Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Books I've Loved: You'd Be Home Now


I have loved all Kathleen Glasgow's previous books, so I didn't hesitate in picking this one up at my favourite bookstore.

The book opens with a car crash involving Emory, her brother Joey and two of their friends.  Neither Emory or Joey are driving, but that doesn't stop both of them feeling guilt when one of the other passengers in the car is killed.

Four months later, Emory is still recovering from her injuries and Joey is coming home from rehab. Their parents lay down strict rules for Joey, demanding he follow the straight and narrow if he is going to continue to live under their roof.  Unfortunately they are too busy with their jobs to support him or even enforce the rules much.

They leave this to Emory.

Having always been the good kid, the stable one, the high-achiever, Emmy reluctantly steps into this role.  But Emmy has her own life, albeit a secret one.  Since before the accident she has been hooking up with the school baseball star, her next door neighbour, Gage.  Gage makes her feel good because Gage is the only one who really sees her.  Unfortunately, Gage wants to keep whatever is between them a secret.

As she struggles to balance all the demands on her life and her time, Emmy starts to wonder if she really is the person everyone seems to think she is.  Or if she even wants to be that person.  When things begin to spiral out of control and the different threads of her life start to tangle, Emmy has to become herself for the very first time.

This was an interesting book about drug addiction in that it's told entirely from Emmy's perspective.  This isn't the first book I've read that takes that path, but this viscerally evokes the damage addiction can have on families.  Joey's problems are so all-encompassing, take up so much of her parents' attention, there is little left for Emmy.  

Emmy and Joey's relationship is quite beautiful, even when things become strained and difficult between them.  The love they have for one another is something you don't often see in YA books where siblings tend to torment each other in increasingly cruel ways.  Perhaps this is because their parents' relationship seems totally dysfunctional.

This is a story about drug addiction from the perspective of a wealthy family that can afford to pay for specialised treatment and rehab, so is a very different experience to that people from less privileged backgrounds might go through.  But even so, it's not a pleasant journey or one I would wish on any of my own kids.

Highly recommend this one for all the feels.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a breathtaking story about a town, its tragedies, and the quiet beauty of everyday life.

For all of Emory's life she's been told who she is. In town she's the rich one--the great-great-granddaughter of the mill's founder. At school she's hot Maddie Ward's younger sister. And at home, she's the good one, her stoner older brother Joey's babysitter. Everything was turned on its head, though, when she and Joey were in the car accident that killed Candy MontClaire. The car accident that revealed just how bad Joey's drug habit was.

Four months later, Emmy's junior year is starting, Joey is home from rehab, and the entire town of Mill Haven is still reeling from the accident. Everyone's telling Emmy who she is, but so much has changed, how can she be the same person? Or was she ever that person at all?

Mill Haven wants everyone to live one story, but Emmy's beginning to see that people are more than they appear. Her brother, who might not be cured, the popular guy who lives next door, and most of all, many ghostie addicts who haunt the edges of the town. People spend so much time telling her who she is--it might be time to decide for herself.

Inspired by the American classic Our Town, You'd Be Home Now is Kathleen Glasgow's glorious modern story of a town and the secret lives people live there. And the story of a girl, figuring out life in all its pain and beauty and struggle and joy.