Right Where You Left Me

256p. S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481486996.
Gr 9 Up—Where other people flee the death and destruction of a natural disaster, Charlotte's dad packs his bags to head toward the epicenter of the crisis. Her father is a journalist who covers the world's worst catastrophes. He is also the glue that holds their small family together. Whenever he leaves for an assignment, the distance between Charlotte and her stoic Russian mother becomes an uncrossable chasm. During these absences, the teen depends on her friendships to help distract and comfort her. When Charlotte's father disappears while covering an earthquake in Ukraine, Charlotte and her mother are forced to break down their emotional walls in order to cope with the possibility of losing the person they both love. Devlin writes a compelling story filled with complex characters. Russian folklore is sprinkled throughout, adding another layer of depth to an already engrossing story. The highly descriptive passages and adept use of imagery will leave readers feeling as though they are walking the colorful San Francisco streets and tasting the delicious Russian pastries cooked in Charlotte's mother's bakery. While the ending is a little too neatly pulled together, this is a well written novel overall that older teens are sure to enjoy. Mentions of sex, underage drinking, and marijuana use make this more appropriate for mature readers.
VERDICT Purchase this great coming-of-age story where Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn, or Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach are popular.

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