone off the grid for more than a day or two—not the almost three months it’s been this time—and she’s never cut off communication with Emmy. Ever. Until now. Emmy, now 17, decides that if she can just inhabit the space Rose left, she’ll be able to discover where she went. Yet Emmy’s homecoming and reconnection with their childhood friend Levi quickly brings a torrent of troubling questions instead of answers and the image of the sister she thought she knew slowly unravels. As Emmy follows the clues to her sister’s whereabouts, she dives deep into the mysteries and realities of mental health, depression, first love, and identity.
VERDICT Comprising equal parts mystery and tender coming-of-age story, this work adeptly pulls readers into Emmy’s journey as she considers the many facets of growing up and knowing the ones you love.

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